Skip to content

Peters Tours Michigan State University Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

Peters Holds Roundtable to Discuss Investments in Science Research

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), the Ranking Member on the Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee, toured the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University and held a roundtable discussion with academic leaders and researchers from Michigan State University to gather input as the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee works to formulate new legislation to shape federal science research and development priorities.

“Investments in basic scientific research and development drive our economy forward by strengthening innovation and improving our country’s economic competitiveness,” said Senator Peters. “Federal investments helped create FRIB and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University, and new discoveries made right here in Michigan will turn into new businesses that create jobs across our state.”

Peters’ tour and roundtable coincide with a series of bipartisan discussions Peters is helping lead in Washington, DC along with Republican Senator Cory Gardner (CO). The discussion series features  members of the American science and research community and will inform the work of the Senate Commerce Committee as it begins to craft new legislation to help shape federal research and development policy that was previously authorized by the America COMPETES Act of 2010. Today’s roundtable discussion brought together experts from Michigan State University to discuss strategies for maximizing basic research, improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education practices and translating federal research discoveries into commercial applications that improve daily lives and promote economic growth.

“As the Senate formulates new legislation to set federal research priorities for the coming years, I will be working to ensure that Michigan continues to play a vital role in our nation’s research and development efforts,” said Senator Peters. “Today’s discussion with scientists and researchers from Michigan State provided important guidance on how best to invest in Michigan’s world-class research institutions to ensure that we can continue to build on decades of scientific research and remain a leader in innovation around the world.”

“FRIB and Michigan State University’s top-ranked nuclear physics doctoral program are poised to strengthen Michigan’s position as a destination for research, generating economic growth and improving the quality of life for Michigan residents through discoveries with medical, energy and national security applications,” said Mark Burnham, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at Michigan State University. “I want to thank Senator Peters for his support of investments in basic science research and his work to ensure that institutions like Michigan State University will be able to continue leading the way in groundbreaking and innovative research for years to come.”

The America COMPETES Act of 2010 authorized research priorities for several federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Peters previously helped enact the America COMPETES Act of 2010 as a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

FRIB will house a high-powered superconducting linear accelerator that accelerates heavy ions and produces rare isotopes, which are short-lived atomic nuclei that cannot be found on Earth.

The rare isotopes produced at FRIB will allow nuclear scientists and researchers to explore a range of potential applications in the fields such as energy, medicine and national security, including diagnosing and curing diseases, improving next generation nuclear reactors for energy and finding processes to destroy nuclear waste. FRIB will create 400 jobs for scientists, engineers and staff and bring together nearly 1,400 nuclear scientists from around the world to conduct research at the new facility. Construction of the $730 million facility is expected to be completed in 2022.