URA Council of Presidents

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone; John Kogut, DOE program manager; Jim Siegrist, head of the Office of High Energy Physics; and Fermilab Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim look over a plan for Fermilab. Photo: Reidar Hahn

The Universities Research Association’s Council of Presidents took place on Jan. 25 in Washington DC. This yearly business meeting brought together the presidents of URA institutions or their representatives. At this meeting, I presented a report on the status of Fermilab. It was an opportunity for our laboratory to present our programs and plans and generate enthusiasm and support from senior university leaders.

The Council meeting also featured presentations by and discussions with policy makers. This year we had a stellar cast: John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation; Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; and the Honorable Randy Hultgren, Congressman for the 14th Congressional district, in which Fermilab resides.

The Presidential Administration and Congress both understand the vital importance of maintaining a strong science and technology enterprise in the United States. Science investments by the government have been maintained despite the difficult budgetary climate in our country. There were, of course, different perspectives represented in the presentations. The speakers representing the Administration all emphasized the impact of science on innovation and economic prosperity. Much of the emphasis was on science that can lead to improved energy technologies. The address by Rep. Hultgren placed a strong emphasis on fundamental science.

Later last week we hosted a visit by Jim Siegrist, head of the Office of High Energy Physics in DOE, and John Kogut, the DOE program manager with oversight of Fermilab facilities. The meetings were quite comprehensive, covering all aspects of the laboratory with an emphasis on management and facilities issues. They took a tour of our facilities that covered not only some of our recent projects but also much of the ageing infrastructure that we will revitalize in the next decade. We are very appreciative of the time our visitors spent understanding our laboratory, which is an important aspect of keeping the high-energy physics program successful within the Office of Science and beyond.