WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking comments on a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the competitive selection of a management and operating (M&O) contractor for Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), a major DOE Office of Science research facility located near Chicago, Ill. This competition for a laboratory contractor is the first in the history of the lab.
ANL is a multiprogram laboratory, funded at approximately $492 million annually by the Office of Science (SC), other DOE programs, as well as other government agencies and private industry. Argonne was chartered in 1946 and historically was key to the development of the Nation’s atomic energy program and the development of nuclear technology. Today, the laboratory’s missions are more diverse, including basic science and technology development. Areas of research include the physical sciences, energy science and technology, nanotechnology, computing sciences, environmental sciences, biosciences, and other areas. Argonne also performs limited research in support of national security.
Argonne’s unique research facilities, which attract scientists from all over the world, include the Advanced Photon Source, Intense Pulse Neutron Source, Argonne Tandem-Linac Accelerator System, Center for Nanoscale Materials; Electron Microscope Center; Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility; and Transportation Technology Research and Development Center.
The draft RFP includes provisions to facilitate competition, encourage superior science, and achieve excellent management performance. For example:
- The successful offeror will be required to form a stand-alone corporate entity to manage and operate the laboratory, as opposed to a single parent institution or firm. Following the model of other recent M&O contract selections, this will serve to clarify lines of responsibility and accountability under the new agreement.
- The contract includes “award-term” provisions to permit extension of the resulting contract for incremental periods up to 15 years beyond the initial five-year term as an incentive for superior performance.
- The new contract will be the first competitively awarded DOE SC contract to specifically include its 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.
- To retain ANL’s world-class scientists and other workers, the selected offeror will be required to pay the transitioning workforce comparable pay and benefits to those currently being provided to laboratory employees.
The draft 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 both world-class scientific research and development, as well as in operations and business management; and the value added by the contractor.
The draft RFP is available to interested parties on the DOE e-Commerce web site: http://e-center.doe.gov/. In addition, an information library regarding the solicitation is available on the DOE Office of Science web site at http://rfpanl.sc.doe.gov/. Comments on the draft RFP, suggested changes to draft contract provisions, and questions should be submitted to the “Submit Questions” feature on IIPS by February 3, 2006. Responses to questions and other information about the draft RFP will also be posted to this site.
During a 30-day comment period, DOE will conduct a comment workshop in the vicinity of the laboratory. The comment workshop will be held January 26, 2006, at the Ramsey Auditorium at Wilson Hall, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL. Specific information on the workshop will be posted on the e-Commerce web site listed above. DOE will consider all comments received in issuing the final RFP, expected in late February 2006.
DOE also plans to hold a pre-proposal conference and to offer a site tour for prospective offerors shortly after issuance of the final RFP. Proposals are expected to be due to DOE in April 2006. Proposals will be reviewed by a Source Evaluation Board of DOE technical and business experts.
The department expects to complete the selection process and award a new contract before the current contract with the University of Chicago expires on September 30, 2006.
Jeff Sherwood, 202/586-5806
Gary Pitchford, 630/252-2013