Oak Ridge National Laboratory appoints new director

Stephen Streiffer will be the next director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Oak Ridge National Lab Director Stephen Streiffer. (Image credit: Department of Energy / ORNL)

Stephen Streiffer, the current interim director at the Stanford University-based SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, will be the next director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Streiffer is scheduled to begin his new post in October, according to a press release published on Thursday.

Streiffer, who earned a PhD in materials science and engineering from Stanford, has an extensive experience overseeing laboratory research. During the pandemic, Streiffer co-directed the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory, which focused on various issues created by Covid-19, including testing and supply chain problems. He previously spent more than two decades at the Argonne National Laboratory, where he, among other responsibilities, served as deputy associate laboratory director for the Energy Sciences and Engineering Directorate.

“Stephen is a proven leader with diverse experience and a commitment to mission-driven research and development,” Lou Von Thaer, CEO of Battelle and chair of UT-Battelle, a nonprofit that runs the Oak Ridge national lab on behalf of the Department of Energy, said in a statement. “Throughout his career, Stephen has leveraged existing strengths to create new opportunities and partnerships that strengthen our nation’s ability to innovate and compete.”

Streiffer’s permanent appointment follows the retirement of Thomas Zacharia, who left in December after a 35-year career at the laboratory.


Oak Ridge is the country’s largest science and energy lab, which has nearly 6,000 people and a $2.5 billion research portfolio.

The lab has been at the forefront of the U.S. government’s race to expand its supercomputing capabilities and houses the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Cray EX Frontier, which according to the Department of Energy is the world’s first and fastest exascale computer.

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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