U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter of New York’s 25th congressional district recently prevented a $7.5 million funding cut to UR’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) for the 2016 fiscal year. The LLE is slated to receive $68 million in funding, the same amount appropriated for the  2015 fiscal year.

According to an April 16 press release from Slaughter’s office, the $7.5 million cut was proposed by the Obama Administration and could have resulted in “significant staff reductions” and limitations to LLE “programs, operations and experiments.” Slaughter officially announced her success in preventing the budget cut in a Friday, April 17 press conference at the LLE.

“Thanks to our educated workforce and top-notch universities, Rochester is the national leader in innovative research,” Slaughter said. “I’m glad that we’ve been able to overcome this proposed funding cut to ensure our community remains a leader in this field.” Slaughter has secured $200 million in funding for the LLE over the past three years.

Also speaking at the April 17 event were Robert Clark, Dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Senior Vice President for Research at the University, and Robert L. McCrory, Director and CEO of the LLE and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Physics & Astronomy.

“The Laboratory for Laser Energetics is a vital asset to the University of Rochester and to our region,” Clark said in a press release from Slaughter’s office. “This additional funding will ensure that the laboratory continues to be at the cutting edge of high-technology research, training and education.”

“Stable federal funding is essential for the [LLE] to continue its leading national role,” McCrory added. “We’re grateful for the continuing enthusiastic support of Representative Louise Slaughter and our congressional delegation in securing the necessary funding for a program that conducts world class research while providing a strong economic stimulus to our community.”

Slaughter’s advocacy for and contributions to UR extend beyond the LLE. “Congresswoman Slaughter is one of the University’s greatest champions,” Associate Vice President of the UR Office of Government and Community Relations Josh Farrelman said. “Her support is visibly represented in a number of on-campus facilities from the new Wilmot Cancer Center, to the Loretta Ford Wing of the School of Nursing, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, the Memorial Art Gallery, College Town, Brooks Crossing and the URnano integrated nanosystems center.”

The LLE notably collaborates with numerous local and national institutions.

“[LLE] has a five-year $345,094,000 Cooperative Agreement with the [Department of Energy],” Farrelman noted. “[LLE] works in partnership with three national laboratories: Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia.” The LLE also maintains close relationships with the surrounding community and the main UR campus, offering local high school students, undergraduates and graduate students the opportunity to participate in research.

The LLE is famously home to the OMEGA and OMEGA EP (Extended Performance) laser systems. The OMEGA laser is one of the world’s most powerful, capable of delivering “40,000 joules of energy onto a target that measures less than 1 millimeter in diameter in approximately one-billionth of a second,” according to the LLE’s website.

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