Durbin: Obama Budget Maintains Funding For Discovery & Innovation At Illinois National Labs

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said the budget that President Obama delivered to Congress preserves essential federal funding for scientific research and development programs that support work at both Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. The President’s budget request includes $5.3 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the primary funding source for both Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. Together, Argonne and Fermilab employ roughly 4,600 Illinoisans. As co-chair of the Senate National Laboratory Caucus, Durbin is committed to ensuring adequate support for the cutting-edge research being conducted at both labs. 

The President’s budget also includes $273 million for the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Initiative which supports work throughout the DOE national laboratory system. Durbin was a lead sponsor of the ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act of 2013, which would speed the development of computers that are faster than 50 million laptops combined. The new technology would be useful in computation-intensive research areas such as physics, earth science, national security, biology, engineering, climate modeling, aerospace and energy.


“Support for basic scientific research is crucial to our global leadership and the future of our national economy,” Durbin said. “With Illinois’ Fermi and Argonne leading the way, these investments will protect America’s position at the forefront of discovery and technological innovation.”

The President’s budget request includes funding for the following energy research and development accounts that fund projects at Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab:


Argonne National Laboratory


  • Basic Energy Science: $1.8 billion is provided for the Office of Science’s Basic Energy Science account which is Argonne National Laboratory’s largest single-source funding source, and accounts for approximately 40 percent of the lab’s funding. This is an increase of $116 million over fiscal year 2015, and helps fund:


  • Upgrades and operations of the Advanced Photon Source, a sophisticated x-ray beam that companies, universities, and other research institutions use to conduct their own research.
  • The Energy Innovation Hub for Batteries and Energy Storage. In November 2012, Argonne National Laboratory was selected to receive an award of up to $120 million over five years to create the Hub, also known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), which is a partnership including University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and private firms and townships in Illinois. The project has established Illinois as a leader in a multi-billion dollar, developing industry that is working to transform the transportation and electricity sectors.


  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research: $621 million in funding for the Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research account, which supports Argonne’s National Laboratory’s supercomputer initiatives and leadership computing facilities. This is an increase of $80 million from its fiscal year 2014.


Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's largest research centers. It is also the nation's first national laboratory which houses basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology. Argonne employs roughly 3,400 people, including scientists and engineers.




  • High Energy Physics: $788 million in funding for the Office of Science’s High Energy Physics account which is the primary source of funding for Fermilab, and accounts for approximately 90 percent of the lab’s funding.  This $22 million increase in funding over fiscal year 2015 would be used, in part, to implement the recommendations of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, including funding critical upgrades and experiments at Fermilab:   


  • Construction of the Muon to Electron and Muon g-2 Experiments, which could result in the development of a revolutionary technology in the field.


  • The Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment, a primary focus at Fermilab. Research in neutrinos represents the next frontier of particle physics.


Fermilab is the nation’s premier high-energy physics laboratory that employs over 1,200 people including physicists, engineers and computer professionals. The laboratory leads U.S. research into the fundamental nature of matter and energy. Fermilab is a world-leading laboratory in the study of neutrinos and very rare processes using existing and upgraded facilities.