The House of Representatives today cleared for Presidential signature a bill with fiscal year 2008 funding for 14 cabinet level agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE) and the scientific research and development at its Argonne National Laboratory in Darien, IL.
"Science-driven technology has accounted for more than 50 percent of the growth of the U.S. economy during the last half-century," said Biggert, co-chair of the House Research and Development (R&D) Caucus and member of the House Science and Technology Committee. "This federal support will ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in such key scientific fields as biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials science, and supercomputing."
At the request of U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th), the bill contained funding for a number of Argonne-specific projects and facilities, including:
- $28 million for Argonne to complete the purchase and installation of an IBM Blue Gene P supercomputer for the lab's Leadership Computing Facility. Supercomputers play a key role in several areas of scientific research, including modeling the earth's climate, developing fusion energy and pharmaceuticals, and understanding cellular structures.
- Funding for research and development related to the engineering and design of a Rare Isotope Beams (RIB) Facility, a one-of-a-kind, world-class user facility that will create the world's rarest isotopes, enabling advancements in nuclear physics, astrophysics, biology, medicine, food safety, environmental protection and restoration.
- At least $22.8 million for Argonne to support the DOE's international nuclear nonproliferation efforts to reduce the use, and threat of diversion, of weapons-usable nuclear materials.
- Funding for the operation and maintenance of the lab's Advanced Photon Source (APS), the brightest third generation x-ray source in the United States, and the APS Center for Nanoscale Materials, where scientists and engineers will develop the tools and techniques to manipulate matter at the nanoscale and create new and unique materials.
- Funding for advanced vehicle technology R&D at Argonne's Transportation R&D Center, including biofuels research and activities related to Argonne's role as the DOE lead laboratory for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle testing, simulation, and evaluation. Among other things, work at Argonne will focus on the development of longer-lasting and more durable batteries; tough, lightweight materials; fuel cells and hydrogen infrastructure; and advanced vehicle and emissions systems that will improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and lessen the nation's reliance on Middle Eastern oil.
Biggert continues to advocate for increased funding for the DOE Office of Science, which accounts for approximately half of the total federal investment in research and development (R&D) in Illinois. Only California receives more money from the DOE Office of Science than the State of Illinois. In addition, Biggert continues to advocate for increased funding for nuclear research facilities at Argonne, R&D and testing of advanced accelerator technologies, and R&D related to future facilities and activities at Fermilab in Batavia.