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When Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) was founded in 1947 by the Ivy League universities of the East Coast and MIT, it was intended to be a multipurpose research laboratory housing large, state-of-the-art research facilities and making them available to scientific (and industrial) users from all over the world. By the 1990's the international user community had grown to over 4500 and five Nobel Prizes had been awarded for work done on its facilities (the last in 2009). When in 1998 Stony Brook became a partner in managing the Laboratory for the U.S.Department of Energy, it had already become the largest institutional scientific user of BNL. The Office of the VPBA has acted to encourage cooperative initiatives between the two institutions that will benefit the missions of both.

This cooperation takes many forms: An increasing number of joint faculty appointments, joint proposal submissions to Federal and State agencies and joint events. Just in 2012 the University and BNL collaborated on the Joint Photon Science Institute, the Center for Extended Lifetime Energy Storage Technologies (CELESTe), the Center for Accelerator Science & Education (CASE), the Institute for Advanced Computational Science and the Center for Scientific Computing, the NY State High-performance Computing Consortium , the Smarter Grid Research, Innovation, Development, Demonstration & Deployment (SGRID3) initiative, and the Consortium for Innovative Global Water and Energy Solutions (Cigwes).