UT teams up with Y-12 to form new partnership

6:31 PM, Apr 8, 2011   |    comments
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A new partnership is underway between two major East Tennessee institutions.

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Y-12 National Security Complex have worked together in several ways for years, but the two institutions recently made their partnership official.

"It's going to make our university stronger, and, in turn, it will make our community stronger," said Wes Hines, UT's interim vice chancellor for research and engagement. "On the same front, it's going to make Y-12 stronger and the whole Oak Ridge-Knoxville community stronger."

UT and Y-12 plan to share resources, people and funds.

But the focus won't simply be on weapons and security.

"You would originally think nuclear energy and nuclear weapons and nuclear engineering, but we're also teaming with them in the business school with our MBA program, in psychology, we're looking forward to teaming with them in law," Hines said.

Meanwhile, Y-12 leaders are looking forward to using the researchers and students from UT at their facilities. Plus, they say they have a unique environment in which to offers students a new place to learn.

"We have about 8,000 people or more who come to work here every day, and we need to attract the best and brightest talent, and we think UT and the state can really benefit from our expertise in specialized manufacturing and global security, we're internationally unique," said David Keim, public affairs director for B&W Y-12. "There's great benefit on both sides 'cause we benefit from their expertise and they benefit from access to our equipment, access to our experience and access to our professionals."

Hines said, with dwindling resources, partnerships such as this one can help to grow the university, moving it toward its goal of becoming a top 25 institution.

Meanwhile, Y-12 leaders say they can now use the UT student population as a pool of potential future employees.

"They don't have to go out west or New York City or Washington, D.C., to do this work on national security, they can do it right here in East Tennessee," Keim said.

Hines said UT's partnership with Y-12 will be much like the university's partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as it grows over time. However, he said UT will stop short of working toward a management role at Y-12 as it does with Battelle at ORNL.

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