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From the Director: A Good Week

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Harvey Lynch.)

Throughout last week and into this week, the program offices within the Department of Energy have been giving us our budget allocations for this fiscal year. We in SLAC management don't have all the details yet but I can relieve a lot of the anxiety that I know you all have been feeling since we first started talking about the budget in February.

We will not have to have lab-wide layoffs or furloughs at SLAC this year. This is really very good news and I thank all of the people who have worked so hard to restore the cuts to the science budgets this spring! I can assure you that there were no guarantees of a happy ending in this year's budget process and I was personally quite concerned at times where this would all end up. I do have to let you know that we do not have as much funding for FY11 as we anticipated at the start of the fiscal year, and there are cuts to some programs. In order to support our evolving mission, we also need to shift some internal priorities and that will require us to shift our emphases in some areas of mission support.

But even in the flat budget for Office of Science overall, the Linac Coherent Light Source got a significant budget increase to support operations and start to get us ready for LCLS II. The budget will continue to be tight this year and I think this will likely continue through next year, but it could have been much worse.

I appreciate that all of you have stayed focused on your work and continue to perform so spectacularly despite the uncertainties of the budget over the past month. A group that has been very focused lately is the LCLS II team and yesterday they closed out a rather spectacular CD-1 review. This positions us for significant progress and project growth next year. In addition, now that the budget is resolved, we are moving forward with RSB construction and so we should see "boots on the ground and shovels in the dirt" this summer as construction of the new building takes off.

It was a good week and it looks like it will be a busy summer and fall!

—Persis Drell
SLAC Today, April 29, 2011