Process and Charge

Charge to the Director Search Committee
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

The Fermi Research Alliance, LLC Board of Directors charges the Committee to engage in a comprehensive search for a distinguished scientist to lead Fermilab as its next Director. The Laboratory will continue to pursue a broad scientific program addressing the fundamental nature of matter and energy and their roles in the universe. The Laboratory will also continue its vigorous effort to develop advanced technologies and tools that enable these studies and provide potential benefits to the nation.

The new Director will continue to lead the development of a new programmatic vision for Fermilab, including a major physics program that addresses fundamental questions using high-intensity proton beams. The Director will need to build strong support for this program from the scientific community, and secure the resources to execute this vision from the Department of Energy and other sponsors. Because of the scale and breadth of this program, the Director is expected to cultivate the international participation and resources that will play an increasingly important role in the future of the Laboratory.

The Committee should seek input from a broad cross-section of the relevant sections of the scientific community, including but not limited to high-energy physics and particle astrophysics, as well as from key academic and governmental stakeholders. The Committee should consult closely with representatives of Fermilab staff, with current users of Fermilab facilities, and with the current and former Directors of Fermilab. The Committee must maintain strict confidentiality regarding the identity of candidates throughout the search process. The Committee is also encouraged to seek qualified candidates from demographic groups that remain underrepresented in the relevant scientific disciplines.


The ideal candidate will be exceptional in four primary categories:

  • The candidate must have a record of visionary leadership, strategic thinking and planning, and management experience and accomplishments, particularly in a DOE National Laboratory or other complex research setting;
  • The candidate must be internationally recognized for scientific excellence through a demonstrated track record of scientific achievement and strong credentials;
  • The candidate must have an outstanding working knowledge of DOE missions, organizations and programs;
  • The candidate must possess the skills necessary to communicate directly and effectively with multiple constituencies, including the Department of Energy, other appropriate federal and state funding agencies, business and industry, university and research groups, the media, elected officials and their staffs in Washington, D.C., the State of Illinois, and the Midwest region.

Search Deadline and Products

On or before May 1, 2013, the Search Committee will provide to the Chairman of the FRA Board of Directors the following: an unranked list of at least 3 candidates the Committee deems most qualified along with the rationale for each as to why this is so in light of the criteria stated above; a brief summary of the search process, including identification of groups and individuals consulted during the search process; and any additional information the Committee believes to be relevant and important for the FRA Board to consider.

Fermilab Director Search Committee Process And Meeting Schedule

Solicitation of input from many sources and through numerous channels, including the following:

  • Fermilab Director Search website established, including a secure interface for soliciting input from the community.
  • Classified advertisements soliciting applications for the position posted in Science, Physics Today, CERN Courier and Physics World.
  • Advice and input solicited from selected individuals and groups at Fermilab, in the scientific community and in government via in-person and phone meetings and written correspondence, including town hall and small-group meetings at Fermilab.
  • Solicitation of input from The American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields and Division of Physics of Beams via email announcements to their entire memberships.

Committee review and evaluation of total input, and development of a list of viable candidates:

  • Examine all input and initially pare down to list of viable candidates (i.e., those judged to be qualified in accordance with search criteria in Charge to Committee).
  • After deliberation and initial screening of leading candidates, select short list of no more than eight candidates for in-person interviews with full Committee.

Committee deliberations to reach decisions on most qualified candidates and to draft report:

In accordance with a final formal Charge to the Committee, the Committee will reach a decision on an unranked list of candidates whom the Committee deems most qualified along with the rationale for each in light of the criteria stated in the Charge.

Committee report will include the unranked list and related narratives. Report will also include brief summary of the search process, including identification of groups and individuals consulted during the search process; and any additional information the Committee believes to be relevant and important for the FRA Board to consider.


November 2012: Initial meeting for discussion of Committee’s charge, search process, solicitation of inputs (ads, notices, letters to selected individuals and officials), evaluation process, and planning of subsequent meeting schedule. Preparation for December meeting at Fermilab.

December 2012: Two-day meeting at Fermilab for sessions with representatives of the Laboratory community (management, users, employees, grad students and post-docs, current and past directors), including town hall session and subcommittee sessions with individuals. APS/DPF involvement will be sought.

January 2013: Meeting to review compiled suggestions, nominations and applications, to determine set of leading candidates for whom additional information will be obtained, and to prepare screening process.

February 2013: Meeting (after additional information is obtained from selected referees and others) to discuss leading candidates. After discussions, develop short list of candidates (up to 8) to be interviewed by the Committee.

March 2013: Meetings to interview up to eight candidates, discuss the results, and undertake preliminary deliberations on Committee recommendations.

April 2013: Meeting for final decisions on Committee recommendations, and for drafting Committee report in accordance with Committee charge.

Submit Final Committee report to Chair of FRA Board of Directors by May 1, 2013

Last modified: 11/30/2012 |