Student interns are introduced to Sandia National Laboratories’ superfuge by test operations engineer Orlando Abeyta during a tour. Several new agreements signed this year are expected to increase the numbers of students and faculty partnering with Sandia to support its growing national security workload. (Photo by Craig Fritz)

Ink flows to meet surging demand for national security research

October 12, 2022 8:00 am Published by

The nation’s largest national laboratory is embarking on a major expansion of its network of academic partners to meet the surging demand for national security science and engineering.

This year, Sandia National Laboratories inked memoranda of understanding with Texas A&M University; the University of California, Berkeley; North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at El Paso. It is finalizing agreements with Arizona State University and the University of Washington. When those are signed, Sandia will have formal ties with 27 universities, including 13 minority serving institutions.

Work at Sandia, which is performed almost entirely for federal agencies, has been rising steadily. From fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2021, the Labs’ budget increased more than 50%, from $2.9 billion to $4.5 billion. Over the same period, the Labs increased its workforce by more than 25%, from 11,700 to 15,000.

But Sandia won’t meet its obligations just by hiring staff.

“Partnering with universities keeps Sandia science at the state of the art and enables us to do more research for our national security mission than we can on our sites alone,” said Diane Peebles, Sandia’s senior manager of academic programs.

The partnerships take many forms. Research collaborations can range from nuclear science and nonproliferation to climate change, quantum computing, cybersecurity, pandemic resiliency and biodefense.

Read more in the complete news release.

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