The University of Tennessee and Battelle, one of the world's largest

private independent research and development organizations, will announce

plans Wednesday to bid jointly for the Department of Energy contract to

manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The announcement is set for 10:30 a.m. at Technology 2020 on Commerce Park

Drive in Oak Ridge.

The UT-Battelle team will be supported by Oak Ridge Associated

Universities, a consortium of prominent research universities. ORAU's lead

academic institutions in the project are Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina

State and Virginia Tech. Additional lead institutions and subcontractors

may be announced in the near future.

Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist said the UT-Battelle initiative has his full

support. "I applaud this joint venture between UT and Batelle and am

excited about the prospects," Sundquist said. "The benefits to Tennessee

are enormous, and I will do whatever I can to ensure success."

"ORNL is one of the nation's foremost scientific research centers and a

great asset to this region," said UT President Joe Johnson. "The

combination of Battelle, one of the world's leading research and

development organizations, with the University of Tennessee and outstanding

academic partners will provide a very strong team to manage the

laboratory."

UT has made a priority of expanding collaborative research activities with

ORNL during the 1990s, Johnson said. In 1998, Gov. Sundquist recommended

and the Tennessee General Assembly appropriated $8 million to construct the

Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences, a project designed for UT and ORNL to

conduct research associated with the $1.3 billion Spallation Neutron Source

in Oak Ridge.