UR Laser Lab signs 5-year agreement with the federal government

Oct 14, 2019
Originally published on October 14, 2019 7:23 am

The laser lab (LLE) at the University of Rochester has received a financial boost that its director says will help ensure its future.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is also the Senate Minority Leader, has announced that a division of the U.S. Department of Energy has finalized a new five year, $410 million work agreement with the lab, the highest amount of funding ever approved for a five-year period in the lab’s history.

Michael Campbell is Director of the laser lab, and says the funding will help them continue to attract top talent.

“Recognizing the excellence of the research that’s been done, the quality of both the staff and the students and importance to the government. So it gives us a sense of confidence that we will have stable support over the next number of years, and of course, you can imagine when you’re trying to run a research program, and hire the best people, stability is a key thing,” Campbell told WXXI News.

In early 2018, there was concern the federal government would slowly reduce the amount of funding to the laser lab, and Schumer says this new agreement will help the facility continue to do cutting-edge research for national security applications.

Even with the new agreement, the local laser lab will still need to go through the federal appropriation process every year.

Campbell also notes that the U of R's laser lab has a big impact on the Rochester economy.

“The amount of money we put into the local economy because of just the salaries along is $50 or $50 million a year. And that doesn’t count all the multipliers that economists always do to show what the impact is on the local employment. We work with a lot of  the local companies, obviously the university is a major part of that, so the impact regionally is very large,” Campbell said.