Minutes of USLUA Executive Committee Meeting February 21, 2018

Attendees: Darin Acosta, Jahred Adelman, Viviana Cavaliere, Yangyang Cheng, Usha Malik, Corinne Mills, Harvey Newman, Jane Nachtman, Toyoko Orimoto, GianLuca Sabbi, Gordon Watts



  1. Preparations for the DC trip (Harvey, Yangyang)
  2. Discussion on how to strengthen/formalize our support from the Labs (Harvey)
  3. usparticlephysics.org and materials for the DC Trip folder (Jahred, Viviana)
  4. Preparations for the USA Science and Engineering Festival (Verena, Corrinne, Harvey)
  5. Virtual Visits and Invitations for in-person; congressional visits to CERN (Harvey, Julia)
  6. Committee Assignments (Jahred)
  7. Goals and plans for each committee in 2018 (committee chairs)
  8. Budget status (Gordon)
  9. AOB

Minutes (note action items in bold):

  1. Preparations for the DC trip (Harvey, Yangyang)
    1. Dates are March 6-8, 1-2 weeks earlier than usual. Need to accelerate/complete planning in some areas e.g. handouts (more details under agenda item 3) and meeting scheduling. Participants meet at URA on March 6 for a last briefing and to get folders before starting their congressional office visits. The following visits to executive offices will also be taking place:
      • Thursday March 8 around 11:00 AM – Noon (Time TBC): OMB with Dr. Avital (Tali) Bar-Shalom (Examiner for the DOE Office of Science) Lloyd Whitman and OSTP staff
      • Thursday March 8 at 2:00 PM: DOE Office of Science HQ, Dr. Steve Binkley
      • Thursday March 8 at 4:30 PM: meeting at NSF with Drs. Denise Caldwell (PHY), Saul Gonzalez (EPP), Mark Coles, (EPP), Professor Randy Ruchti (EPP), and EPP staff.
      • Friday, March 9 at 10 AM: DOE Germantown with Dr. Jim Siegrist and Office of HEP Staff
    2. USLUA participants: currently 16 people, an updated list is provided in Appendix to the minutes. This number is a bit lower compared to those of previous years (around 20). There might be conflicts with the academic schedules due to the earlier timing of the trip.
    3. Organization of congressional visits and visits to appropriation committees: primaries are currently being selected based on the connection files. Breese Quinn is arranging meetings with representatives from the 8 major committees involved in authorizing appropriations for DOE NSF and the labs.
      Note Added (HN): Breese Quinn has been in touch with Committee staff; they are in “Lockdown” until March 23, meaning that they are focusing on finalizing the FY18 budget.
    4. Budget outlook and request.
      • A short (“ask”) statement summarizing the funding request for DOE HEP had been agreed upon prior to the 2017 DC trip. Then in May and October 2017 joint letters by APS DPF, FNAL UEC, US LUA, and SLUO were sent to the chairs of the energy and water appropriation committees in both the house and senate. The letters indicated specific funding requests adjusted to reflect the evolution of the budget process, and emphasized a proper balance between projects and research at the universities and labs.
      • The FY18 budget is still not finalized. Current references are 825 M$ in the house bill and 860 M$ in the senate bill. The 860 M$ figure was emphasized in the October 2017 letter. The FY19 president budget request has just been released. DOE HEP is down significantly at 770 M$.
      • On the FY 2018 Ask (update by HN): The Ask for FY 2018 is now finalized, requesting $ 860M for FY18 for the DOE Office of Science and $ 8B for NSF which is the FY18 figure supported by the Coalition for NSF Funding (http://cnsf.us/). FY 2019 funding is not part of the Ask itself, but if asked about it we know that CNSF is asking $ 8.45B (+5.6 % above the FY 2018 amount) in a public letter, and we know unofficially that $ 910M is being discussed for DOE Office of High Energy Physics. We will likely produce a letter concerning FY19 funding once FY18 funding is final.
      • For the NSF side heir policy is to advocate for a total budget rather than for specific areas or projects, and this reflected in our Ask.
  1. Discussion of how to strengthen/formalize our support from the Labs.
    1. There has been some email discussion on designating a seat in the executive committee with a two year term for a laboratory directorate member who will act as our point of contact, make sure the lab managements are informed of important items, and provide feedback
      • Names proposed include JoAnne Hewett (SLAC, Director of Particle Physics Division, and Associate Lab Director); Joe Lykken (FNAL, Deputy Director and Chief Research Officer with direct oversight of US LHC programs);  Natalie Roe (LBNL, Director of Physics Division), Berndt Mueller (BNL, Associate Director for HEP and Nuclear Physics), David Lissauer (BNL, Deputy Associate Lab Director for High Energy Physics), Marcel Demarteau (Argonne, High Energy Physics Division Director)
        Note Added (HN): the proposal for lab management participation in the US LUEC is has been discussed with JoAnne Hewett, as follows –
             We would like to ensure that each year we have a very active participant/advisor who will be engaged with our US LUEC committee, guide us, help us strengthen our efforts and/or fill in areas where our efforts could be stronger, and get the word out to increase the engagement of the US LHC community.
           The idea is to have a subcommittee (which we have the right to form under our articles and bylaws) of ex officio members, where each year the subcommittee would designate one member to be most actively engaged.
           Given the level of responsibility and “busy-ness” of the members of this subcommittee, we would also request that if the  designated active member could not make it to a given meeting or participate in an important event, then she/he would reach out to have one of the other members of the subcommittee participate. The number of US LUEC meetings with active participation of a member of this subcommittee was discussed, and four per year seems the right number.  Of course we would invite and welcome all the members of the subcommittee to attend on each occasion if they chose; and we might have specific issues of interest to them at some of our meetings.

        Steps forward:

        Once we have comments and suggestions from US LUEC members, then we would find a good way to introduce the idea to the other designated members of the proposed subcommittee, after which we could have a conference call with them including Q&A. Then if all went well, we could launch the subcommittee at a future US LUEC meeting; preferably this Spring.


    2. Corinne asks to clarify the goals from both the USLUA and Directorate standpoint
      1. HN: in the past where have been instances where the user organizations were left out of relevant decisions or plans. Monthly meetings with the directorates were proposed to help circulate information and provide feedback, but recently they have always been canceled. So we are looking for possible alternatives
    3. HN will formulate a statement to solicit Lab’s feedback on this proposal
  2. usparticlephysics.org and materials for the DC Trip folder (Jahred, Viviana)
    1. Harvey: material being assembled for the DC trip is good but US LHC one-pagers are missing and would be very useful. They can be printed at the Fedex next to URA, with help from URA staff.
    2. Jahred: using identical material from previous trips is not advisable
    3. Viviana will get in touch with Sarah Charlie at CERN to see if there is any recent material that we can use
    4. Harvey will send one of the recent USLUA one pagers to Viviana for reference
  3. Preparations for the USA Science and Engineering Festival (Verena, Corrinne, HN)
    1. The event is scheduled for April 7-8. We have received a positive response from Andrei Gritsan (John Hopkins) to share their space
    2. Ideally we would like 6-8 participants in order to staff the display and also allow to look around and get a better sense of the event and how to improve in future years
    3. Verena has been very active in last year’s event and we will ask her to coordinate the preparations, the goal is to be on track in 3 weeks
    4. We have been authorized to use the VR display by Sarah Charlie at CERN, but need to learn how to run it. Yangyang will follow up with Sarah on this
  1. Virtual Visits and Invitations for in-person visits (Julia, Verena)
    1. Will come back to this topic at the next meeting since Julia/Verena could not participate today
  1. Committee Assignments (Jahred)
    1. Jahred will send the current status in an email after the meeting (in appendix)
    2. Gordon is willing to continue as treasurer
    3. We are still missing chairs for outreach, communications, and web
  1. Status and goals/plans for each committee
    1. Quality of life (Usha):
      • The CERN user office is undergoing substantial changes under new leadership. We need clarifications but emails are not effective
      • Gordon will be at CERN for 2 weeks and offers to help. Usha will send contact information and arrange a skype call to provide more details on current issues and US user’s requests
      • Harvey asks if there have been any relocation/integration issues with new users visiting CERN. Usha has not heard anything for the last several months
      • Harvey suggests exploring if some of the young people who are spending longer periods at CERN might be willing to help in areas such as virtual/in person visits. Also check if any of them are planning a trip back to the US around the time of the science and engineering festival and they are willing to help, in this case we might partially support their travel
    2. Government relations (Yangyang)
      • Main focus is on DC trip preparations
      • Harvey: try to arrange follow up conversations (after the CD trip) in order to maintain connections. Back in 2016 we also had a plan to encourage and facilitate visits to local congressmen from members of the community
      • Yangyang will provide guidelines based on previous activities in these areas to be used as reference for future involvement
    3. Elections (Jahred)
      • Election cycle was just completed, nothing to report at his time
    4. Annual meeting (Harvey, Yangyang)
      • Harvey: we need to start thinking about location and dates. Notes that the last meeting was held at FNAL but participation was not as strong as one might have expected
      • Corinne will work on a revised agenda based on answers to the survey. Showing that we are responsive to the community input should help get stronger attendance
      • Jahred will check on the possibility to have the meeting at ANL which has similar advantages to FNAL in terms of central location and lower cost, while maintaining the tradition to host the meeting at a different lab every second year
      • Other suggestions are welcome and we need more discussion on how to get the local community more engaged
  1. Budget (Gordon)
    1. Financial status will be addressed in detail at the next meeting
    2. Yangyang reports we had good success in getting support for young people traveling to DC from their local research groups. Requests for USLUA support are at the level of 50% for 4-5 people. She also mentions that some of the LR winners are approaching the end of their appointments and are actively looking for jobs. In some case they were not able to join the DC trip due to conflicts with job interviews.
    3. Harvey indicates that we should be able to support additional people if we can find suitable candidates
  2. AOB
    1. Harvey reminds that we need to make more progress on web content. David Miller is now an observer and offered to help
    2. Next meeting will be shortly after the DC trip and focus on its outcome

Appendix B: current status of USLUA sub-committees

By USLUEC members:

  • Darin Acosta – Quality of life, Communications, and Web presence
  • Jahred Adelman – Government relations, Rules + Elections (Chair)
  • Usha Mallik – quality of life (chair), rules + election, government relations
  • Toyoko Orimoto – Quality of Life, Outreach, Communications, and Web Presence
  • Sheldon Stone – Vice Chair + Rules and elections
  • Gianluca Sabbi – Secretary + Government relations + Outreach
  • Anthony Timmins – Quality of Life, Annual meeting, Government relations
  • Harvey Newman – chair, government relations, outreach, finance + fundraising, rules + elections, annual meeting
  • Corrinne Mills – quality of life, government relations, annual meeting
  • Yangyang Chang – government relations (chair), communications
  • Gordon T. Watts – finance + fundraising, web, communications + treasurer
  • Viviana Cavaliere – quality of life, web, government relations
  • Verena I. Martinez Outschoorn – outreach, quality of life, annual meeting
  • Jane Nachtman: Outreach, Web

By committee:

  • Quality of life: Usha (chair), Corrinne, Viviana, Darin, Toyoko, Anthony, Verena
  • Government relations: Yangyang (chair), Jahred, Usha, Gianluca, Corrinne, Viviana, Harvey, Anthony
  • Annual meeting: Harvey (chair), Anthony, Corrinne, Verena
  • Elections: Jahred (chair), Harvey, Sheldon, Usha
  • Outreach: Gianluca + Harvey + Toyoko, Jane, Verena NO CHAIR
  • Finance + fundraising: Gordon + Harvey + NO CHAIR
  • Communications: Yangyang, Gordon, Darin + Toyoko NO CHAIR
  • Web: Gordon, Darin, Viviana, Jane, Toyoko NO CHAIR