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Competition Open for Fermilab Operations Contract

JAN 08, 2024
The Department of Energy is now accepting proposals for the contract to manage and operate Fermilab.
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Science Policy Reporter, FYI American Institute of Physics
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Welcome sign at Fermilab

(Michael Kappel, CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED)

The Department of Energy is now accepting proposals for the contract to manage and operate the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory — the foremost U.S. laboratory for high-energy particle physics research.

Fermilab is funded almost entirely by the DOE Office of Science and has a 6,800-acre site in the suburbs of Chicago with about 2,100 employees. The lab has been managed since 1967 by the Universities Research Association, a consortium of research universities, and in 2007, the last time the contract was put up for competition, URA partnered with the University of Chicago to form the lab’s current contracting entity, Fermi Research Alliance LLC.

Parties interested in taking over the lab will have until March 4 to submit their proposals. URA and the University of Chicago have expressed interest in bidding to continue operating the lab. Among the other prospective bidders is Associated Universities, Inc., which operates astronomical observatories on behalf of the National Science Foundation. A pre-proposal conference will take place on Thursday.

In recent years, Fermilab management has come under scrutiny in part due to large cost increases on its flagship neutrino project and a serious worker injury that delayed work on a major accelerator upgrade.

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