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SD Gov Asks Lawmakers to Fund Research Priorities in FY11

December 16, 2009

To keep alive the underground deep science laboratory, a National Science Foundation (NSF) research priority for scientific discovery in geophysics, Gov. Mike Rounds is asking lawmakers to approve $5.4 million in special appropriations for bridge funding through May 2011. During his budget presentation to the legislature last week, Gov. Rounds told lawmakers the $35 million allocated toward the effort in 2004 and 2005 would run out this month and $250 million in anticipated NSF funding would not be available until 2011. South Dakota’s Homestake gold mine was selected by NSF in 2007 as the site for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, which extends more than 8,000 ft. into the earth (see the July 18, 2007 issue of the Digest).

Gov. Rounds’FY11 budget also recommends $970,000 for the creation of a Ph.D. program in Physics, complementing the mission of the Sanford Underground Laboratory. Funding for both requests totaling $6.4 million would come from other fund special appropriations, according to budget documents.

The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, established by the legislature in 2004 and tasked with converting the Homestake gold mine into a science, engineering and education center, would receive $14.2 million in FY11, a decrease of $13.4 million in order to “align available funding with expenditure authority,” according to budget documents. The governor recommends $4 million, the same amount as last year, for the Division of Research Commerce, which serves as the state technology transfer and innovation office.

For the Board of Regents, the governor recommends a total increase of $68.1 million in general, federal and other fund expenditure. This includes $106,241 to fully fund the REED, a high-speed data network connecting universities and research centers across the state (see the Dec. 12, 2007 issue of the Digest).

The governor’s FY11 budget totals $4.1 billion, a $16.3 million increase in total funds over the FY10 budget. Budget documents are available at: http://www.state.sd.us/bfm/budget/.

South Dakotar&d