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WSU / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Building synergies WSU and PNNL: Shaping the Future Together

Washington State University and the United States Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have combined their scientific, research, and academic acumen to build and strengthen relationships that will drive innovation and help sustain the globe.

News highlights

Richland researchers innovating to keep you cool for less in triple-digit temps News release

WSU and PNNL to host joint seminar series to foster research collaboration News release

WSU-PNNL Joint Appointee Aurora Clark honored as fellow of American Physical Society News release

Energy Secretary, Washington Governor Dedicate Energy Sciences Center at PNNL News release

PNNL: Extending the Frontiers of Knowledge

Science is the centerpiece of what PNNL does. It is the foundation of the national lab’s expertise in energy resiliency and national security, opening new lines of inquiry to address the nation’s most significant challenges. PNNL conducts fundamental research to make the world safer and more secure and serves as a catalyst for further innovation that makes its way into the daily lives here at home and abroad.

WSU and PNNL have a long and proven history of collaborating on research projects as well as providing hands-on educational experiences that lead to high quality career opportunities for scholars. In addition, more than 800 WSU alumni work at PNNL as scientists, engineers, and other professionals.

There is tremendous value in the relationship between WSU and PNNL. The geographic proximity of the two institutions provides the fertile ground for a growing partnership and unique research and academic programs. Together, WSU and PNNL strive to add value through the partnership while bringing together assets for the benefit of all Washingtonians and the nation.

The WSU and PNNL Joint Institutes

Nuclear Science and Technology

The Nuclear Science and Technology Institute’s mission is to understand and control how materials evolve in radiation environments—to prevent the use of illicit nuclear materials, resolve issues in nuclear waste management, and advance next-generation nuclear energy.


The Bioproducts Institute’s mission is to leverage cutting edge science, engineering, and analysis to transform engineered plants and industrial, agricultural and municipal waste into valuable materials and chemicals, and develop a pipeline of talent to meet future workforce needs.

Advanced Grid

The Advanced Grid Institute’s mission is to create and implement a national-scale simulation platform and data framework to enable advanced grid controls and operations for complex power systems of the future.

WSU-PNNL Institutes: Catalysts for Discovery

In 2018, WSU and PNNL accelerated this historical collaboration, in order to expand the impacts of research and educational and training programs. We have formed three joint institutes to advance science and technology in areas that are critical for the nation and Northwest: Nuclear Science and Technology, Advanced Grid, and Bioproducts.

These collaborations are designed to:

  • Combine the unique talents and resources of WSU and PNNL to address important scientific and technological challenges
  • Elevate the quality and impact of research through collaborative multi-disciplinary teams with access to world-class instrumentation and facilities at both institutions
  • Educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers while providing scholars with experience that prepares graduates for success in selected fields of study
  • Serve as a beacon for new talent in those fields
  • Create and support an ecosystem of industrial, government and university participants who will benefit from the tools, technologies, and discoveries that result from the Institutes.

Get involved with the partnership

The WSU-PNNL Institutes are specifically designed to encourage robust team environments that benefit graduate students, research partners, and expand joint appointments between the two institutions. The catalytic power of WSU’s and PNNL’s talent, expertise, and laboratories result in a more efficient and prosperous future for energy and bio-based technologies.

Students seeking their Ph.D. and gaining real-world experience at a leading national lab are excellent candidates to apply for the PNNL-WSU Distinguished Graduate Research Program (DGRP).

Partners in the public and private sectors committed to cross-cutting, result-driven research projects are the ideal collaborators with the WSU-PNNL Institutes.

WSU faculty and PNNL scientists dedicated to tackling scientific and engineering challenges while working in smart, effective teams are the classic participants in the WSU-PNNL joint appointment program.

Connecting resources + expertise

WSU has over 125 years of inspiring the next generation of problem solvers. WSU faculty help to inspire discovery and spark creativity among WSU graduate and undergraduate students. WSU alumni have gone on to be leaders in their chosen field, including in engineering, agriculture, the sciences, healthcare, and other disciplines. The state’s flagship land-grant institution conducts life-changing research in human and animal health, clean energy, food production, economic opportunity, and global security. WSU is one of just 115 colleges and universities – out of 4,600+ public and private institutions – named among doctoral universities with the highest research activity in the Carnegie Classification (2015). Faculty includes members of the National Academies – the nation’s highest honor for scientific researchers and many other honorees, including faculty.

PNNL is one of the preeminent national laboratories in the U.S. and advances knowledge and takes on some of the world’s greatest science and technology challenges. PNNL has distinctive strengths in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics. These research strengths and capabilities lay the foundation for innovations that improve the Nation’s energy resiliency and enhance national security. PNNL delivers science and technology by conducting basic research that advances knowledge and translate discoveries into tools and technologies in science, energy, the environment and national security.