The U.S. Department of Energy Thursday said it would solicit bids to manage Brookhaven National Laboratory, which since 1998 has been run by a partnership including the State University of New York's research arm.

The current contract to manage the facility in Upton expires in 2015. Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership that also includes Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, said it hopes to continue running the facility.

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"Brookhaven Science Associates will enthusiastically and aggressively compete for the Brookhaven Lab contract," said Ronald D. Townsend, the organization's chairman,

It is unclear if any other organizations will bid for the contract. Department of Energy policy requires that management contracts for national laboratories be awarded through public bid.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is one of the nation's premier science facilities. It hosts America's only heavy ion collider, has a budget of more than $650 million and employs 3,000 people.