FY2016 was a year of significant change and progress at Berkeley Lab. In March, Laboratory Director Michael Witherell assumed his new role when former Lab Director Paul Alivisatos became Vice Chancellor for Research at UC Berkeley. Dr. Witherell has solidified the Lab’s strategy, with a focus on long term science and technology priorities. Large-scale science efforts continued to expand at the Lab, including the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument now heading towards construction, and the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector to be built underground in South Dakota. Another proposed project, the Advanced Light Source-Upgrade, was given preliminary approval and will be the Lab’s largest scientific investment in years. Construction of the Integrative Genomics Building began, and will bring together researchers from the Lab’s Joint Genome Institute, now based in Walnut Creek, and the Systems Biology Knowledgebase (K-Base) under one roof. Investment in the Lab’s infrastructure also continues, informed by the Lab’s Infrastructure Strategic Plan. Another important focus is on developing the next generation of scientists with the talent and diversity needed to sustain Berkeley Lab’s scientific leadership and mission contributions to DOE and the Nation.
Berkeley Lab received $897.5M in new FY2016 funding, a 12.5% increase over FY2015, for both programmatic and infrastructure activities. While the Laboratory experienced a substantial increase in funding, it was accompanied by only a modest increase in spending, as areas of growth were partially offset by the completion of several major efforts in FY2015. FY2016 costs were $826.9M, an increase of 1.9% over FY2015. Similar to the prior year, the indirect-funded Operations units worked with generally flat budgets to yield more funding for strategic needs. A key challenge for Berkeley Lab continues to be achieving the best balance to fund essential investments, deliver highly effective operational mission support and remain cost-competitive. Through a comprehensive approach to prioritize competing needs, the Lab ended the year in a favorable financial position.
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) played a key role in providing analysis and decision support to Executive Leadership, enabling the Lab to enhance its financial management strategies. In FY2016, the OCFO updated its analytic approaches and models to enhance long term financial projections under various funding and investment scenarios, and to assess total cost of ownership for major proposed investments. These improvements provided the new Lab Director and Senior Leadership with more comprehensive information and analytic support for planning and prioritization efforts.
Within the OCFO, we focused on core operations and key initiatives defined in our OCFO Strategic Roadmap. The Lab’s Financial System transitioned from stabilization to optimization, with a focus on expanding the financial reporting capabilities considerably. We completed implementation of the eCommerce platform, achieving a notable outcome for the Lab in close partnership with DOE’s Office of Science. In other accomplishments, we launched a financial literacy program to enable Lab managers and staff to understand and execute their financial management and stewardship responsibilities more effectively; made substantial progress in enhancing our Field Finance model that provides financial support to client divisions and areas; developed a business process governance model to define OCFO business processes, clarify roles, and strengthen service delivery; and implemented a Partners in Leadership training program to build leadership capacity among our staff. We completed a ‘refresh’ of our Strategic Roadmap, which now defines our priorities for FY2017-FY2019. As a part of this effort, we made a subtle but important change to the OCFO mission statement to call out the Lab’s research and stewardship mission to sustain the Lab’s science and technology capabilities now and into the future.
Berkeley Lab’s FY2016 progress on all fronts - scientific, operations, and financial management – position the Lab to continue bringing science solutions to the world as we charge into the 21st Century.