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Pioneers of the User Facility Model

We pioneered the user facility model in 1946, enabling the research community to tackle science projects at a scale that no single institution could afford individually.

User facilities continue to thrive as the backbone of today’s national laboratory system, providing access to cutting edge facilities, enabling new technologies and pushing the boundaries of science. Today we continue our tradition of designing, building and managing user facilities for several major observatories.

Seven Decades of Discovery

Over the past 70 years, the research we manage has earned six Nobel prizes, created new disciplines of medicine and medical technology, revealed how planets are born, searched the cosmos for intelligent life, pioneered new forms of energy and transportation, recalibrated the way we measure the universe, tested Einstein’s predictions, and convened scientists from across the globe to collaborate for the enlightenment of humanity.

Staff member working with machine

Research Divisions

Astronomy & Space

Antenna with moon above

National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

The NRAO enables cutting edge research focused on solving the mysteries of the invisible universe and furthers scientific research on an international scale for the entire scientific community.

Green Bank Observatory (GBO)

The GBO enables leading research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community and other research communities.

ALMA antenna

Atacama Large Millimeter Submillimeter Array (ALMA)

ALMA is focused on exploring the darkest, coldest, most distant regions of space to develop a deeper understanding of the origins of our universe.


Karl G. Jansky Very Large
Array (VLA)

The VLA is the most versatile, widely used radio telescope in the world and provides the scientific community with the tools needed to solve some of the most eluding mysteries of the universe.

VLBA Antenna

Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)

The VLBA plays a major role in the observation and monitoring of the dynamics of the central regions of active galactic nuclei (AGN).

Central Development Lab (CDL)

The CDL maintains a complete suite of facilities and expertise to design, develop, assemble and test cutting edge radio astronomy technology.

North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC)

The NAASC supports ALMA science operations in Chile and provides user support for the North American ALMA  community.

Other Programs

Center for Greening the Supply Chain (CGSC)

The CGSC is dedicated to addressing the environmental impacts of mining, extraction and processing of critical materials.

AUI Labs Fermi Alliance

The AUI Labs Fermi Alliance explores ways to deliver first class management and operational support to Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.