Joan Bienvenue, UT- Oak Ridge Innovation Institute Executive Director and Vice Provost

The Friends of ORNL welcomes Joan Bienvenue, executive director, and vice provost of the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute.

UT-ORII is aligning the best-of-the-best resources and expertise from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UT to prepare the next generation of talent in clean manufacturing, advanced materials, energy storage, transportation, and other important areas to our state and to our nation. Along with becoming the nation’s standard for collaborative research and interdisciplinary education, UT-ORII will become a national model for workforce development. As new industries emerge and evolve, future STEM workers must be trained not only in their specialties, but also in a context that includes interdisciplinary problem solving, collaboration and real-world application. 

UT-ORII is committed to providing world-class STEM opportunities for students at each step of their educational pathway — from the nation’s only joint university-national laboratory doctoral programs and SMaRT undergraduate internships to our exciting, new, hands-on K-12 STEM programs.

To learn more about UT-ORII, we invite you to check out our website at

Biographical Sketch:

Joan Bienvenue

Dr. Joan Bienvenue is executive director and vice provost of the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute. Bienvenue joined UT-ORII as its first executive director with the launch of the institute in 2021.

Bienvenue leads UT-ORII’s efforts to leverage UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s resources to establish a hub for world-class discovery and innovation, interdisciplinary graduate education and talent development.

Before joining UT-ORII, Bienvenue spent nearly eight years at the Applied Research Institute at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. As that agency’s first executive director, she worked to grow research, education, and training, with an emphasis on global and national security. Prior to that, she was program manager and chief scientist for the development of Lockheed Martin's rapid DNA analysis platform. Bienvenue also worked as the supervisor of validation and quality control for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Md.; and was an ORISE Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the FBI.

Bienvenue holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia, a master’s in forensic science from the University of New Haven, an MBA from the University of Mary Washington and a bachelor’s in chemistry from Rivier University.

Bienvenue is a American Academy of Forensic Sciences fellow. She was appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine board on Army Research and Development in 2019, where she has co-chaired several NASEM efforts. She is a member of the advisory boards for the Tickle College of Engineering at UT Knoxville and the UT One Health Initiative. She also serves on the East Tennessee Economic Council’s board of directors.

Bienvenue is an avid runner and has completed more than 40 marathons.

Joan Bienvenue