Trump signs $1.3 trillion U.S. budget, makes DOE researchers happy

Science at Department of Energy gets a hefty raise in final 2018 budget


After what seemed to be an endless wait for researchers supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, D.C., Trump’s budget has finally arrived—and it was worth the wait.

This story is a follow-up to our previous report about how Trump proposed to slash the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) budget by 17 percent, affecting DOE’s basic research wing, the Office of Science.

In the new bill that Trump signed after protesting a veto, the Office of Science, gets a 16 percent boost, to $6.26 billion, in a 2018 omnibus spending bill passed by Congress this week.

“It’s amazingly good news,” says Thom Mason, vice president for laboratory operations at Battelle in Columbus and a former director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. “This is beyond anything I expected.” Battelle helps run six of the 10 DOE national labs run by the Office of Science, including Oak Ridge.

The Office of Science comprises six distinct research programs, and four would see their funding grow by double-digit percentages. The biggest winners would be advanced scientific computing research, which supports DOE’s supercomputing efforts, and fusion energy sciences, which supports an effort to harness nuclear fusion as a source of energy.

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