Hard times ahead: FY 2008 budget is official January 8, 2008Posted by dorigo in news, physics, politics, science.
I just received news that the high-energy physics budget of the US Department of Energy for 2008 has officially been reduced by $93.9M from the President’s request in the FY2008 Omnibus Appropriations act, now signed into law. This is a 12% reduction in the budget. Since a quarter of the fiscal year has passed already since the Omnibus act, a significant part of the funds have been spent already, making things worse.
The implications are, as was expected, no funding for the NOvA neutrino appearance detector, no funding for ILC R&D. All other HEP research is expected a reduction of about 1% in funding. However, quoting Dennis Kovar, associate director for the office of science, the picture is even bleaker:
“The sudden and unanticipated work stoppage on NOvA and ILC unavoidably results in collateral damage to the rest of the HEP program. Significant cost savings would require laying off everyone working on those projects immediately. That is not achievable nor desirable. Thus the HEP office had to look for other large non-salary costs that could be reduced to meet the overall budget bottom-line. In the end this came down to a choice between running the Fermilab complex (Tevatron Collider and NuMI) or the SLAC B-Factory in FY2008 (or running both at ~1/2 or less of their scheduled operating weeks). Based on the guidance we have received from the scientific community (e.g.; HEPAP, P5, NAS, etc.), the operation of the Tevatron in FY 2008 has higher scientific priority. Thus the Tevatron and NuMI will operate on their planned schedule, and B-Factory operations will be terminated prematurely. “
“Along with these serious reductions to lab operations and planned projects, there will be very significant reductions in force at SLAC and Fermilab due to the overall budget constraints. There is also expected to be some workforce reductions at other labs and at universities. This loss of skilled and highly trained personnel will be difficult for our community and will have impacts beyond the delays in NOvA and ILC R&D since many laboratory staff work on multiple efforts. However, it will be necessary in order to move forward and prepare ourselves for the future of US high-energy physics.”
Hard times ahead… My sympathy goes to those of my colleagues who have been working hard on their projects until they were grounded.
For a speech by Persis Drell at SLAC, see http://today.slac.stanford.edu .
Post-scriptum: the above text is part of a message that was made available to members of the CDF collaboration by our spokespersons. I usually do not distribute information I receive through that channel, but I made an exception today in the interest of common awareness on the critical issue of HEP funding for the advancement of science.