Questions and Answers
How much money does it cost a year to run Jefferson Lab? Do you get funds from an entrepreneurship?
The budget for Jefferson Lab is around 70 million dollars per year. That comes from the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE pays a group of universities called The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). That money is used to operate Jefferson Lab. We also get some money from several other sources, usually for specific projects, but it is small compared to our main budget. The state of Virginia, as part of an agreement with the DOE, kicks in a little bit, by paying the salaries of a few people who work here. The Free Electron Laser (FEL) project here is funded separately, even though it sits in the center of our accelerator complex. The FEL has received funds from the Navy and several companies that are very interested in commercial applications of using that laser. Those applications range from making super slippery steels to shower curtains that won't mildew.
We do have agreements with entrepreneurs. These agreements are called Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). Usually they come from a business that is interested in something we are working on. They agree to pay some of the development costs in exchange for access to whatever is developed. Jefferson Lab currently has several CRADAs in effect. For example, we have an agreement with a company to develop a machine to aid doctors in diagnosing cancer. This machine is based on technology developed for physics experiments. That company also bought a license to sell that machine. They will give a payment to the lab for each machine they sell. Several other countries contribute, but usually by providing people or equipment instead of money. Right now, the Yeravan Institute in Armenia has provided several scientists who built many important parts of our machine in exchange for access to Jefferson Lab. Several countries send college students to work here. These students use that work as part of their research towards their education. This certainly makes the Lab an interesting place, with people from all over the world here.