MSU wins Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

12-11-2008

Today the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science named MSU as the site for the $550 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). It is an important day for science, for Michigan, and for Michigan State University. The new facility will bring much-needed jobs and revenue to the state over the coming years.

FRIB will build on the successes of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, which has been the key driver for MSU’s leadership in nuclear science education and research. The lab has been recognized as the world leader in rare isotope science and has produced research leading to important breakthroughs in medicine, materials research, national security, and physics.

NSCL Director and university distinguished professor Konrad Gelbke will serve as the FRIB director. Other leadership for the facility will include NSCL associate director for operations Thomas Glasmacher, who will be designated FRIB project manager; NSCL associate director for research Brad Sherrill, who will be FRIB chief scientist; NSCL associate director for new initiatives Richard York, who will be designated FRIB accelerator systems division director and technical director; and professor of physics and astronomy Georg Bollen, who will be designated FRIB experimental systems division director.

Final design for the new facility will begin immediately, with construction beginning in 2013 and expected operations commencing within a decade. MSU will work with several prominent companies to build and implement the new facility, including the Washington division of San Francisco-based URS Corp. Three longtime URS Washington Division employees will also serve as key project personnel for FRIB: deputy project manager Eric Gerber; environmental safety and health manager Robert Lowrie; and conventional facilities division director and chief engineer Gary Coles.

The economic impact of this project on the state is significant and could not come at a better time. According to analysis conducted by the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, FRIB’s location on the MSU campus will mean hundreds of construction jobs and an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion over the next two decades. It also means MSU will continue to attract millions of dollars in research grants, as well as scientists and researchers who will contribute to the local economy.

The selection of MSU would not have happened without the continued support of many people. Michigan’s congressional delegation was particularly supportive, as were members of the Leadership Advisory Committee and many others who joined Team MSU to make this work. The support of MSU students was also vital to our efforts to win this project. I am grateful to—and proud of— everyone who helped to bring this important project to MSU, especially the team at the NSCL who prepared and submitted the winning proposal to DOE.

Our work, however, is not yet done. Winning the competition to locate FRIB at Michigan State University was just the first step in what will be a decade-long journey to make this project a reality. Michigan’s congressional delegation will play a key role in supporting MSU and DOE in securing appropriations necessary to build the facility and ensure that America continues to be the leader in rare isotope research.

We are proud to have been selected, and we look forward to partnering with the Department of Energy Office of Science to advance this important science. MSU is deeply committed to the success of this facility, which has been recognized by the science community as a critical priority for the nation’s physical sciences research infrastructure.

MSU is also deeply committed to the people of Michigan and to doing all we can to help move Michigan forward. FRIB is but one example of the work we are doing every day to help transform Michigan’s economy, create jobs for its workers, and foster prosperity for its citizens.

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