An Innovation Hub

The City of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Corridor serve as a central hub for innovation in the Tennessee Valley. World-class resources such as the Department of Energy's integrated research centers that both create and foster innovation through programs like the technology transfer program. The nearby Y-12 National Security Complex also offers commercial and federal intellectual property and research agreements, along with regional educational partners like the University of Tennessee's UT Research Foundation.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is building on a legacy of discovery and innovation to continually address our most urgent R&D needs. ORNL delivers scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs needed to realize solutions in energy and national security and to provide economic benefit to the nation. A wide range of partnerships with other US Department of Energy laboratories and programs, universities, and industry allows us to pair our strengths with others for outstanding contributions to science. 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, operated by UT-Battelle on behalf of the US Department of Energy, is the world’s premier research institution, empowering leaders and teams to pursue breakthroughs in an environment marked by operational excellence and engagement with the communities where the lab’s employees live and work.

More than 6,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff representing more than 60 nations form a dynamic culture of innovation at ORNL. The lab’s focus on community, collaboration, and the environment is integral to its success.

Science Areas

ORNL applies a remarkable portfolio of scientific expertise and world-class facilities and equipment to develop scientific and technological solutions.

Biology and Environment

Advancing understanding of complexity in biological and environmental systems

Clean Energy

Delivering breakthroughs for a clean, efficient, secure energy future

Fusion and Fission

Delivering world-leading nuclear science and engineering


Advancing isotope science and processing for a healthy, secure, and sustainable future


Conducting foundational science in chemistry, materials science, nanoscience, and physics

National Security

Solving critical challenges in cybersecurity, nuclear security, and human security

Neutron Science

Answering big science questions about the fundamental nature of materials at atomic scale


Advancing computing and data capabilities for scientific discovery and continued U.S. technological leadership

  • 5800+ Total Staff
  • 946 of staff hold PHDs
  • 60+ countries represented
  • 30% of senior leaders are people of color
  • 35% of senior leaders are women
  • 11% of employees are veterans
  • 5% of employees identify as having a disability


These centers also call ORNL home: 

Y-12 National Security Complex

Considered the birthplace of the atomic bomb, Y-12 was built as part of the Manhattan Project for the purpose of enriching uranium for the first atomic bombs. In the years after World War II, it has been operated as a manufacturing facility for nuclear weapons components and related defense purposes. More than 6,000 Tennesseans work at Y-12, including federal and contractor staff. 

  • 550+ invention disclosures
  • 85+ patent applications
  • 85+ patents issued
  • 5 R&D 100 Awards
  • 45+ commercial and federal intellectual property and research agreements

Carbon Fiber Technology Facility

The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, established in 2013, is the Department of Energy’s only designated user facility for carbon fiber innovation. The CFTF, a 42,000 sq. ft. facility, provides a platform for identifying high-potential, low-cost raw materials including textile, lignin, polymer and hydrocarbon-based precursors.


The University of Tennessee Oak Ridge Innovation Institute

The UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute addresses emerging, top-tier industry and workforce needs. The Institute develops scientists and engineers, who are locally relevant and globally competitive. 


IACMI is established as a not-for-profit entity under the University of Tennessee Research Foundation led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.