Mailed 2/6/97



Upton, NY -- Brookhaven National Laboratory remains the fourth largest high-tech employer on Long Island, despite its budget being cut to less than $388 million during fiscal year (FY) 1997 down about $19 million from FY96. With a staff of about 3,200, Brookhaven supports approximately 600 research programs in diverse areas of science, ranging from probing the nature of matter to developing cancer therapies.

This is the second consecutive year that BNL's funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has decreased, due to federal government downsizing. Brookhaven Lab is owned by DOE and operated by a nonprofit research management corporation, Associated Universities, Inc. Over 85 percent of the Laboratory's funding comes from DOE. The remainder of BNL's budget comes from other federal agencies, universities, public and private agencies, utilities and corporations.

While no massive staff reductions are planned, some layoffs during the course of the fiscal year may become necessary, due to the budget shortfall. Whenever possible, staff reductions are accomplished through attrition.

BNL's Budget in Brief

Funding for different projects and research areas varied considerably, with some programs actually getting increases. Among those were high energy and nuclear physics programs, which increased almost 10 percent from FY96 from about $83 million to over $91 million. Also, funding for technology transfer was increased from about $2 million in FY96 to about $3 million in FY97.

Following deep budget cuts last year, DOE funding for science education was completely eliminated in FY97. Currently, the Laboratory is paying for educational programs for students, from elementary to postgraduate levels, out of its overhead budget.

Monies earmarked for basic energy sciences, which include research in such areas as chemistry and materials science, decreased by about 6 percent, from more than $71 million in FY96 to about $67 million in FY97. Also, about 7 percent was cut fro biological and environmental research funding, decreasing that allocation from about $27 million to about $25 million.

The budget for environmental restoration/waste management was reduced substantially, from slightly more than $33 million to about $23 million. These funds are used to store and dispose of chemical and radioactive wastes and to clean up on-site groundwater contamination from past practices, as well as develop new remediation technologies. Although the decrease in this funding will slow down BNL's Superfund cleanup efforts, it will not result in any threat to human health or the environment.

BNL's FY97 budget also contains over $22 million for capital equipment funding and about $89 million for construction, which includes $65 million to continue building a world-class particle accelerator, called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

BNL -- Not a Defense Lab

Unlike several DOE laboratories involved in the design or production of nuclear weapons, Brookhaven is not a defense laboratory. In fact, less than 5 percent of its total budget is allocated for defense-related activities. The current fiscal year brought a decrease in Brookhaven's defense-related work, which includes research on safeguarding nuclear materials, arms control and weapons disposal, from about $23 million to slightly less than $17 million.

Forefront Research

Brookhaven scientists submit proposals for their research funding each year to DOE, which distributes its funds to nine multiprogram laboratories and 21 specialized laboratories. Brookhaven scientists compete with researchers from other laboratories for federal funds, just as they compete for funds from other public and private agencies.

One of Brookhaven's major missions is to design, build and operate leading-edge research facilities for use by the scientific community at large. Brookhaven's user facilities attract some 4,000 visitors each year from other laboratories, business and academia.

Most of the experiments conducted at Brookhaven are basic research, which is the foundation for advances in science and technology. It is this scientific progress, facilitated by national laboratories such as Brookhaven, that keeps the U.S. competitive in the world marketplace.