February 6, 2014
Government funding for research has varied substantially over the years. In some fields, these fluctuations have been dramatic, in others, less so. Nevertheless, in most laboratories, there has been a necessity, given the funding constraints and/or changes, of emphasis or direction for restructuring. This has often involved both voluntary and involuntary separation programs.
In mid-January, Jefferson Lab released 46 employees. These people came from across the lab. Some had served Jefferson Lab for many years, while others for a shorter time. In all cases, their significant contributions to the achievements of this lab are very much appreciated.
This action, while necessary, was regrettable from many points of view. First and foremost from that of the employees directly affected, but also from the point of view of other employees, as well as the broader community, including our users. In fact, for many outside the immediate laboratory milieu who had not been following closely, this came as a real shock.
We had discussions with the Users Group Board of Directors at its meeting on Jan. 23, and the minutes have been posted by them. They include a partial sketch of some of the changes that most directly affect the user community. The actions have been taken to position the lab to embrace the next few years in robust fashion.
We have visions of a future construction period, several years from now, when we might be building an Electron Ion Collider. We also have the prospect of sharing our expertise in collaboration with several other institutions to build the new Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS-II) at SLAC. But primarily, we are looking forward to a phase in which the emphasis at Jefferson Lab will be on operation of the new 12 GeV accelerator and experimental facilities.
The ambitions for this new era at Jefferson Lab are the ambitions of the lab and its staff, but, importantly, also of our user community. A substantial fraction of the experimental equipment has been constructed at universities and institutions around the country and the world. The funding for this work has come from several agencies, primarily the Department of Energy, but also the National Science Foundation, the French National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3) and the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (Irfu), the Italian Istituto Nationale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The realization of these goals depends on the active participation of our staff and of our user community.
We seek the continued support of the Jefferson Lab community as we move forward together.