Given the urgent national need to make breakthroughs in energy research and transform these and other basic science discoveries into beneficial technologies, the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory faces a critical lack of space for its current and future programs. With the support from the University of California, which manages the Laboratory, Berkeley Lab has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ), also known as an expression of interest, for a second campus to consolidate current programs that are located in space spread throughout the Bay Area, and prepare for long-term future growth.
Berkeley Lab’s existing campus is located in the Berkeley hills above the University of California, Berkeley. The RFQ seeks expressions of interest for a site with a combination of attributes, including that it be located within 20 to 25 minutes of the original campus, have land capacity to accommodate any future growth and easy access to public transportation and other amenities.
“Our lab has a significant need for a second campus to accommodate both current and future programs, as far as 30 to 50 years into the future,” said Berkeley Lab director Paul Alivisatos. “Berkeley Lab has been the home to some of the most innovative scientific research in the last 80 years. Now we need to ensure that it has the discovery space to meet today’s needs and those that will certainly arise in the future.”
Most of Berkeley Lab’s 4,200 employees work at its main site, but about 20 percent of them are dispersed around the East Bay in four facilities: the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in Oakland and much of the Life Sciences Division in West Berkeley.
A second campus would be a powerful complement to the rejuvenation of the existing campus and would provide substantial scientific benefits by allowing researchers, presently scattered throughout the greater Bay Area, to interact more directly with each other and with faculty and students from UC Berkeley, thus encouraging collaboration, education, and cross-disciplinary research. Berkeley Lab was founded on the idea of “team science,” where groups of individuals from different fields of expertise work together to solve problems.
Berkeley Lab will seek to co-locate with synergistic commercial and industrial activity to help promote the development of clean and sustainable energy technologies. The Lab will carefully consider transportation issues, including efficient methods for moving between the two campuses.
Responses to the RFQ are due within 60 days of today’s issuance. UC intends to announce a short list by the end of March and make a final site selection by June. After environmental assessments and site development, design and construction, occupancy could occur by the end of 2015.
Berkeley Lab is one of the top 25 largest employers in the Bay Area. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. Berkeley Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by the University of California for the DOE Office of Science. Berkeley Lab provides solutions to the world’s most urgent scientific challenges, including sustainable energy, climate change, human health, and a better understanding of matter and force in the universe. It is a world leader in improving our lives through team science, advanced computing, and innovative technology. Visit our website.