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Stanford signs new five-year contract to manage SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

One of 17 national laboratories supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, SLAC is also marking its 60th anniversary this year.

Stanford has secured a five-year contract with the Department of Energy to continue managing and operating the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The contract runs from Oct. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2027.

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory sits on more than 400 acres of Stanford land, just west of the main campus. (Image credit: Olivier Bonin/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

“I am thrilled that Stanford will continue its long-standing partnership with the Department of Energy,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “This is a testament to our shared commitment to deep scientific inquiry and cutting-edge innovation. Discoveries made at SLAC advance our understanding of nature’s most fundamental processes and also have real impact in our world. I’m excited to see the advances made through this collaboration in the years ahead.”

SLAC is one of 17 federally funded laboratories addressing the most critical scientific challenges of our time, from understanding and mitigating the impacts of climate change to discovering the origins of the universe. Stephen Streiffer, Stanford’s vice president for SLAC, said that Stanford’s stewardship of SLAC is essential to supporting DOE’s mission and benefits the entire global research ecosystem.

“This new contract is a recognition of the great partnership that the lab, the university, and the DOE have, and reflects the value that we bring to discovery science,” said Streiffer. “The laboratory is increasingly growing its programs in numerous areas and benefits tremendously from close connections with Stanford, with wonderful new opportunities coming into view, for instance, with the new Stanford Doerr School for Sustainability.”

Investing in science

The 17 national laboratories were born out of the U.S. Government’s vast investment in scientific research during World War II and have since served as the nation’s leading institutions for scientific innovation. SLAC was founded in 1962 and is operated by Stanford under the auspices of the DOE Office of Science. SLAC and Stanford partner closely through joint institutes, centers, and collaborations focused on cosmology and astrophysics, materials and energy science, catalysis, bioscience, and ultrafast science.

SLAC sits on more than 400 acres of Stanford land just west of the main campus. It houses the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, which generate bright X-rays to probe batteries, biological samples, and even ancient texts.

Scientists use SLAC facilities to explore the universe at the smallest and largest scales, from searching for materials that will fuel the development of new technologies to building the world’s largest digital camera to survey the night sky as part of the Rubin Observatory.

Over its 60 years, SLAC has been the scene of major scientific discoveries and researchers have won four Nobel Prizes for work done at the lab. SLAC Director Chi-Chang Kao said that the lab’s success is a reflection of its lasting relationship with Stanford and the DOE.

“The strong partnership and ongoing collaboration between SLAC, Stanford, and the DOE are foundational to this updated contract, helping us advance the lab mission effectively and impactfully,” Kao said.