The Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee Names Its Inaugural Executive Director

Joan Bienvenue has been selected as the first executive director of the Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee, established last year to align the expertise and infrastructure of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the university in support of world-leading research and talent development.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. It was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. The University of Tennessee has been associated with the laboratory since its inception.

As the director of the Oak Ridge Institute, Dr. Bienvenue will develop a strategy for establishing leading-edge interdisciplinary graduate research in emerging fields, build world-leading programs that leverage University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s capabilities, and lead recruitment of faculty, staff, and students. As director, Bienvenue will also serve as a vice provost at the Univerity of Tennessee.

“The opportunity to lead this partnership between a national research university and the country’s leading science and energy laboratory holds transformative potential,” Dr. Bienvenue said. “The institute is a truly visionary initiative that positions UT, ORNL, and the state of Tennessee at the forefront of developing the research and talent required to lead the industries of the future.”

Dr. Bienvenue comes to the Oak Ridge Institute from the University of Virginia, where she has been senior executive director of the Applied Research Institute — which she launched — since June 2013. She is a graduate of Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire, where she majored in chemistry. Dr. Bienvenue holds a master’s degree in forensic science from the University of New Haven in Connecticut, an MBA from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia.

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