Cherry Murray, who has been nominated to be the next director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science, says that if confirmed for the post, she'd like to focus on better integrating the national laboratories, ScienceInsider reports. The Office of Science runs 10 of the national labs while other DOE divisions run the remaining six other labs.
"The Office of Science manages its labs very well, it's the shining star of DOE," she says. "But they could be better integrated with the other national labs."
However, ScienceInsider notes that it's unclear that Murray, who is a Harvard University physicist, will get a chance to try to do that. There are only 16 months left in the Obama administration, and the Senate, which must confirm her, might not get around to doing that. A previous nominee for the post, Marc Kastner, an MIT physicist, was nominated in 2013, but his nomination never went up for a vote.
Eric Isaacs, a provost at the University of Chicago, tells ScienceInsider that Murray's 26 years of experience at Bell Labs has prepared her well for leading the office of science as both are mission-based research programs. Still, Murray says the Office of Science under her watch would emphasize basic research.
"It has been shown over and over again that the most valuable patents are the ones from basic science because they start new fields," she tells ScienceInsider.