Universities Research Association
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Michael K. Young (President, Texas A&M University)|
The Universities Research Association (URA) is a consortium of over 90 leading research-oriented universities primarily in the United States, with members also in Canada, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The not-for-profit URA corporation was founded in 1965 for management and operation of research facilities in the national interest.
Purpose and Mission
The URA was founded in 1965, under the guidance of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Committee and the National Academy of Sciences. The mission of URA is to establish and operate in the national interest unique laboratories and facilities for research, development, and education in the physical and biological sciences to expand the frontiers of knowledge, foster innovation, and promote the education of future generations of scientists.
Between 1965 and 2007, URA was the prime contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy (and its predecessor organizations) for the creation and operation of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, Illinois. As of January 1, 2007, Fermilab is operated by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, a limited liability corporation with two members, Universities Research Association (URA) and the University of Chicago. Fermilab was home to the Tevatron, which, until the recent initiation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), was for many years the world's most important highest-energy accelerator for elementary particle physics research.
Fermilab’s strategic vision going forward is establishing itself as the world center for neutrino research with the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), hosted at Fermilab in Batavia, IL. The facility required for this experiment, Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), is located at Fermilab and at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, serving as the first major US-hosted international facility of its kind, under the eagis of an international collaboration.
Fermilab also remains the premier facility for accelerator research and development, as well as a major center for research in particle astrophysics and related astronomical sciences, having played lead roles in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory Project, the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search at the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota, and the more recent Dark Energy Survey in Chile.
Organization and Management
The corporation acts under the authority of its governing body, the Council of Presidents of its member universities. The management of corporate affairs is delegated to the Board of Trustees and the Officers of the corporation. The Washington, DC headquarters office coordinates the activities of the Council and is responsible for oversight and governance of URA’s enterprises and for corporate relations with the federal government, industry, and academe.
The URA Visiting Scholars Program
The URA Visiting Scholars Program (VSP) was established in 2007 to support the work of faculty and students from the Universities Research Association, Inc. institutions to work at Fermilab for periods of up to one year. This program, last extended by the URA Council of Presidents for the five year period 2017-2021, is supported by contributions from the URA-member universities.