2016 Fed IT Profile: UChicago Argonne

Federal IT Top 100 Rank: No. 7

$2.09 billion

Federal IT executive: Peter Littlewood, president of the UChicago Argonne LLC, and director of the Argonne National Laboratory

A serendipitous discovery by researchers at the Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory underscores how a breed of organizations that concentrate on meeting the needs of government can also have a big impact on industry.

Managed and operated by UChicago Argonne LLC, the laboratory strives to integrate world-class science, engineering and user facilities to deliver innovative technologies and uncover new knowledge that addresses the scientific and societal needs of the nation. Honors earned by researchers at the lab, located outside of Chicago, include three Nobel prizes.

Researchers from the lab and the University of Akron found that a particular form of carbon coating — not necessarily designed for wind turbine use — could prolong the life of turbine components, greatly reducing the cost of wind power and making it a more attractive energy source.

UChicago Argonne brings together the expertise of the University of Chicago, the sole member of the LLC, with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. It research pursuits also have been aided by unique affiliations with world-renowned institutions like the nearby Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Marine Biological Laboratory. UChicago generated about $2.08 billion from its government IT business in fiscal 2015.

In addition to alternative energy, other important areas of research at Argonne include x-ray sciences, supercomputing, electrical energy storage, nuclear energy, biological and environmental systems, and national security. That translated into a $2.09 billion in revenue from the sale of IT services to the federal government during the government’s fiscal year 2015, according to IDC Government Insights estimates, landing UChicago in No. 7 position in the 2016 Federal IT Top 100 rankings. (Read the full story here.)

UChicago Argonne manages the laboratory through its board of governors, which comprises two dozen academic and industry leaders. Its Science Policy Council, headed by UChicago Argonne president and laboratory director Peter Littlewood, is responsible for guiding the interactions and scientific directions of Argonne and its academic partners and for addressing such issues as joint appointments, student and faculty access, and the development of new scientific directions for Argonne.

The University of Chicago has served as prime contractor of Argonne since the lab’s founding in 1946 as an outgrowth of the Manhattan Project and the university's Metallurgical Laboratory.

— Richard W. Walker

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