Durbin: Obama Budget Preserves Funding for Innovation & Research at Argonne National Lab & Fermilab

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said the budget that President Obama delivered to Congress today 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 $5.1 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.


The President’s budget also includes $141 million for the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Initiative – a $30 million increase over fiscal year 2014 – which supports work at Argonne National Laboratory. Durbin is 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.


“President Obama’s budget invests in the scientific discoveries that are revolutionizing our world, helping drive our economy, and giving us the competitive edge that America needs to succeed in the 21st century,” Durbin said. “With Fermi and Argonne leading the way, these investments protect America’s position at the forefront of scientific 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 $95 million over fiscal year 2014, 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 will establish Illinois as a leader in a multi-billion dollar, developing industry that has potential to stimulate substantial employment and economic growth.


  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research: $541 million in funding for the Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research account, which supports Argonne’s National Laboratory’s supercomputer initiatives. This is an increase of $63 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: $744 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;


  • Construction of the Muon to Electron Experiment, 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.