National science priorities

FRIB makes possible a range of new nuclear physics opportunities. These are documented in a range of publications, including:


FRIB) figures largely in NSAC’s newly released A New Era of Discovery: The 2023 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science. The plan provides a roadmap for advancing the nation's nuclear science research programs over the next decade. It is the 8th long range plan published by NSAC since 1979.

The plan’s first recommendation affirms that the nuclear science community’s highest priority is to capitalize on the extraordinary opportunities for scientific discovery made possible by the substantial and sustained investments of the United States government. FRIB and its user community and the FRIB Theory Alliance membership are directly impacted by the associated requests for an increase in research funding, the continued effective operations of FRIB, a compensation for graduate researchers commensurate with the cost of living, and the provision of resources to ensure a respectful and safe environment for all.

FRIB400—an energy upgrade to expand the already broad scientific reach of FRIB—is explicitly mentioned in the executive summary following Recommendation IV, which calls for investments in additional projects and new strategic opportunities that advance discovery science. Instruments aspired by the community for FRIB, such as the High Rigidity Spectrometer, the Gamma-Ray Energy Tracking Array, the FRIB Decay Station, and the Isochronous Spectrometer with Large Acceptance, feature in the science section of the long range plan.


The 2015 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science by the U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Foundation Nuclear Science Advisory Committee reinforces the National Academies’ recommendation. It calls for priority completion of FRIB in its first recommendation: “Expeditiously completing the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) construction is essential. Initiating its scientific program will revolutionize our understanding of nuclei and their role in the cosmos.”

The 2015 Long-Range Plan Report describes science questions that can be addressed under four main themes: nuclear structurenuclear astrophysicsfundamental symmetries, and potential benefits to the nation and humankind.


FRIB is the first recommendation in the 2012 National Academies Decadal Study of Nuclear Physics, “Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter.” The recommendation states that “The Department of Energy’s Office of Science, in conjunction with the state of Michigan and Michigan State University, should work toward the timely completion of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and the initiation of its physics program.”

In support of the recommendation, the study describes FRIB as “a major new strategic investment in nuclear science” that “will have unique capabilities and will offer opportunities to answer fundamental questions about the inner workings of the atomic nucleus, the formation of the elements in our universe, and the evolution of the cosmos.”