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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 19 2012

NDSU lays off 14 employees of Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering

FARGO – A loss in federal earmark funding has forced North Dakota State University to lay off 14 employees of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Phil Boudjouk, vice president for research, creative activities and technology transfer, said 14 people are being notified today that their jobs are being eliminated.

The departure dates for the employees varies from two weeks to three months, depending on their jobs and transition of projects, Boudjouk said.

More than 40 researchers will continue working for the center, he said.

The reduction in staff was necessary due to a loss of congressional earmark funding for research, Boudjouk said.

NDSU was awarded about $20 million to $30 million in annual earmarks in recent years. That funding is no longer available.

The center is working to replace those federal dollars with private funding.

If additional dollars become available, it’s possible the center could add more staff, Boudjouk said.

“That’s my best hope. This is perhaps the most market sensitive area of NDSU. It’s tough to speculate on the market,” Boudjouk said. “We hire as the money comes in and we hope we can keep it up.”

Employees will receive severance pay that varies according to their positions. The total severance for all employees costs $50,000, Boudjouk said.

Six employees are management and eight are in technical areas, Boudjouk said.

The Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering is an applied research facility where researchers have done work such as developing a coating that prevents barnacles from attaching to ships.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590