UNM part of team bidding to manage Sandia National Laboratories

June 1, 2016 - Excerpted from articles published in The Albuquerque Journal and the UNM Newsroom

Aerial view of Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories
(aerial view of part of complex)

A team comprised of The University of New Mexico, Battelle, The Boeing Company, the Texas A&M University System, and the University of Texas System has signed a formal agreement to bid jointly to manage Albuquerque-based Sandia National Laboratories. The announcement was made at a press conference on May 24.

For the first time since 1993, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has initiated a competition for the contract to manage and operate Sandia National Laboratories, which also has a laboratory in Livermore, California. Sandia is a federally-funded research and development center responsible for non-nuclear engineering development of all U.S. nuclear weapons and for systems integration of the nuclear weapons with their delivery vehicles.

A contract decision is anticipated by the end of this year.

Joseph L. Cecchi, dean of the UNM School of Engineering and associate provost for national laboratory relations, said that having UNM on the management team will strengthen and expand the research already taking place between the insitututions. “UNM, and especially the School of Engineering, will benefit greatly from increased opportunities for collaboration with the Labs,” Cecchi said. “Such a partnership could result in more research funding, more research projects, and enhanced teaching and learning for students in a variety of disciplines across the University.”


Image © Battelle

Industry partners

Battelle is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio and is the world’s largest independent nonprofit research and development organization. “We have exactly the right team to lead an already outstanding laboratory and take it to an even higher level of excellence,” said Jeffrey Wadsworth, Battelle president and CEO.

The Boeing Company is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems.

Education partners

The Texas A&M University System, which will lead the Texas Research and Education Partnership that includes the University of Texas System, is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies. " The team’s strength is in the sum of its parts," said John Sharp, chancellor for the Texas A&M University System. “This club has great individual stars in their respective fields, but we also know how to play well together,” Sharp said.

Both UNM and the Texas university systems hope winning the contract will lead to more collaborative research with Sandia, joint commercialization of new technology, and workforce development opportunities through internships and job opportunities for university graduates. "UNM already has about 400 interns at Sandia, and about 2,400 UNM graduates currently work at the lab," said UNM President Robert Frank. UNM and Sandia currently hold about 170 joint patents for new technologies developed in partnership by both institutions. UNM hopes to strengthen those combined efforts by reinforcing technology transfer at Sandia.

Lockheed Martin currently operates Sandia, which has a $2.9 billion annual budget and 10,500 employees. Lockheed also is expected to submit a bid.

Learn more at the team's website, TogetherSandia.comThe team has an office in Albuquerque at 4411 The 25 Way NE, Suite 350. Sandia employees and the community are invited to visit the office to learn more about the team.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is expected to announce a winner by year-end, paving the way for a new manager to take over by April 2017.


Competing bid: NMSU, NM Tech join Lockheed in bid to manage Sandia Labs, published in The Albuquerque Journal. Lockheed Martin currently manages Sandia. 

This article is excerpted from the related stories at:
The UNM Newsroom
The Albuquerque Journal