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DOE Releases Laboratory Plan

August 30, 1996

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through its Laboratory Operations Board has begun a comprehensive review of the Department's research and development activities. The first phase of the activity has resulted in a report with descriptive material about DOE's activities.

The Strategic Laboratory Missions Plan - Phase I, a two-volume report, provides information on the department's missions and describes how the missions are carried out through its laboratories, academic partners, and industry.

Strategic Laboratory Missions Plan - Phase 1

Volume I: an overview of how DOE uses its laboratories, plus mission profiles for each laboratory.

Volume II: an outline of the department's R&D programs by more than 166 budget functions.

Phase Two of the plan will consist of a series of reviews of the DOE national laboratories. The reviews will assess how DOE research and development is conducted, the roles of its laboratories, and ways in which administrative costs can be reduced. DOE's initial focus will be on how program managers allocate R&D among DOE labs, universities, and industry. This assessment, to be conducted by DOE and its Laboratory Operations Board, is scheduled to be completed by November 1, 1996.

During 1997, DOE will review its seven mission-specific laboratories to determine if they are candidates for privatization, alternative contracting mechanisms, or closure. DOE is already making some movement on this front by agreeing to privatize its principal oil research lab in Oklahoma.

DOE and the Laboratory and Operations Board will then look at the role of the multiprogram laboratories and their institutional and strategic plans. Finally, the external members of the Laboratory Operations Board will review and document the mechanisms used by DOE for evaluating the scientific and technical merit of the work performed at the laboratories.

Copies of the report are available from the DOE Office of Public Affairs at 202/ 586-5575. The first volume is available on DOE's homepage at http://www.doe.gov under the "What's New?" section.