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Labs & Scientific Facilities

FYI covers major policy developments related to universities, national laboratories, and other Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, especially those relevant to the physical sciences.


9 Sep 2016

The Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing this week on aging facilities and deferred maintenance within the National Nuclear Security Administration.

1 Sep 2016

This week, the National Science Foundation issued a progress update on facility management reforms that were spurred by deficiencies revealed through turmoil at the National Ecological Observatory Network.

19 Jul 2016

Last week the House passed two bills which would establish new basic energy research initiatives at the Department of Energy, as well as a bill which would update policies for certain NIST programs and direct a comprehensive National Academies review of NIST laboratories.

13 Jul 2016

Among its most significant science-related provisions, the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate would assign management of Department of Defense R&D to a reconstituted Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. The bill also contains multiple measures to improve DOD’s ability to hire top technical talent, and the authoring committee expresses interest in “comprehensive defense lab governance reform.”

20 Jun 2016

After missing a goal for achieving a high-energy-yield fusion reaction by 2012, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is taking a step back to determine whether fusion ignition by laser is possible by 2020.

17 Jun 2016

Over the past two months, a House Science Committee bill designed to tighten the NSF’s management and financial oversight of its large research facilities has moved quickly from introduction to full House passage.

10 Jun 2016

The Department of Energy recommends that the U.S. remain a member of the international ITER fusion project through fiscal year 2018 and then reassess its participation. The department notes that without budget increases for the Office of Science, the required U.S. contributions to ITER could delay other facility construction projects, such as the pending upgrades to x-ray and neutron user facilities which an advisory committee just finished assessing.

20 May 2016

Directors from the Department of Energy’s national labs descended on Capitol Hill last month for a fourth lab day, this time with a focus on science.

29 Apr 2016

Following a year of investigations into alleged financial mismanagement of one of the National Science Foundation’s large-scale research facilities, the House Science Committee cleared legislation aimed at improving facility management, accountability, and transparency at the foundation.

20 Apr 2016

The Senate is moving rapidly to pass a Department of Energy appropriations bill which would provide a $50 million increase to the Office of Science and zero out funding for the ITER fusion project.