Zacharia leaving top ORNL job for Qatar Foundation

Thomas Zacharia

Thomas Zacharia

Thomas Zacharia, a top administrator at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is leaving to take a leadership position at a science and education foundation based in Doha, Qatar.

Zacharia, ORNL deputy for science and technology, will become executive vice president of research and development for the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

He starts Sept. 1.

He has worked for the lab for 26 years.

Zacharia was selected after an international search, according to an announcement posted on the Qatar Foundation’s website.

He said he was “deeply honored” to be chosen.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a significant contribution at a nation scale by helping create a world-class research enterprise that is focused and relevant to the needs of the country,” Zacharia said.

Faisal Al-Suwaidi, Qatar Foundation president of research and development, said Zacharia will help the foundation make the most of a historic investment in “transformational” scientific research.

“As a world-class scientist who has already made a mark in the research community, Dr. Zacharia brings tremendous experience in managing and operating a major national research enterprise, developing multidisciplinary research and development programs at the national and international scale, and the broad international research network,” Al-Suwaidi said.

The announcement said Zacharia has received several scientific and technical awards, and served on a number of national and international scientific advisory committees. He is also a fellow of the American Welding Society.

In an announcement to ORNL managers on Wednesday, lab director Thom Mason praised Zacharia’s contributions.

“Our scientific computing capabilities, which are now well integrated to support all of our mission areas, are clearly a manifestation of his contributions,” Mason said. “In his role as deputy for science and technology, he has worked to better integrate our strengths in neutrons, computing, nuclear, and materials to advance our missions in scientific discovery, clean energy, and global security.”

Jim Roberto will serve as interim deputy for science and technology while ORNL looks for a replacement.

Mason said Zacharia, who has a doctorate in engineering in computational materials science, has helped ORNL become one of the premier national DOE labs.

Before he became deputy laboratory director and chief research officer at ORNL, Zacharia served as associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences, the Qatar Foundation announcement said.

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