Founded during the immense investment in scientific research in the period preceding World War II, the National Laboratories have served as the leading institutions for scientific innovation in the United States for more than sixty years.
The Energy Department's National Labs tackle the critical scientific challenges of our time -- from combating climate change to discovering the origins of our universe -- and possess unique instruments and facilities, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. They address large scale, complex research and development challenges with a multidisciplinary approach that places an emphasis on translating basic science to innovation. Specifically, the National Laboratories:
- conduct research of the highest caliber in physical, chemical, biological, and computational and information sciences that advances our understanding of the world around us;
- advance U.S. energy independence and leadership in clean energy technologies to ensure the ready availability of clean, reliable, and affordable energy;
- enhance global, national, and homeland security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, helping to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and securing the nation’s borders; and
- design, build, and operate distinctive scientific instrumentation and facilities, and make these resources available to the research community.
Science is not linear, nor is it uniform, but the Lab system makes the pursuit of discovery -- and the many solutions that result -- both a collaborative enterprise and a shared national resource. Bottom line: From invention to prosperity, the return on public investment is huge.