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James B. Roberto


Associate Laboratory Director
Science and Technology Partnerships

James B. RobertoDr. Roberto is Associate Laboratory Director for Science and Technology Partnerships, where he is responsible for industrial and university partnerships, technology transfer, economic development, patents and licensing, and graduate education.  ORNL partners with more than 600 industries and 200 universities each year through collaborative research, joint appointments, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), User Agreements, nonfederal work for others, and educational outreach. This includes a close relationship with the University of Tennessee (UT), with joint institutes in biological sciences, neutron sciences, advanced materials, and computational sciences, and the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

A member of ORNL’s Leadership Team since 1999, Dr. Roberto served as ORNL’s Deputy for Science and Technology from 2004 to 2009, overseeing a remarkable growth period for the research and development programs. He served as Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences from 1999 to 2004, leading initiatives such as a major scientific upgrade to the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the establishment of the $65 million Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, the Department of Energy’s first nanoscale science research center. He was Director of the ORNL Solid State Division from 1990 to 1999.  Most recently, he was instrumental in the establishment of the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center, a unique university-laboratory partnership in graduate education.

Dr. Roberto joined ORNL in 1974 after earning a B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His research interests have included X-ray and neutron scattering, ion-surface interactions, materials for fusion reactors, and heavy element nuclear physics, where he participated in the recent discovery of element 117. Dr. Roberto is a former President of the Materials Research Society and Chair of the Division of Materials Physics of the American Physical Society. He has served on three National Research Council committees, most recently as Vice-Chair of the NRC study on Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics. He has testified before Congress on nanotechnology and energy-related issues and chaired numerous national and international conferences. Dr. Roberto is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a recipient of the 2004 National Materials Advancement Award from the Federation of Materials Research Societies.

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