State leaders praise U agreement with Idaho National Lab

Feb 23, 2022, 6:55 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A new partnership with the University of Utah and the Idaho National Laboratory drew praise from state leaders Wednesday. The agreement aims at advancing the nation’s energy and security technology.

U of U President Taylor Randall called the partnership a ‘super agreement’ that will propel the school to a top ten university in research and engineering.

“What it basically means, I think, in football parlance is, we’ve just been invited to the engineering rose bowl,” President Randall said. “And we’re going to win this one.”

The Idaho National Laboratory is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development, according to its Director John Wagner. He said INL is a world leader in clean energy research—like biofuels and electric vehicles—and cybersecurity.

“There’s so much we can and will accomplish together,” Wagner said at the Capitol, to a packed room of business, political and education leaders.

“It’s really great to see the best of Idaho working with the best of Utah,” said Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville.

U.S. Representative Chris Stewart also praised the deal, calling it a first step toward bigger things to come.

And Utah Senate President Stewart Adams described the partnership as more evidence that Utah is the place where great things happen.

Since 2018, the U and INL have worked together on wireless technology to help first responders communicate time sensitive information even when airwaves are congested.

More recently, the school’s nuclear faculty has worked with the lab on a project that they say could improve certain cancer treatments.

“This agreement lays the groundwork to connect the country’s best academic minds to the country’s most innovative leaders,” said Derek Miller, president of the Salt Lake Chamber.

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State leaders praise U agreement with Idaho National Lab