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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Funding losses lead to closing of Computing Research Laboratory

A downturn in federal research and development funding has led to a decision to close the Computing Research Laboratory at New Mexico State University.

Jay Jordan, dean and director of the university's Physical Science Laboratory, said efforts are being made to place the affected employees in other positions at PSL and across the university.

"We already have placed some of the people and we are hopeful that we can obtain funding that will allow us to extend some of the other positions," he said.

Jordan said 12 positions - eight from CRL and four PSL employees involved in related activities - will be funded full-time through January and half-time through February as efforts continue to find other positions or new funding for those employees.

PSL has about 450 employees, including about 80 student employees.

CRL has been engaged primarily in federally funded research and development of computer-assisted language translation systems.

"A lot of CRL's work is done," Jordan said. "The funding ran out."

The laboratory was moved from the College of Arts and Sciences to PSL in July in the hope of developing new funding and related activities to keep it operating, but those efforts have not been successful, he said.

"After several years of struggling with funding issues to continue CRL, an executive decision was made to dissolve it," he said.

Jordan said PSL's activities have been growing in some areas, chiefly defense-related work, while declining in others.

"There has been a distinct downturn in research and development funds from the federal government, except in the areas where we support the nation's warfighters," he said.

Funding through the national laboratories also has declined, he said. The funding issue has been complicated by recent Congressional funding actions involving continuing resolutions rather than approval of appropriations bills that included earmarks for research and development programs, he added.

This combination of issues "made this into an acute situation" and accelerated the decision to close the CRL, he said.

Dec. 21, 2006
Karl Hill