A research group that played a key role in the Manhattan Project is one of the biggest recipients of contracts from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Battelle Memorial Institute, a non-profit based in Columbus, Ohio, co-manages research and innovative technologies for the Department of Energy. Four separate arms of the organization have received more than $844 million. Two of them, UT Battelle and Brookhaven Science Associates, were set up with universities as 50-50 partnerships for research purposes.
According to recent Recovery.gov data, the organization used stimulus funds to support 142 jobs in the last quarter of 2009.
The nonprofit’s research arms have used the funds to continue and start up projects that were “shovel-ready,” contracting with local businesses in Tennessee and New York.
Battelle has long been one of the leading institutes for research projects in the country, receiving more than $2.3 billion last year alone, and ranks 31 among the top 100 contractors in the country, according to UsaSpending.gov. Last year it spent more than $1.3 million lobbying on several issues, one of which was “the inclusion of funding infrastructure projects at the Department of Energy Laboratories” in the stimulus package “through the DOE Science Lab Infrastructure account.”
A steel mill magnate from Ohio created Battelle as an endowment for research projects, incorporating it as a nonprofit in 1925. During and after World War II, it was heavily involved with the Manhattan Project and became one of the front-runners in developing a nuclear arsenal. In the 1970s and ’80s, it began managing operations for the Department of Energy, starting with the Pacific Northwest Laboratories. Today, the organization has over 20,000 employees around the world and runs five labs for the Department of Energy. According to the organization’s most recent form 990 — the tax forms that all non-profits have to file with the Internal Revenue Services — Battelle received more than $3.7 million in all from various government agencies.
The massive nonprofit has diversified far beyond its atomic roots, now developing everything from waste management systems to non-melting chocolate.