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Anchored by the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, ORNL’s partnerships with Idaho institutions include Boise State University, the state’s largest public university, and Forage Genetics International, a major supplier of alfalfa seed for the agriculture industry, among others.

Value of contracts awarded $3.8M
12% Percentage to educational institutions
161 Publications authored with Idaho institutions
Organizations that sponsored research with ORNL 1
ORNL User Facilities Users in Idaho
High Flux Isotope Reactor 2
Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility 1

ORNL’s user facilities offer a diverse set of tools for experiments across a range of fields, including biology, materials and energy sciences, physics, engineering, and chemistry. Learn more about ORNL’s user facilities. Data reflects fiscal year 2020 except for scientific publications, which covers 2016–2020. Partner stories reflect work conducted from 2016 to present.


Idaho National Laboratory, a sister lab to ORNL in the DOE’s complex of national laboratories, performs research and development in energy, national security, science, and environment. Idaho National Laboratory is a leader in nuclear energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment, and helps ensure the nation’s energy security with safe, competitive, and sustainable energy systems and unique national and homeland security capabilities. ORNL and INL are partners in numerous projects spanning DOE’s mission areas.


Boise State University collaborates on the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments, or SPRUCE, project, a whole-ecosystem warming experiment in the peatlands of Minnesota, by providing terrestrial lidar scans of the experimental plots twice a year. These scans help researchers assess vegetation growth and microform changes in the landscape, including the naturally uneven pitch of the peatland floor that influences ecosystem processes. The SPRUCE project is designed to measure the effects of potential future climates on peatlands, which harbor vast carbon stores vulnerable to climate change.


Learn more about environmental sciences at ORNL.

Listen to ORNL’s the Sound of Science podcast episode “Welcome to a Warmer Future.”


Forage Genetics International, a major supplier of alfalfa seed, licensed an ORNL gene technology that regulates the production of lignin in plants and will evaluate it for commercial use in animal feed. By genetically altering the production of lignin, a component of plants that makes them more rigid and woody, plants become easier to digest. The gene modification also increases desirable flavonoids, making the plants more nutritious.


Learn more about biological science at ORNL.

ORNL news release: “Critical Plant Gene Takes Unexpected Detour that Could Boost Biofuel Yields

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