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Ames Laboratory receives its highest ratings two years in a row

Contacts:                                                                 For Release: December 21, 2018
Adam Schwartz, Laboratory Director, 515-294-2770
Alissa Brammer, Director of Communications, 515-294-1048 

Ames, IA – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released Ames Laboratory’s Performance Evaluation Report Card for FY 2018, and the results show the Laboratory continues to exceed expectations in a majority of the key performance areas measured.

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, 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.

“Scientists and staff have unified their efforts on the Ames Laboratory’s mission as a world-class materials science research institution, and that sense of purpose is evident in our sustained high marks from the DOE,” said Ames Laboratory Director Adam Schwartz. “The thoughtful attention we have paid to effective program management and strategic planning is reflected in this performance evaluation.”

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, metamaterials, materials theory, and the science of interfaces. 

The report described the Laboratory’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) staff as being among the leading experts in the area of rare-earth elements, and noted “significant scientific achievements in FY18.” The report also referred to CMI as, “a leader in the community and sought out for their input/engagement from industry and the federal government.”

In the science and technology program management area, the report noted significant new funding awards this year, including an Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC), an Early Career Award, and a project in the upcycling of polymers, “demonstrating improvements in Ames’s implementation of strategic planning.”

In its analysis of facilities and infrastructure management, one performance area where Ames Laboratory again received an A- grade, DOE’s report noted that the laboratory had done an “outstanding job” in renovating and retrofitting almost 6,000 square feet of existing laboratory space.

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 “exceptional continued leadership support and engagement in the implementation of an effective worker health and safety plan.” In the environment, safety and health category, the report noted the Laboratory’s two safety performance awards from the National Safety Council. 

The two areas that received a B+ were business systems and security and emergency management. Under these areas, the report praised the Laboratory’s third Bronze level award for the DOE’s GreenBuy Award for excellence in Sustainable Acquisition, and noted the completion of a new emergency management policy and program.

“Iowa State University is proud to partner with the Department of Energy and Ames Laboratory to address America’s energy needs,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert. “The results in our 2018 report card reflect the outstanding efforts of our scientists and administrative staff, as well as the leadership of Director Schwartz and his team.”

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