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Rich in natural resources, Alaska plays an important role in US energy economy through oil, natural gas, and coal mining, as well as the development of alternative energy sources, such as hydropower, wind, and microgrid projects. The vast Arctic tundra provides a crucial research setting for ORNL and the nation for monitoring Earth’s permafrost and understanding the effects of climate change.

Value of contracts awarded $842K
4% Percentage to small businesses
96% Percentage to educational institutions
Publications authored with Alaska institutions 52

Data reflects fiscal year 2020 except for scientific publications, which covers 2016–2020. Partner stories reflect work conducted from 2016 to present.


The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments, or NGEE Arctic, is a decade-long project led by ORNL to better understand climate change in the natural world. A team of more than 140 scientists and modelers from US institutions work together on the project, including partners at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks. The information these scientists collect improves climate change models that predict the future of the planet. The project has field sites in Utqiagvik and Nome, Alaska.


Learn more about the project and environmental sciences at ORNL.

Listen to ORNL’s Sound of Science podcast episode “The Unseen World of Climate Change.”

ORNL feature story: “Advancing understanding of Arctic ecosystems means doing science at −10°F

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