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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the competitive selection of a management and operating (M&O) contractor to operate Ames Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science (SC) research facility in Ames, Iowa. This competition for a contractor is the first in the history of the laboratory. Ames is a laboratory that has been funded at approximately $30 million annually by the Office of Science, other government agencies, and private industry.

"Ames Laboratory provides leadership in basic research across a broad spectrum of science, with great expertise in biology, chemistry, physics and related disciplines, which helps the U.S. maintain our global competitiveness," DOE Under Secretary for Science Dr. Raymond L. Orbach said. "Through this contracting process, DOE seeks the best possible management of this laboratory to sustain our cutting-edge scientific resources."

Ames was formally established in 1947 by the Atomic Energy Commission as a result of the Ames Project's successful development of the most efficient process to produce high-purity uranium metal in large quantities for atomic energy. Today, Ames Laboratory serves DOE and supports the Office of Science Strategic Plan by conducting fundamental research in the physical, chemical, biological, materials, mathematical and engineering sciences which underlie energy generating, conversion, and transmission and storage technologies; environmental improvement; and other technical areas essential to DOE and SC missions. Ames has a focus on materials research, with additional strengths in the areas of chemistry and plant biology. Ames operates the Materials Preparation Center, which provides capabilities in preparation, purification, fabrication and characterization of materials in support of R&D programs at government, academic and industry laboratories throughout the world.

The RFP includes provisions to facilitate competition, encourage superior science, and achieve excellent management performance. For example:

  • The contract includes "award-term" provisions to permit extension of the contract for incremental periods up to 15 years beyond the initial five-year term as an incentive for superior performance. The maximum annual total available fee is $835,000.
  • The management contract will be performance-based, reflecting DOE's efforts to enable the contractor to achieve more highly effective and efficient management of the Laboratory.
  • The new contract will include DOE's newly developed Laboratory Performance Appraisal Process, which is intended to enhance performance management, bring increased emphasis on effective operations and improved results at Office of Science laboratories, and link performance appraisal to the contract's award-term provisions.
  • This new appraisal process is expected to bring greater comparability, consistency, and transparency to performance reviews, better tailor incentives to motivate contractor performance, and generate more useful information for DOE management decisions.
  • The RFP contains provisions requiring the new contractor to retain the current workforce with the exception of the specified top-level positions.

The RFP describes the criteria DOE will use in selecting a successful future contractor. Key criteria include the potential contractor's experience and past performance in both science and business management; key personnel, including the proposed laboratory director; strategy for fulfilling DOE's mission for the laboratory; management strategy and approach to achieving excellence in world-class scientific research and development, as well as in operations and business management; and the value added by the contractor.

The RFP is available on the DOE e-Commerce Web site:  In addition, an information library regarding the solicitation is available on the DOE Office of Science Web site at

The RFP is being issued in final form, and comments on the RFP, suggested changes to contract provisions, or other questions may be submitted to the "Submit Questions" feature on IIPS until August 19, 2006. Responses to questions, other information about the RFP, and any possible resulting changes will also be posted to this site.

DOE will offer the opportunity of a site tour for prospective offerors, and plans to conduct a pre-proposal conference and one-on-one meetings with potential offerors. Specific details about these meetings will be available on the web site as they become available.

Proposals, which are due to DOE on August 29, 2006, will be reviewed by a Source Evaluation Board of DOE technical and business experts.  

Media contact(s):

Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806
Gary Pitchford, (630) 252-2013