Joint Task Force Initiative
The Joint Task Force Initiative is a signature University of Chicago program dedicated to helping Argonne and Fermilab achieve mission success. It has led to the creation of several joint task forces that provide critical support for the national laboratories. Since the initiative launched in 2018, the University has committed $3.5 million in support of lab programs and mission support functions.
- Pursuing common science, engineering and technology development in high-impact mission areas
- Targeting common mission support challenges and strategic risks, and finding ways to mitigate them
- Determining and optimizing the sharing of human resources across institutions
- Identifying areas of need and leveraging UChicago’s support network to help secure the necessary resources
- Using the task force structure in an ongoing way to drive continuous improvement
Joint Task Forces and Strategic Initiatives
UChicago committed $525,000 for 2019-2020 to create an Artificial Intelligence for Science Exchange, optimize research collaboration and joint appointments between the national labs and UChicago, and provide seed funding for joint research projects.
The Business Services Task Force is exploring areas of possible insourcing and outsourcing. It’s also exploring ways to leverage scale in health care and retirement options, and achieve process improvements in accounts payable and other business services areas.
The Computing Task Force plans to create a joint seminar series focusing on computing and science, develop a formal cyber-security threat sharing model, and identify areas of purchasing opportunity, including volume purchasing.
The Export Control Task Force has improved common administrative processes, identified external counsel to serve the national labs and UChicago on export control issues, and completed the first phase of a project to identify sensitive fundamental research.
Fermilab Performance Transformation Project
UChicago is providing $260,000 to Fermilab in 2019 to hire a consulting firm that will assist the lab in identifying and addressing challenges in the mission-critical support areas of procurement, facilities, finance and human resources.
Graduate Research Cooperative
UChicago will invest $1 million between 2019 and 2022 to launch a Graduate Research Cooperative that will foster and coordinate joint graduate student research between UChicago and Argonne (starting in fall 2019) and UChicago and Fermilab (starting in 2020).
The Procurement Task Force has focused on hiring and professional development and embedding procurement professionals earlier in the procurement life cycle. It also partnered with the national laboratories and the University of Chicago Medicine to pursue strategic sourcing, leading to $100,000 in cost savings at Argonne.
UChicago committed $1.2 million for 2019 and 2020 to build support infrastructure, invest in tool package procurement for the Argonne Clean Room, and provide seed funding for joint research projects.
The Safety Task Force is developing on-boarding programs focused on faculty/scientist mentors. It has invested $260,000 in the expansion of a Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program, and committed $45,000 over three years for a new safety and security mobile device application modeled on UChicagoSafe.
The UChicago-Argonne Synthetic Biology Task Force, founded in 2019, will develop new programs to build novel strengths in Argonne’s biology program.
The Tech Transfer Task Force has explored operational synergies through joint group meetings. It’s also planning a technology transfer summit with invited national labs and their university contractors, and pursuing fundraising through UChicago for a new technology maturation fund.
Women in Science and Engineering
The Leadership Academy for Women in Science and Engineering, a task force established in 2019, will explore new programs that provide training to, and increase the numbers of, women scientist and engineer leaders at the national laboratories and UChicago.