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WASHINGTON - Underscoring the Obama Administration's commitment to investing in innovation and the American workforce, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that 68 scientists from across the nation will receive up to $18.9 million in funding for research grants as part of DOE’s Early Career Research Program.  The effort, now in its third year, is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

"This investment reflects the Administration's strong commitment to creating jobs and new industries through scientific innovation," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.  "Strong support of scientists in the early career years is crucial to renewing America's scientific workforce and ensuring U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation for many years to come."

Under the program, university-based researchers will receive at least $150,000 per year to cover summer salary and research expenses.  For researchers based at DOE national laboratories, where DOE typically covers full salary and expenses of laboratory employees, grants will be at least $500,000 per year to cover year-round salary plus research expenses.  The funding is for the first year of planned five-year research grants, subject to congressional appropriations.

To be eligible for an award, a researcher must be an untenured, tenure-track assistant or associate professor at a U.S. academic institution or a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory, who received a Ph.D. within the past ten years.  Research topics are required to fall within one of the Department's Office of Science's six major program offices:

  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research
  • Basic Energy Sciences
  • Biological and Environmental Research
  • Fusion Energy Sciences
  • High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Physics

Awardees were selected from a pool of nearly 850 university- and national laboratory-based applicants.  Selection was based on peer review by outside scientific experts.  Projects announced today are selections for financial award. The final details for each project award are subject to final contract negotiations between DOE and the awardees.

A list of the 68 awardees, their institutions, and titles of research projects is available on the Early Career Research Program webpage.