UR Laser Lab fights potential federal funding cutback

Feb 20, 2018
Originally published on February 19, 2018 4:07 pm

The leader of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester will be in Washington on Tuesday meeting with Congressional leaders and others in an effort to make sure that lab is still funded in the next fiscal year.

In a statement on the lab’s website, Director Michael Campbell says that a paragraph buried in the federal budget details on the Department of Energy website states that the agency plans to “ramp down” federal support for the U of R lab over a three-year period.

In his statement, Campbell says that while the president’s federal budget request “contains significant challenges” for the lab, the university has had those challenges before and has successfully dealt with them.

Campbell says that only Congress can authorize and appropriate spending and says that everyone he had contacted has agreed to help reverse the decision regarding federal funding for the laser lab and he is confident it will be renewed for another five years.

The publication Physics Today, which first reported the possible cut in federal aid, calls UR's Laser Lab a "premier facility" that has led one of the three principal approaches to initiating nuclear fusion through the use of powerful lasers.