PNNL is partnering with major research universities in seven joint institutes to address critical scientific questions and complex technical problems in energy, environment, and national security. The joint institutes bring together complementary expertise and resources of the partner institutions to address significant scientific and engineering challenges facing our nation.
The institutes assemble a critical mass of scientists and faculty in relevant fields–including joint appointments, research staff, and students–to enable seamless collaborations across the partner organizations and facilities. In so doing, the institutes help educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers. Depending on the area of focus, a joint institute can also create and support an ecosystem for new technology, tools, and knowledge with PNNL, university, and industry stakeholders.
PNNL and Washington State University (WSU)
PNNL and WSU have a long history of collaboration that has yielded high-impact research, educational and mentorship opportunities, postdoctoral fellowships, and permanent employment opportunities. More than 800 WSU alumni work as PNNL interns, postdoctoral fellows, scientists, engineers, and other professionals.
In 2018, WSU and PNNL created three new joint institutes:
- The WSU-PNNL Nuclear Science Institute will help prevent the use of illicit nuclear materials, resolve issues in nuclear waste management, and advance the development of nuclear energy technologies.
- The WSU-PNNL Advanced Grid Institute will develop advanced controls and operations for complex power grids of the future.
- The WSU-PNNL Bioproducts Institute will research ways to transform engineered plants and industrial, agricultural, and municipal wastes into valuable materials and chemicals. It will also cultivate the next generation of bioproducts scientists.
PNNL and the University of Washington (UW)
In 2018, PNNL and UW launched the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry, and Technology—also known as NW Impact. The joint research endeavor will explore advancements in materials that transform energy, telecommunications, medicine, information technology, and other fields.
To help navigate the complexities of digital storage and “big data,” PNNL and UW created the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing in 2013. Research done in this facility on the UW campus in Seattle investigates methods for managing, interrogating, and finding practical applications for the enormous datasets flowing from scientific experiments, the electric power grid, and other sources.
The Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing’s goals include the following:
- designing a smart electric grid that can deliver energy reliably
- improving comprehension of disease origins and applying data to develop new therapies and cures
- explaining how climate change affects natural resources.
PNNL and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
PNNL and OHSU launched the Precision Medicine Innovation Co-Laboratory in February 2018. Harnessing PNNL’s advanced 'omics' tools to observe and measure cellular functions and OHSU’s biomedical research and clinical expertise, PMedIC will develop tailored therapies that take into account individual patients’ genetics, environments, and lifestyles.
PNNL and the University of Maryland (UMD)
The Joint Global Change Research Institute is a world leader in integrated assessment—a method of understanding complex linkages between human and natural systems—and creating simulation tools to assess the reciprocal effects of the environment and the economy. Joint Global Change Research Institute researchers play leading roles in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment and serve on state and federal government energy and environmental advisory panels.