Ames Laboratory receives its highest ratings in FY2019

Current COVID-19 Community Level: MEDIUM (Updated Aug. 11) CDC COVID-19 County Check

Ames, IA – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released Ames Laboratory’s Performance Evaluation Report Card for FY 2019, and the Laboratory received its highest ratings ever, and continues for the third year in a row to exceed expectations in a majority of the key performance areas measured.

The laboratory received an A- grade in six out of seven categories. The DOE Office of Science annually measures its 10 national laboratories against eight standard performance goals. Those goals include mission accomplishment; S&T program management; leadership and stewardship; environment, safety and health, and environmental management; business systems; infrastructure; and security and emergency management. Because Ames Laboratory does not operate a national scientific user facility, no grade is given in that category.

Ames Laboratory continued to maintain an A- in the key category of mission accomplishment, as well as in four important performance areas – science and technology program management; leadership and stewardship of the laboratory; environment, safety and health; and management of facilities and infrastructure.

“The sense of purpose that Ames Laboratory scientists and staff bring to their work each day is evident in the high marks earned from DOE in this performance evaluation,” said Ames Laboratory Director Adam Schwartz. “The fact that we have maintained these marks for the third year in a row is a testament to their unwavering commitment to the Laboratory’s mission.”

Under mission accomplishment, Ames Laboratory again received an overall grade of A- and the report praised it as “productive and world-leading” in its areas of strength, including complex materials discovery, quasicrystals, metamaterials, materials theory, and the science of interfaces.

The report noted the Laboratory’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) science and technology program is regarded as “high-quality and important,” and that Ames leadership and staff at CMI are “among the leading experts in the area of rare-earth elements.”

In the science and technology program management area, the report noted the hiring of a new Chief Research Officer, who has been proactive in establishing leadership for the program. 

In its analysis of facilities and infrastructure management, one performance area where Ames Laboratory again received an A- grade, DOE’s report commended the laboratory for “significant progress” in renovating and retrofitting approximately 9,200 square feet of existing laboratory space. The improvements include consolidating the Laboratory’s Dynamic Nuclear Polarization and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance capabilities into a centralized location.

Ames Laboratory’s grades in safeguards and security improved this year, to an A-. The report noted that “It is apparent that Ames Laboratory continues to demonstrate increased attention and rigor to their Emergency Management Core Program.”

Other areas in which Ames Laboratory received A- grades were contractor leadership/stewardship, and environment, safety and health. The report praised Ames Laboratory for “continuing to demonstrate a strong culture of accountability and responsibility throughout the organization.”

Business systems received a B+. The report praised major updates and additional training to the Laboratory’s Procurement and Purchasing practices, and the continued strong relationship between the Laboratory’s HR Division and Iowa State University Human Resources, including the implementation of an Improved Services Delivery model and Workday.

“Iowa State University is proud to partner with the Department of Energy and Ames Laboratory,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert. “The 2019 report card reflects the exceptional abilities of our scientists, as evidenced by the high quality and impact of their discoveries, as well as the leadership of Director Schwartz and the Lab’s administrative staff.”

For meeting the DOE’s goals in scientific and technical performance and management and operations, and for demonstrating strong Laboratory management and contractor leadership and stewardship, ISU will receive a 12-month extension of its contract to operate Ames Laboratory and a performance fee.

A full list of Ames Laboratory’s grades in all eight standard performance goals can be found at:

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.  For more information, please visit

Adam Schwartz, Laboratory Director, 515-294-2770
Alissa Brammer, Communications Manager, 515-294-1048