Project Management Institute

U.S. Department of Energy’s National Synchrotron Light Source II Named PMI Project of the Year


Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession, announced today that the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) project has been awarded the profession’s highest accolade — the 2016 PMI Project of the Year Award.

The ten-year, US$912 million project at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York has resulted in creation of the world's most powerful photon microscope. The microscope creates X-rays that allow scientists to see how materials in systems — such as batteries or fuel cells — behave at the nano-level while operating in real-world conditions.

PMI’s Project of the Year Award recognizes the large (budgets of US$100 million or more) and complex project that best delivers superior performance of project management practices, superior organizational results, and positive impacts on society. This year’s award was presented in San Diego, California as part of PMI’s annual Professional Awards Gala the PMI® Global Congress 2016 — North America.

The ambitious design for NSLS-II centered around a light source that would be 10,000 times brighter and five times larger than the lab’s original facility. When the project began in 2005, the specifications were state-of-the-art, and the project team soon discovered that vendors had difficulty meeting the lab’s demanding requirements. The microscope’s electron beam, for example, must vibrate no more than 25 nanometers in any direction -- 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

The team worked with the advisory committees to identify which requirements could be relaxed without compromising performance and held regular workshops with global scientific stakeholders throughout the project cycle to ensure the facility would achieve best-in-class status. By the time the project was completed in March 2015, it was six months ahead of schedule and under budget. An additional $US68 million in scope enhancements was made possible through careful planning and cost management across the ten-year span.

“The NSLS-II project gives researchers worldwide an incubator for the development of knowledge in science and technology that addresses pressing problems facing humanity today, and will continue to drive innovation,” said Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of PMI. “By honoring this project as the 2016 Project of the Year recipient, we honor sound project management practices at their finest, and we provide an example of project and program success that other project managers can use in their own organizations and industries. Congratulations to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the Brookhaven National Laboratory on this achievement.”

The nature of the project made it critical to mitigate the risks that come with innovation, noted Dr. Steven Dierker, PhD, former project director for the NSLS-II project and now a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Collaboration with industry experts produced a comprehensive risk registry that could be managed proactively throughout the process.

The Department of Energy expects the NSLS-II to drive innovation for the next 30 years, a result of the project’s team close collaboration with facility end users and its commitment to long-range planning throughout the project cycle.

About Project Management Institute (PMI)

Project Management Institute (PMI) is the world's leading association for those who consider project, program or portfolio management their profession. Through global advocacy, collaboration, education and research, we work to prepare more than three million professionals around the world for The Project Economy: the coming economy in which work, and individuals, are organized around projects, products, programs and value streams. Now 50 years in the making, we work in nearly every country around the world to advance careers, improve organizational success and further mature the project management profession through globally-recognized standards, certifications, communities, resources, tools, academic research, publications, professional development courses and networking opportunities. As part of the PMI family, creates online global communities that deliver more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives. Visit us at,, and on Twitter @PMInstitute

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Mary Ortega
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