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The University of Tennessee
Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (UTK-ORNL)

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Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (UTK-ORNL)

The Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education unites extensive and complementary resources at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research related to energy. Seeking to create opportunities for exceptional students to engage in interdisciplinary research and education, the Bredesen Center offers doctoral fellowships to candidates pursuing studies in energy science and engineering.

The Energy Science and Engineering (ESE) Ph.D. program enables graduate students to engage in interdisciplinary coursework and research with a focus on science and engineering challenges related to the production, distribution, and consumption of energy, while cultivating the skills in policymaking, entrepreneurship, and outreach. Topical areas of the ESE Ph.D. program have been chosen to resonate with Department of Energy priorities and industry needs, integrating graduate coursework from multiple disciplines, while providing deep expertise in a chosen specialty. Current areas of energy research include nuclear energy, bioenergy and biofuels, renewable energy, energy materials, energy conversion and storage, distributed energy and grid management, transportation sciences, as well as environmental and climate sciences related to energy usage. Doctoral students in the ESE Ph.D. program join research teams at both ORNL and UT, encouraging them to develop collaborative solutions while engaging in problem-oriented research.


Because the Bredesen Center is committed to establishing collaborative graduate research between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, locations have been set up at both campuses to fulfill the educational and research requirements of our students, faculty, and staff. At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus, the Bredesen Center is located on the fourth floor of Greve Hall. This location serves as the educational hub for the graduate program, complete with a modern classroom, a conference room, study rooms, and office for both students and staff. At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory campus, the Bredesen Center is located on the first floor of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences building 5100 in room 140. This multipurpose room offers graduate students a space to work, as well as to host seminars and lectures in a room with videoconferencing capabilities.


Gov. Phil BredesenThe Bredesen Center is named in honor of Governor Phil Bredesen, who served Tennessee from 2003 to 2011, in recognition of his leadership in education and economic development for the state. In addition to his commitment to the Bredesen Center, Governor Bredesenís vision for capitalizing on the great potential of the UT-ORNL partnership resulted in the UT-ORNL Governorís Chair program, the UT Biofuels Initiative, the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, and the UT-ORNL Joint Institutes for Computational Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Neutron Sciences.


Given the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of modern scientific research, creating linkages between public, private, and non-profit institutions is crucial to the mission of the Bredesen Center. In order to achieve this goal, the Bredesen Center has partnered with TN-SCORE, Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education, a research award program initialized by Tennessee EPSCoR Committee. The mission of TN-SCORE is to identify and focus investments on specific research areas to improve research competitiveness, to increase collaboration between universities and the state, to improve educational science and technology, and to increase educational opportunities of underrepresented groups across the State of Tennessee. In addition to providing research awards to enterprising graduate student researchers, TN-SCORE will also advise researchers on entrepreneurial opportunities and activities related to solar energy in Tennessee.

Learn more about TN-SCORE:


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to contact us at and we will address your concerns as quickly as possible. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for up to date news and events.

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Contact Information

Lee Riedinger
Professor of Physics

Mike Simpson
Professor of Material Sciences and Engineering
Assistant Director

Wanda Davis
Administrative Coordinator
Assistant to the Director
443 Greve Hall
821 Volunteer Blvd. University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

Jessica Garner
418 Greve Hall
821 Volunteer Blvd.
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

Fax: 865-974-9482