Centers to Focus on Science for Energy and Environmental Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a proposed $40 million in Fiscal Year 2020 for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to accelerate scientific advances in materials science, chemistry, geosciences, and biosciences. Research supported by this initiative will provide the scientific foundation for future advances in energy and environmental management.

“These centers bring together the nation’s leading scientists in dynamic, innovative teams across multiple disciplines,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “Together these researchers will be laying the groundwork for America’s next generation of technologies for both energy and the environment.”

Since their establishment by DOE’s Office of Science in 2009, the EFRCs have produced thousands of peer-reviewed scientific publications and continue to be an important asset to the Department’s mission. With funding for 15 of the current 46 active EFRC awards set to expire in July 2020, DOE has announced a competition for another round of funding. 

Centers under this initiative will support fundamental research projects in four topical areas: quantum information science, microelectronics, environmental management and polymer upcycling (developing the chemistry to convert waste plastics into fuels and other high-value products).

The competition will be open to proposals both from existing EFRCs seeking renewal of support (in the environmental management topical area) and from institutions seeking to establish new EFRCs under the program. Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form multi-disciplinary research teams that may include partnerships with other institutions.  Selection will be based on a rigorous peer review process.

Awards for each selected center are expected to range from $2 million to $4 million per year for a planned total of four fiscal years. Funding will be contingent on congressional appropriations.

The full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available here.  Additional information about the EFRCs can be found here.