The Berkeley Lab Director’s Review of the Engineering Division took place on June 13-15, 2023. An internal review held every three years, this gathering entails Division engagement with a panel of expert reviewers who are invited to evaluate the Division “as a world-class organization supporting the scientific goals and initiatives of LBNL.” This year’s external review committee included representatives from other national laboratories including Fermilab, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, SLAC, and Jefferson Lab. Their final Summary Report was released on June 26, 2023.
The review focused on evaluating the Division’s standard processes, tools, and project workflows, including the high-level documentation that serves as the Division’s primary resource for defining the Lab’s engineering policies, procedures, and practices. The review process also included a review of the Division’s Lab-wide Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) program.
The review committee was extremely impressed with the Division’s diverse technical capabilities and expertise, the depth and breadth of their support for the Lab’s project and programmatic base, and their substantial contributions to the wide variety of multidisciplinary science activities represented at Berkeley Lab.
Henrik von der Lippe, who has been Engineering Division Director since 2016, was delighted with the outcomes of the review as well as the committee’s helpful recommendations: “The committee’s engagement with our staff, and their assessment of our competency and capability was very thorough. The comments and recommendations were insightful and will be very helpful in helping us improve and better serve the mission of the Lab.”
During the review, leading collaborators from many of the Engineering Division’s major project partners – including DUNE (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment), GRETA (Gamma-Ray Energy Tracking Array), the U.S. Magnet Development Program, the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider Accelerator Upgrade Project, the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology – spoke about the Lab’s impressive expertise and capabilities. Leadership from the Advanced Light Source Upgrade (ALS-U) project, which engages over 160 Engineering Division staff members, provided an in-depth presentation as well as a tour of the recent installations being overseen by Engineering Division Deputy Daniela Leitner. According to David Robin, the ALS-U project director who presented the ALS-U project overview, “The close partnership with engineering is essential for the success of the project. More than 80% of the ALS-U staff is provided by engineering”
All Engineering staff members were invited to attend the review and contribute to the poster session, which was a highlight of the event that was open to the entire Lab and enthusiastically received by all who participated. While this part of the event was targeted to give the review panel a more detailed overview of the technical engineering work, it also served as a networking event for colleagues and counterparts from partner divisions who enjoyed learning about the Division’s diverse activities and expertise in support of the Lab’s science projects and programs.
The Lab continues to receive funding to implement more scientific projects and the demand for additional capacity and capabilities requires increasing the Engineering Division’s staff. As the largest division at Berkeley Lab, the Engineering Division staff has increased by 44% in the last 5 years and currently encompasses 443 highly skilled staff members who are engaged in a wide range of capabilities. Engineers, designers, and technicians oversee the Lab’s quality, safety, risk, and project controls to support research programs Lab-wide with an impressive array of expertise areas including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, magnet design, manufacturing engineering, systems engineering, CAD support, and project controls.
The Engineering Division would like to thank their entire community of technical and support staff, their research collaborators who participated and presented, and everyone who contributed to this successful review. According to von der Lippe, “The collaborations we have, with the scientists from our partner divisions Lab-wide, stimulate the development of our talented and amazing staff. That collaborative effort brings the best out of us.“