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Smith to be Recommended for Lab Liaison Post

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Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith, special advisor to University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd, will be recommended to the UT Board of Trustees to serve as the vice president for national labs at the UT System.

The UT Board of Trustees will consider the recommendation during its winter meeting on March 1 at UT Southern.

Pending board approval, Smith’s new role will serve as the UT System’s primary liaison to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) leadership team, the U.S. Department of Energy and Battelle Memorial Institute on matters that relate to the UT-Battelle management and operations contract for ORNL.

Smith retired from the role of deputy director for operations at ORNL in 2021, but was asked by the UT-Battelle board of directors to return as interim lab director in 2023 where he served until October 2023. He is a former member of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors (2017-2022) and served as the UT-Battelle Development Corporation president from 2002-2023.

“We are so fortunate to have someone with Jeff’s experience in this role,” Boyd said. “His extensive career at ORNL and his service on the TVA board make him the perfect person to oversee our lab relationship.”

During his time at ORNL, Smith led a $700 million modernization of the lab that transformed the dated facilities of the Manhattan Project-era site into one of the world’s most modern laboratories.

Several major scientific facilities were completed under his leadership, including:

  • The $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source, the world’s most powerful neutron science facility
  • A Carbon Fiber Technology Facility to advance the development of low-cost carbon fiber
  • The world’s largest supercomputer center, capable of delivering up to 60 megawatts of power to today’s world-leading machines.

Smith’s tenure at ORNL also saw safety performance improve to record levels and he coordinated efforts to improve the safety and reliability of the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the nation’s premier research reactor.

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service.The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 58,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 445,000 alumni around the world.


Melissa Tindell
400 W. Summit Hill Drive – UT Tower #1236

Jason Moody
400 W. Summit Hill Drive – UT Tower

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Category: Announcements