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11 Top Science & Technology Research Labs

  • Research labs often have formidable missions: Protect and ensure the integrity of the nation’s nuclear weapons, address energy challenges, and solve environmental problems. These goals may seem lofty to the average IT organization focused on maintaining the corporate network or building out cloud infrastructure.

    But, oftentimes, the resulting research and development efforts have a trickle-down effect. The technology changes business and life as we know it. The Internet, software-defined networking, and network device interoperability all have their roots in research labs. 

    In addition to their contributions to science and technology, these research labs and networks are worth getting to know for their career and collaboration opportunities. Scientific research labs provide various internship and educational opportunities across a wide breadth of disciplines, while collaborative opportunities provide organizations access to valuable resources.

    In this slideshow, we look at 10 different facilities and highlight their main contributions to science and technology.

    (Image: Vladimir_Timofeev/iStockphoto)

  • Los Alamos National Lab

    With a mission to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence, Los Alamos National Lab develops and applies science and technology to protect the U.S. nuclear deterrent, reduce global threats, and address other national security and energy challenges. Science and engineering efforts cover a wide variety of areas, including supercomputing, cybersecurity, clean-energy solutions, and bioscience. The lab is managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, under contract to the Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration.


    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencys (DARPAs) mission is to create breakthrough technologies for national security. DARPA conducts scientific research in a number of fields on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, including medicine, computer science, chemistry, engineering and mathematics. DARPA is credited with contributing to the development of the Internet (pictured is a 1970 map of ARPANET, a precursor to the Internet) and the Stealth Fighter, and the adoption of the M16 assault rifle by the U.S. military. DARPAs more recent efforts include: Controlling the electromagnetic spectrum for communications, sensing and imaging, and lowering the cost of space exploration. DARPA is located in Arlington, Va.

  • CERN

    CERN, or European Council for Nuclear Research, was founded in 1952 to establish a world-class physics research organization in Europe. Today, CERNs primary research focus is particle physics -- the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces acting between them. CERN is noted for being the birthplace of the World Wide Web in 1989, as well as for its work in antimatter, the Higgs boson and the large hadron collider. Located along the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, CERN is run by 21 member states (European countries). Non-European countries also are involved.

  • Berkeley Lab

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) fosters scientific research that enables transformational solutions for energy and environmental challenges, using interdisciplinary teams and by creating advanced new tools for scientific discovery. Its six lab-wide strategic initiatives under development include extreme data science, energy innovation, and service technologies for science. In addition to the lab on the UC Berkeley campus, the labs user facilities provide state-of-the-art resources for scientists across the US and around the world. For example, the scientific networking division, Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), provides high-bandwidth network access to Department of Energy research facilities and computing resources.

  • Bell Labs

    Bell Labs is an industrial research lab focused on network infrastructure. Its research disciplines include information systems, modulation and multiplexing, software engineering, data science and computational and algorithmic sciences. Collaboration is a key part of Bell Labs research model and has led to advances in fiber optics, the development of the laser, and confirmation of the Big Bang Theory. For example, lightRadio (pictured above) is the result of extensive conversations with carriers and researchers associated with innovative compression methods and antenna design. Headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., Bell Labs is now an organization within Alcatel-Lucent.

  • ANA-200G

    Internet2, the largest cooperative network for research and higher education in the US, recently unveiled the partner network ANA-200G, a transatlantic network that allows its users to transfer data between North America and Europe at speeds that were previously only possible within the continents. The network, which was built in collaboration with NORDUnet, CANARIE, and SURFnet is a redundant, 100 Gbps ring between four open exchange points. ANA-200G is designed to handle today's most advanced research by allowing scientist to take advantage of the huge amounts of data created by research equipment and sensor networks.

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Based out of Livermore, Calif., Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a multi-program national security laboratory. Its primary responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nations nuclear deterrent. In addition to stockpile stewardship, the labs science and engineering efforts help protect the United States against nuclear proliferation and terrorism, energy shortages and climate change. The lab is government owned and contractor operated. Thus, the Department of Energy determines the labs mission and provides funding, while the labs employees determine how best to carry out the research.

  • inCNTRE

    The Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) at Indiana University aims to accelerate network innovation through the development and adoption of OpenFlow and other standards-based Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies. To this end, InCNTRE provides educational programs, training and internships, conducts direct networking research, and enables collaboration between faculty, students and networking professionals. InCNTRE is supported by Indiana University in collaboration with IUs Global Research Network Operations Center.


    The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) is a neutral, third-party laboratory that tests networking and data communications products for quality assurance. According to the UNH-IOL, its facility occupies more than 32,000 square feet and houses a multi-million dollar array of test equipment and the latest devices from member companies. These companies exchange their devices and support for interoperability and conformance testing against other vendors devices at the lab. The lab also provides hands-on experience to the UNH graduate and undergraduate students who work with full-time UNH-IOL staff, and offers outreach about STEM education and careers to surrounding school systems and communities.