Today at Berkeley Lab

Director’s Message on Passage of 2018 Omnibus Funding Bill

Dear colleagues,

As you probably read, the Congress has passed an omnibus funding bill for fiscal year 2018, and the President has signed that bill into law. This is good news. We now have the budget stability needed to plan and carry out our research and to efficiently allocate resources for important operational and administrative activities. Every research program in the Office of Science is set to receive more funding this year than in FY 17, as are the Applied Energy programs.

All of the major construction projects at the Laboratory received an appropriation consistent with their approved project plan. The High Energy Physics projects DESI and LZ are funded at the level needed to keep them on schedule, as is GRETA for Nuclear Physics. The Advanced Light Source Upgrade is allocated $30 M of funding, including $16 M in the construction line and $14 M for other project costs. This is sufficient to get a fast start on this project, and the project team is preparing for a CD-1 review in July, at which the Office of Science reviews the Conceptual Design Report and determines the cost range for the project.

I am sure that many of you have noticed the rapid progress in the construction of the Integrative Genomics Building. That project is in its peak funding year this year, and it is fully funded through the Science Laboratories Infrastructure (SLI) program at $38.3 M. We separately have received very exciting news about the Biological and Environmental Program Integration Center (BioEPIC) building, which we have been planning as the second building on that site. The Office of Science conducted a review of the Mission Need for BioEPIC on March 8. The review team recommended that the project should be given CD-0 approval, and this recommendation was accepted by the Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board. We are formally approved to develop the Conceptual Design for BioEPIC! Look for more about BioEPIC in the near future.

Our two user facilities in the Computational Sciences Area, NERSC and ESnet, are both going to be funded at a level needed for them to advance their upgrade projects, NERSC-9 and ESnet-6, to the CD-2 stage, at which the cost and schedule baseline are determined. We also learned that our two energy innovation hubs, JCAP and JCESR, will continue to get steady support from the Basic Energy Sciences program.

Finally, $41 M is being appropriated for environmental cleanup of our laboratory. This is enough to make great progress in cleaning up both the Old Town site and the parts of the Bayview site needed to prepare for the start of BioEPIC construction. This represents a major acceleration of the effort to prepare these sites for the major new facilities we are planning for the future of the Laboratory.

So, we should all get back to our research. We have discoveries to make and national challenges to tackle.

Best regards,
Mike