Council invests in new high-tech center

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By Roger Snodgrass

The New Mexico Consortium asked the Los Alamos County Council for $1.5 million Tuesday night.It was a sizeable sum for a relatively new organization. The request was for funding in the form of a grant, rather than a loan. But the application package was complete and the string of endorsements and recommendations judged to be solid.“I think this goes a long way toward meeting our economic diversity goals,” said Councilor Michael Wheeler, expressing the consensus of the council, which approved the request by a 4-to-0 vote. Council Chair Jim Hall, and Councilors Jim West and Nona Bowman were absent.The New Mexico Consortium (NMC) sought matching support funds for a proposal to establish a Quantitative Biology Center (QBC). Their proposal, to be funded by the Department of Homeland Security and administered by the National Science Foundation, will require a matching grant that would cover 50-75 percent of the facility costs for such a center.The grant was requested on a contingency basis, since it would not be finalized unless NMC is first awarded $16 million in funds over five years. The proposal indicates that the center would employ 31 people, with salaries ranging from $160,000 for a director to $40,000 apiece for six graduate fellows.

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