Meet national laboratory science director Sue Clark on Nov. 12


Clemson University researchers can learn about the numerous opportunities to conduct research at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) as one of the lab’s senior leaders visits campus Nov. 12.   

Sue Clark, deputy laboratory director of science and technology at SRNL, will meet with Clemson faculty to share tips on engaging SRNL in research collaborations. Clark will provide a 15-20 minute presentation and then will answer questions for attendees. The event is 9:30-11:30 am. Nov. 12 at the Watt Family Innovation Center auditorium. In-person attendance is strongly recommended but the presentation can be viewed via Zoom as well.

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a long-term contract for the Battelle Savannah River Alliance (BSRA), of which Clemson is a member, to manage research at the Savannah River National Lab (SRNL). The unique partnership expands on a decades-long relationship between Clemson and SRNL and opens numerous opportunities for Clemson faculty and students to study solutions to nuclear waste storage, advanced materials, environmental protection, energy security and more.

This is a portrait of Sue Clark.
Sue Clark

“At SRNL, we are excited to pursue this strategic partnership with our BSRA universities, including Clemson University,” Clark said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to advance a regional research and development enterprise that is focused on the mission of the Department of Energy.  DOE’s mission is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”

The contract DOE awarded to BSRA, which is led and wholly-owned by Battelle, includes a five-year base with five one-year options. The estimated value of the contract is $3.8 billion over the course of 10 years. This marks the first time the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a management contract for the lab separately from the Savannah River Site contract. Other members of the alliance are the Georgia Institute of Technology, South Carolina State University, University of Georgia, and University of South Carolina, as well as small business partners, Longenecker & Associates and TechSource.

Clark serves as SRNL’s chief research officer and is responsible for the Science and Energy Security Mission Initiative, instilling the proper safety culture in the research organizations, and developing and delivering an overall integrated science and technology strategy.

“I’d like to thank Sue for visiting Clemson and meeting with our faculty interested in engaging with SRNL. Our partnership with SRNL presents a unique opportunity to conduct research at one of the nation’s premiere national laboratories,” said Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research at Clemson.

Prior to joining SRNL, Clark served as the chief science and technology officer, energy and environment directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), overseeing approximately $265 million of annual research with more than 1,100 staff performing research for multiple DOE mission sponsors. In this role, she directed PNNL’s Nuclear Materials Processing initiative, developing a Laboratory-wide vision and strategy that spanned PNNL’s collective nuclear research enterprise and nuclear operations, and defined and executed a strategy for investments that resulted in hiring next generation nuclear science staff.

A past faculty member at Washington State University, Clark began her career more than 30 years ago at Savannah River Site, working as a staff scientist for Westinghouse Savannah River Technology Center, followed by four years as a research ecologist for the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Sue received a Ph.D. in chemistry and M.S. in chemistry from Florida State University and a B.S. in chemistry from Lander College in Greenwood. She has received numerous awards for her technical contributions, including the Garvan-Olin Medal (2012) and the Glenn T. Seaborg Award in Nuclear Science from the American Chemical Society (2020).

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