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 by opening channels of frequent communication and collaboration across institutions. It has led to the creation of several joint task forces and joint strategic initiatives that provide critical support for the national laboratories.

Since the initiative launched in 2018, the University has committed $7.4 million in support of lab programs and mission support functions.

Our Goals


  • 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


Read updates on new investments, research progress, task forces, and leadership development in past JTFI newsletters.

Joint Task Forces and Strategic Initiatives


Argonne in the City

This task force is working to create a greater presence for Argonne National Laboratory in the City of Chicago by helping to identify office space for the lab on the UChicago campus.


Artificial Intelligence

Through the Artificial Intelligence Task Force, UChicago has invested more than $625,000 to organize strategic matchmaking workshops between AI and other fields, provide students with research and consulting experiences, and fund seed joint projects in strategic AI areas. Read more about funded projects.


Business Services

The Business Services Task Force is exploring areas of possible insourcing and outsourcing for administrative systems, new health/benefits opportunities, and new process improvements in business service areas.


CMB-S4 Planning

This strategic initiative supports a next-generation, ground-based cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiment. The initiative is working to build a dynamic intellectual community, provide bridge funding, and identify office space. UChicago has invested more than $1.3 million in this project.



The Computing Task Force is working to create IT Strategy Councils for administrative and research computing. It is also working to develop an Identity Management Architecture Group.  


Export Control

The Export Control Task Force has defined which research results and technology are subject to export control restrictions and required protections. It is also evaluating a combined license for visual compliance and developing a trainee program for export control compliance. UChicago has committed more than $100,000 in this effort.


Fermilab Performance Transformation Project

UChicago provided $260,000 to Fermilab in 2019 to hire a consulting firm that assisted the lab in identifying and addressing challenges in the mission-critical support areas of procurement, facilities, finance and human resources.


Graduate Research Cooperative

UChicago is in the process of investing more than $1 million in the Graduate Research Cooperative, which fosters and coordinates joint graduate student research between UChicago and Argonne, and UChicago and Fermilab. The task force is working to scale the program, develop a new website, and optimize processes for participation.


Polymer Upcycling/Hard X-Ray Sciences

UChicago has committed $600,000 in seed grants for research projects, which use techniques like machine learning and advanced imaging methods to create more sustainable materials and conduct basic science research. Read more about funded projects.



The Procurement Task Force has focused on enhanced hiring, development, and benchmarking efforts within procurement. It continues to embed procurement professionals earlier in the procurement life cycle and has partnered with the national laboratories to pursue strategic purchasing. The result has been $550,000 in combined annual savings.


Quantum Computing

UChicago has committed $1.2 million to build support infrastructure, invest in tool package procurement, and provide seed funding for joint research projects. Read more about funded projects.



The Safety Task Force is working to share best practices by developing networking and professional development workshops and events. It is also working with the procurement task force to identify savings in safety-related bulk product contracts. UChicago has invested $40,000 in Argonne’s adaption of the UChicagoSafe application.


Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program

This strategic initiative has reestablished this program and is providing funding to graduating cohorts to help ensure ideas are further developed. Its goal is to make the program the national standard for lab leadership development programs. UChicago has invested $575,000 in this initiative.


Tech Transfer

The Tech Transfer Task Force is exploring operational synergies through cross-posting intellectual property available for licensing. It is also working to develop a new deep tech prize and is encouraging participation across the university and national labs. It is also working to establish a one-day internal educational workshop highlighting available mechanisms for quantum industry partnerships. UChicago has committed $85,000 to these efforts.


Women in Science and Engineering

This task force, established in 2019, is exploring new programs that provide training to, and increase the numbers of, female science and engineering leaders at the national laboratories and UChicago. It is working to build a network of support for early-career women in STEM and to honor outstanding female STEM leaders. UChicago has invested $40,000 in these efforts. Learn more.

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