ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A lot more scientists and engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and New Mexico Tech could be mingling on each other’s campuses under a new agreement to be signed Thursday in Socorro.
The new accord allows for joint appointments for faculty and staff at both institutions, providing unprecedented access to one another’s research and facilities.
Until now, NM Tech personnel could only operate at LANL as visitors, highly restricting their access. Under the new agreement, their status will be updated to directly operate as lab staff, said NM Tech President Stephen G. Wells.
Likewise, LANL staff members can now gain appointments in NM Tech departments, granting them direct access to university research and allowing them to teach and work with students and faculty.
It’s the first such joint-appointment arrangement between LANL and a New Mexico university, Wells said.
“I’m very excited about this monumental agreement and the impact it will have for both institutions and the state of New Mexico,” Wells said in a statement. “This five-year agreement provides an opportunity for Tech students to work more closely with LANL’s elite researchers and foster homegrown innovation and economic development for New Mexico.”
In the past, collaborative work has often been a “cumbersome process,” said Carlos Romero, associate vice president for research at NM Tech.
“Now we have a formal process in place for our faculty and staff to flow back and forth between both institutions,” Romero said.
Apart from the advantages for staff, such free flow of personnel will benefit students by providing more opportunities to work directly with LANL scientists and engineers, Wells said.
“To have premier LANL scientists here as faculty is fantastic,” Wells told the Journal. “It could help us attract and retain students from more places who want to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Wells and LANL Director Terry C. Wallace will sign the agreement Thursday in a ceremony at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources on the university campus.