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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.


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.

24 Mar 2016

At a hearing to review the Department of Energy budget request, multiple members criticized the administration’s proposed cuts to Fusion Energy Sciences, advocated for rethinking the department’s portfolio of fusion research, and asked questions about the status of ITER, the National Ignition Facility, the Advanced Photon Source, and the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility.

8 Mar 2016

Members of a House appropriations subcommittee did not appear to oppose any major thrusts of the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request for the Office of Science. Rather, members of both parties largely focused on longer-term efforts, expressing keen interest in the Department of Energy’s plans for upgrading user facilities, developing exascale computing capabilities, and improving technology transfer.

24 Feb 2016

The Department of Energy and two of its advisory bodies largely concur with the findings of the congressionally-chartered Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories. The Commission’s report is the latest in a long series of studies which have discovered a dysfunctional relationship between the Department and the national labs.

5 Feb 2016

During what a participant described as “one of the more facilities centric-days on the science board in recent memory,” board members spent a lion’s share of the public sessions discussing ways to improve their understanding and oversight of the National Science Foundation’s portfolio of large-scale research facilities.