You are here

Ames Laboratory demonstrates strong performance in mission accomplishment in annual report card

Contacts:                                                                                         For Release:  Dec. 14, 2016
Adam Schwartz, Director, 515-294-2770
Steve Karsjen, Public Affairs, 515-294-5643  

Ames, IA – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released Ames Laboratory’s Performance Evaluation Report Card for FY 2016 today, and the results show strong performance in mission accomplishment and many other key performance areas.

The DOE Office of Science annually measures its 10 national laboratories against eight standard performance goals.  Those goals include mission accomplishment; program management; leadership and stewardship; environment, safety and health; business systems; facilities and infrastructure; and security and emergency management.  Because Ames Laboratory does not operate a national scientific user facility, there was no grade given in this category. 

Under mission accomplishment, Ames Laboratory received an overall grade of A- and was recognized for producing “impactful world-leading research in specific areas, including catalysis, rare-earth materials, metamaterials, and neutron scattering, enabled by close connections Iowa State University (ISU), the Laboratory’s contractor, and DOE user facilities.”   The report called Ames Laboratory’s research environment “strongly collaborative and synergistic.”

The report credited the Laboratory’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) leadership and staff with being among the “leading experts in the area of rare-earth elements.”  The report also praised the Laboratory for building efforts in bioimaging technology and developing advanced turbines and turbine-based systems for electric power generation. 

The Laboratory was credited for the way in which it “soundly executes” its student training programs.   

The grade of A- in mission accomplishment represents an improvement over the B+ grade the Laboratory received in this performance area for 2015.  In the DOE grading system, a B+ means the Laboratory’s overall performance meets expectations.

“Mission accomplishment goes to the heart of any DOE national laboratory so our A-  in this area is the strongest testament to the emphasis and commitment our team of scientists and staff have placed on mission accomplishment over the past year,” said Ames Laboratory Director Adam Schwartz.  “Our commitment to excellence remains strong, and we look forward to new opportunities for growth in 2017.”

Other areas in which Ames Laboratory received A- grades were contractor leadership and stewardship and environment, safety and health.  The report praised Ames Laboratory for “meeting expectations” in responsiveness to direction from the DOE Office of Science, and “exceeding expectations” in management and operation, demonstrated by a “strong culture of accountability and responsibility.”

In the environment, safety and health category, the report praised the Laboratory for its “Perfect Record Award” for zero lost work days in 2015 and its “Million Hours Work Certificate” for completion of over one million consecutive work hours without an occupational injury or illness resulting in days away from work. 

“We have been working very hard to improve the safety culture at Ames Laboratory, and our efforts are beginning to pay off,” said Schwartz.  “We are proud of our accomplishments in this area.”

Ames Laboratory received a B+ grade in the report card in science and technology program management.  In this area, the Laboratory was credited with advancing a “broad science strategy” that builds on its traditional strengths and new research activities.  The report also said the Laboratory is “successfully operating” its Sensitive Instrument Facility, which was dedicated in 2016, and is providing “excellent program vision and leadership” through the CMI in advanced manufacturing.   

Other areas that received a B+ were business systems, facilities and infrastructure and security and emergency management.

Under these areas, Ames Laboratory was praised for demonstrating “effective transfer of technology and commercialization of intellectual property,” for continuing to maintain and optimize utilization of its research space to allow for growth, and for efficiently operating its cyber security program.

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 its performance fee.   

ISU President Steven Leath praised the report card summary, saying, “The 2016 results reflect the exceptional dedication of the Ames Laboratory’s scientists and staff, and position the Laboratory to continue its mission to address society’s most pressing science and energy challenges.” 

A full review 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