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FRIB might get $55 million from federal government

April 11, 2013

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama submitted his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal allocating increased funds for higher education. The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.

In his proposal, $55 million was allotted for MSU’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, in addition to more than $1.2 billion for various national higher education awards and contests and an increase in Pell Grant funding.

Konrad Gelbke, lab director of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, called the budget “great” for FRIB.

“We need to start excavating, and I think these funds are sufficient to carry the (project) forward on the time frame,” he said.

Authorization to establish the project baseline and proceed on FRIB’s construction will have to be approved by the U.S. Department of Energy, which could be this summer, FRIB Project Manager Thomas Glasmacher said. FRIB is set to be reviewed in June. If civil construction commences this summer, FRIB could be finished in 2019, he said.

Last year, FRIB was allocated $22 million from the federal government. Gelbke said it was critical for FRIB to receive at least double that this year to keep on track.

Vice President for Governmental Affairs Mark Burnham said MSU is pleased with the budget requests, and MSU feels as if FRIB is remaining a national priority.

Also in the proposal, Obama has allotted $1 billion for a Race to the Top-College Affordability and Completion contest and $260 million for a First in the World fund — both of which would promote change and innovation in higher education. If Obama’s budget is approved by Congress, Pell Grants would be available for more than 9 million students.

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