The Role of the Argonne National Laboratory

Posted on January 3rd, 2011 by

About Argonne

The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne is the Midwest’s largest federally funded R&D center.   With more than 1,200 scientists and engineers in dozens of fields and a unique suite of leading-edge scientific user facilities, Argonne conducts basic and applied research focused on solving the nation’s challenges in sustainable energy, a clean environment, economic competiveness and national security.

Making a difference

At Argonne, everyday researchers are making scientific discoveries and technological innovations that improve the quality of life throughout the world.

Argonne’s path to achieving these goals cuts across traditional research boundaries between basic and applied science and engineering to create a fertile environment for bold and visionary efforts. Our research teams translate fundamental breakthroughs into the revolutionary discoveries and technological innovations required by the nation and the scientific community at large.

Fueling Innovation

Research at Argonne centers around three principal areas:


Energy Storage: Argonne develops transformational energy storage systems that enable and enhance electric-drive vehicles and a green-energy grid through electrical energy storage development, prototype and manufacturing process engineering, stationary storage and grid management, and electric transportation systems.

Alternative Energy and Efficiency: Argonne is developing the next generation of alternative energy sources to promote energy independence through improved chemical fuels, advanced biofuels, and solar energy systems, as well as through the optimization of fuel and engine dynamics.

Nuclear Energy: Argonne develops advanced reactor and fuel cycle systems – including fast reactor and fuel cycle technologies, advanced modeling and simulation methods, and innovative nuclear energy systems – to enable the safe and sustainable generation of nuclear energy.

Biological and Environmental Systems

Argonne produces integrated molecular-scale, hydrological, economic and social computational models to enable regionally focused ecological and climate assessments through metagenome analysis, protein discovery, regional climate prediction and integrated climate, energy and economic discovery.

National Security

Argonne provides critical security technologies that prevent and mitigate events with potential for mass disruption or destruction through the nonproliferation and forensics of weapons of mass destruction, decision sciences, new sensors and materials, and cyber security.

Scientific User Facilities

Argonne scientists and engineers also design, build and operate world-class national scientific user facilities that enable researchers to conduct experiments that cannot be performed anywhere else in the world.  Annually Argonne hosts more than 4,400 scientists and engineers from leading academic, industrial and government laboratories to carry out both fundamental and applied scientific projects. Our user facilities include:

Collaborating for Success

Because no single organization has the resources needed to solve our nation’s important scientific and technological challenges, Argonne actively seeks collaborations with industry, universities and other national laboratories.  Collaboration is a critical dimension of Argonne research because it creates synergies and efficiencies in developing new ideas and approaches that advance innovation and discovery.

A primary objective of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories is to promote the economic interests of the United States by facilitating development, transfer, and use of federally owned or originated technology to industry for public benefit and to leverage DOE resources through partnering with industry. These objectives are accomplished at DOE labs in several ways:

  • Cost-shared R&D with an industrial partner
  • Reimbursable R&D with industry sponsorship
  • Industry use of DOE lab research and user facilities
  • Assistance to companies with short-term technical problems in unique areas not served commercially
  • Licensing of laboratory patents, copyrights, and trademarks

Argonne National Laboratory applies a unique mix of world-class user facilities and leading scientific and engineering staff to develop innovative solutions to the grand challenges of our time: plentiful and safe energy, a healthy environment, economic competitiveness and a secure nation.

Written by Eleanor Taylor, Argonne National Laboratory

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