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ORAU Partnership

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

ORAU was founded in 1946 as the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies following the completion of the Manhattan Project. The original consortium was composed of only 14 universities from the southeastern United States*. The name was changed to Oak Ridge Associated Universities in 1966 to reflect the growing role that universities played in the organization. It has since grown to over 100 member institutions.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions for the Department of Energy and other federal agencies to advance national priorities in science, health, education and national security. We do this by integrating unique laboratory capabilities, specialized teams of experts and a consortium of more than 100 universities. ORAU also manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, which supports government agencies who value an integrated solution incorporating state of the art science and technology in an era of consolidated government contracts requiring research informed delivery of critical services.

In addition to support for government agencies, ORAU provides many opportunities for teachers and students through a variety of fellowships, grants, scholarships, workshops, and joint-faculty appointments.  Many of these programs are especially designed for underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science and engineering fields.  Participation and financial support for science education programs now exceeds 8,900 participants and $212 million.  The ORAU University Partnerships Office supports new faculty just beginning their careers through the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, individual faculty collaboration with other scientists at member universities and ORNL, and member schools with larger collaborative efforts.

For information about ORAU and its programs, visit http://www.orau.org, or call the university partnerships office at 865.576.1898.

Below is a list of ORAU programs which for the 2015 Fiscal year, October 1, 2014 to September 3, 2015, depending upon availability of funds. ORAU has updated the available grant programs. Please note changes below and on the web site. 

ORAU/ORNL High Performance Computing Grant Program.  A Call for Proposals was announced on August 18.  This competitive grant program provides faculty-student teams with a monetary award and valuable access to the lab’s leadership class computing resources. The deadline for proposals is noon EDT on Friday, October 3, 2014.

Ralph Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards.  The Powe awards provide seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions. These awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.  The deadline for the 2015-2016 program is noon on Monday, January 12, 2015.

Events Sponsorship Program.  This program provides up to $4,000 to support events that involve participants from more than one ORAU institution. Two calls for proposals will be issued each year. Typical events might include visits to an ORAU institution by a renowned speaker, conferences or workshops with a focused theme, or a technology transfer/business plan competition. If the event will take place between Oct. 1 and May 31 of the following year, applications are due by Sept. 1. If the event will take place between April 1 and Sept. 30, applications are due by March 1.  

Heidelberg Laureate Forum. The National Science Foundation (NSF*) and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) are pleased to announce that they will sponsor a maximum of 20 young researchers to attend the 3rd annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Heidelberg, Germany, from August 23 through 28, 2015. NSF* and ORAU invite Duke to nominate computer science and mathematics graduate students and postdocs to be members of the U.S. Delegation to this prestigious meeting. The HLF offers accepted young researchers the great opportunity to personally meet the winners of the most prestigious prizes in their fields. For one week, the recipients of the Abel Prize, the ACM A.M. Turing Award, the Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize engage in a cross-generational scientific dialogue with young researchers in Heidelberg, Germany. See http://www.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/ for more information.

Other Announcements.

In addition to the traditional awards funded by ORAU that are described above, we are pleased to provide an update on external funding opportunities through ORAU and the process for participating in that program.

Comprehensive Engagement Strategy.  The first successful partnership through ORAU’s Comprehensive Engagement Strategy (CES) has recently been achieved, resulting in a significant research award to an ORAU member university.  This accomplishment was through the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC) contract that was discussed during the CES Workshop held on March 4, 2014 as part of the 2014 Annual Meeting.  The workshop presentations are available on the Members Only home page under the heading:  69th Annual Meeting of the ORAU Council of Sponsoring Institutions.  As described in the presentations, these opportunities are available to institutions who have signed Memoranda of Understanding with ORAU.              

Memorandum of Understanding. ORAU has developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate rapid collaboration on potential future proposals or projects.  The MOU allows a pre-negotiation of standard terms for a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and Teaming Agreement (TA) before they are required.  Templates for the MOU, NDA, and TA are available for download on the Members Only site.  Many of our members (95) have already signed a MOU with ORAU.  We are encouraging all members to do so.

These codes may be shared on a limited basis within your university to facilitate access by your staff, Research Deans at the Colleges, or others who monitor opportunities for your faculty.  Please do not distribute this to all faculty.

Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions about the Members Only website or any of the information it provides.  Our goal is to provide clear and concise information on the varied opportunities that we offer to our university consortium members.

2015 Annual Meeting.  The 70th Annual Meeting of the ORAU Council of Sponsoring Institutions will be held on March 4-5, 2015 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  The theme of the meeting is Big Data/Data Analytics:  Challenges and Opportunities.  Further details on the agenda and registration will be announced in early October.

To see a list of all current ORAU opportunities, click here.

To see the latest issue of ORAU Connections, click here.


We are delighted to share with you a series of short videos featuring Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists and engineers explaining their work offers a glimpse inside the world of “Big Science” for students, educators and anyone interested in the process of discovery.

From fusion energy to advanced manufacturing and climate modeling, some of ORNL’s premier researchers explain what they do and why it matters. The fast-paced three-minute clips provide a peek at what it’s like to have a career where making the world better is the goal.

The videos feature 32 scientists, engineers and operations staff who contribute to ORNL’s mission of addressing many of the most pressing scientific challenges of our time.

Recurring themes include energy efficiency, the development of better materials and tackling of grand scientific challenges. Anyone can access the videos at http://www.ornl.gov/ornl/news/videos/what-were-working-on.

The videos offer a variety of teacher training and educational programs, and give students first-person accounts of career options in science and engineering.

ORAU Member Councilor: Keith Hurka-Owen.


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