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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 Dec 2018

As part of its “Return on Investment” initiative, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a draft blueprint for revamping policies that govern the commercialization of technologies produced through federally funded R&D projects.

18 Dec 2018

The Department of Energy has launched a two-year effort to establish a consensus strategy for its fusion research program, using recent long-range planning exercises in high energy physics and nuclear science as a model.

26 Oct 2018

With recent funding increases, the Department of Energy is advancing a suite of upgrades to its light and neutron source scientific user facilities, helping them remain competitive with European facilities. Meanwhile, there are new discussions about building a new reactor-based neutron source, even as Congress pushes ahead with a different reactor for nuclear energy R&D.

24 Oct 2018

The National Science Foundation announced on Oct. 15 that it plans to issue new agency-wide funding opportunities for research infrastructure projects in the range of $6 million to $70 million. The next day, the National Science Board released a report that documents how such mid-scale projects are “underrepresented” in NSF’s portfolio and endorses an agency-wide approach to funding them.

19 Oct 2018

This week, top officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology sketched out the agency’s three-pronged strategy for advancing quantum information science. Marquee elements include forming a Quantum Economic Development Consortium and commercializing quantum sensors developed through the “NIST on a Chip” program.

21 Sep 2018

Within a 4 percent overall budget increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration, funding for most weapons and nonproliferation R&D programs will remain steady in fiscal year 2019. Congress rejected steep proposed cuts to inertial confinement fusion programs and greenlit development of a controversial new low-yield nuclear warhead.

18 Sep 2018

Congress sent two bills to the president last week that provide policy direction to the Department of Energy Office of Science and Office of Nuclear Energy, respectively. The House also passed legislation to establish a National Quantum Initiative, which now awaits action in the Senate.

29 Aug 2018

To protect budgets for research grants from being squeezed by rising facilities operations costs, the National Science Foundation plans to propose shoring up support for research disciplines such as astronomy and ocean sciences, where the problem is particularly pressing.

20 Jul 2018

The new management team for Los Alamos National Laboratory represents a mix of continuity and change for the storied national security lab, which has been plagued by a series of safety mishaps in recent years.

7 Jun 2018

The fiscal year 2019 spending bills for the National Nuclear Security Administration advanced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reject the Trump administration’s deep proposed cuts to fusion research, accept its request to develop a new low-yield nuclear weapon, and split on whether to continue construction of a plutonium conversion facility that it wants to terminate.