SPAFOA 2012 Capitol Hill Briefing
July 31, 2012
Meyer Tool & Mfg., Inc. participated in the Superconducting Particle Accelerator Forum of America’s (SPAFOA) annual Capitol Hill briefing on June 20, 2012. The briefing was held in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. It is SPAFOA’s mission to provide a partnership between its industry members and government funded superconducting radio frequency (SCRF) programs during their design, component prototyping, manufacturing, siting and installation. Meyer Tool is proud to support the SPAFOA mission and welcomes the opportunity to participate in these briefings.
The theme of this year’s briefing was “technology transfer, basic research to industry and industry to industrialization” The briefing was well attended with 30 people representing member companies, National Laboratories, the Department of Energy, and congressional offices. Representatives of eleven SPAFOA member companies were in attendance.
Ken Olsen, President of SPAFOA, outlined SPAFOA’s mission and history since its founding in 2005. He emphasized the important role of government support for basic Science programs utilizing SCRF technology and the potential for commercial applications of SCRF technology as outlined in the report “Accelerators for America’s Future”. We at Meyer Tool urge you to read this report if you are unfamiliar with it. SPAFOA is now 26 member companies with locations in 13 states.
A New Stewardship Program for Accelerator R&D in DOE’s Office of Science
The keynote speaker at the briefing was Dr. Patricia M. Dehmer, Deputy Director for Science Programs, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy. Her presentation discussed the technical theme of the day, technology transfer from the national laboratories to industry. The mission of the Office of Science’s Accelerator R&D Stewardship Program is to support fundamental accelerator science and technology development that supports the goals of the broad community of accelerator users and providers. This is accomplished by development of new technologies, providing access to scientific and industrial users, and working with the overall provider and user community for mutual benefit. The user community includes government scientists doing basic research and industrial users doing applied research.
Currently the Office of Science supports 32 national user facilities, more than half are accelerator based. These facilities serve the needs of both basic and applied research and have resulted in 100 Nobel Prizes over the last 60 years including 20 in the past 10.
The Office of Science intends to immediately augment existing programs to provide industrial users new opportunities at DOE facilities and intends to identify technologies and areas that will continue to grow and expand this partnership.
Fiscal Year 2013 Funding Outlook
Jack Dugan, SPAFOA Senior Fellow, invited the following speakers: Representative Daniel Lipinski (D, IL-3), Representative Randy Hultgren(R, IL-14), Dr. Bob Simon, Majority Staff Director, Senate and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Byers, Majority Staff Director, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Chris King, Minority Staff Director, Energy and Environmental Subcommittee, House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Many thanks are due to Ken and Jack in arranging this line up of informative speakers.
Messrs. Byers, King, and Simon, all Staff Directors on committees that oversee Science and Technology policy, spoke individually on the topic of the near and long term funding prospects for SRF powered accelerator research and the Office of Science in general. The key points of these talks were:Congress is pleased with the Department of Energy’s management of its user facilities and the Critical Decision process it uses for project management of new projects.
Speaking at the briefing for the third year in a row, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, 3rd IL) spoke off the cuff, without notes on a variety of subjects. His themes included:
Rep. Lipinski is the Representative from Meyer Tool’s district. After he spoke, Eileen Cunningham, President and Ed Bonnema, Vice President, of Meyer Tool had a short discussion with him outside the meeting room. We took the opportunity to thank Mr. Lipinski for his support of the goals he discussed in his presentation and for speaking at the briefing. Mr. Lipinski recalled his visit to Meyer Tool a few years ago and how he was struck by the high tech manufacturing taking place and the difficulty in finding new skilled workers.
Speaking at the meeting for the first time was Rep. Randy Hultgren (R, 14th IL). Rep. Hultgren represents the district that contains Fermilab. There seemed to be general agreement between Rep. Hultgren’s remarks and Rep. Lipinski’s.
Future Accelerator Applications
In his presentation, Future Accelerator Applications, Stuart Henderson, Associate Laboratory Director for Accelerators, discussed the current impact that the 30,000 working particle accelerators in the US have on our lives. These accelerators are not just used in Discovery Science but are essential tools in industries as diverse as semiconductors to medical treatment. Stuart went on to summarize some the new applications for accelerators and how the DOE Office of Science is leading the way with industry/National Laboratory partnerships. One such partnership is the Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC) currently under construction at Fermilab. IARC’s mission is to foster industry/Fermilab partnerships to solve problems of national importance utilizing accelerator technology. Accelerator technology being developed at the National Laboratories will have a tremendous impact not only on Discovery Science initiatives but on will benefit society in more direct ways allowing breakthroughs in medicine, energy, environment and national security.
Member Case Studies
Concluding the session were presentations by SPAFOA members that discussed how technology transfer between industry and the laboratories has affected them in the past or is expected to impact them in the future. Giving presentations were, Ralf Edinger, PAVAC, Todd Treado, CPI, Eileen Cunningham and Ed Bonnema, Meyer Tool, Roland Johnson, Mouns, Inc., and John Urbin, Linde. Topics ranged from future uses of accelerator technology in energy production and pollution control, to how National Laboratory contracts have stretched and grown companies, to how personnel transfers from laboratory to industry have impacted businesses.
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