January 31, 2004
Chris Harrington (202) 974-6314/ cell (202) 997-3150


The University of California today (Jan. 30) signed a one-year contract extension, through Jan. 31, 2005, to continue managing the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Since October 2002, UC has managed the laboratory under a series of contract extensions, the most recent of which was set to expire on Jan. 31, 2004. Recent Congressional action mandated that the Department of Energy conduct a competition for five national laboratory contracts, including the one for Berkeley Lab.

The Department of Energy has not yet announced detailed plans for the Berkeley Lab competition. Action regarding whether UC will enter into the competition for the Berkeley Lab is expected to be made by the UC Board of Regents after the Department of Energy releases its request for proposals.

"This contract extension allows the University of California to continue its strong partnership with the Department of Energy in managing the Berkeley Lab on behalf of the federal government," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "We have a long tradition of scientific and engineering excellence at Berkeley Lab, and we are tremendously proud of the laboratory's ground-breaking achievements in so many fields of inquiry. Under this contract extension, we will continue our commitment to scientific excellence, effective management, and public accountability."

Earlier this month, UC regents gave Dynes the authority, with the concurrence of the chairman of the board and the chairman of the regents' Committee on Oversight of Department of Energy Laboratories, to extend operating contracts for the three national laboratories UC manages for the Department of Energy should the department so request.

"The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory continues to make extremely valuable contributions to our nation across a wide range of scientific fields," said John J. Moores, regents' chairman. "This laboratory clearly is one of our nation's leading centers of ground-breaking science. We look forward to continuing our responsibilities to the nation in preserving excellence in both science and management at the laboratory as a result of this contract extension."

"By extending the contract, the excellent work at the laboratory will continue without interruption and the employees can remain focused on their mission," said UC Vice President for Laboratory Management S. Robert Foley. "The scientific and technological work at Berkeley Lab is tremendously valuable to California and our nation."

The University of California has managed Berkeley Lab since its inception in 1931, when it was one of the first laboratories of its kind showing the extraordinary value of multidisciplinary research, which ultimately led to the creation of the national laboratory system.

Founded by Ernest O. Lawrence, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron, Berkeley Lab has evolved into a multidisciplinary research facility advancing the forefront of scientific knowledge and addressing problems of national and global concern.

Today, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory performs research in nanoscience and advanced materials, the life sciences, computing, energy and earth sciences, physics and cosmology. It also operates a homeland security office dedicated to leveraging fundamental scientific research to develop methods for ensuring the safety of our country. Researchers at Berkeley Lab have have won nine Nobel prizes and 12 National Medal of Science awards. More than 250 Berkeley Lab faculty and scientists hold joint appointments with UC Berkeley and other UC campuses.

The University of California manages three national laboratories on behalf of the Department of Energy. They are the Berkeley Lab, operated for the DOE Office of Science, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, operated for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In pursuing their missions, the three laboratories are major sources of scientific and technical strength for the nation in fields ranging from national and homeland security to basic physics, biotechnology, climate studies, supercomputational capability, materials science, energy, and the environment. As a consequence of their work, the laboratories occasionally enter into research partnerships with industry and thus further contribute to our country's economic well-being. The laboratories also are called on to use some of their personnel and expertise to engage in mathematics and science education for students and teachers, primarily in their communities.

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