Projects Utilize Unique Capabilities and Facilities of the National Laboratories to Address Future Biological Crises

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $112.4 million in funding for 10 research projects for the Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative. These projects will support national biopreparedness and response capabilities that can be advanced with DOE’s distinctive capabilities.

The 2023 BRaVE awards focus on five research areas that take advantage of DOE’s distinctive capabilities and facilities in physical, computational, and biological sciences. The research focuses on understanding pathogen interactions that can lead to new approaches for both disease detection and design of targeted therapies, developing more complete models of how epidemics spread, designing novel anti-pathogen materials, and providing innovations in DOE’s user facility instrumentation, experimental techniques, and data analytics that will support biopreparedness and response.

“The advances made in this program will revolutionize our understanding of the science underlying a range of potential biological events and transform the nation’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, future biological threats,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE’s Office of Science. “Further, these advances will complement research efforts associated with other federal agencies and will be broadly applicable to understanding plant pathogens of crops that are central to DOE’s bioenergy program, as well as other biological systems.”     

BRaVE builds on the success of DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL) that contributed to the fight against COVID-19. During the pandemic, DOE research helped to understand the spread of the virus, delivered manufacturing solutions to stem the shortages of supplies, developed new virus testing protocols, and identified potential candidates for antiviral drugs.  DOE also opened its user facilities for research on the virus’s structure and data from these facilities supported the development of all three FDA-approved vaccines, as well as antiviral drugs and antibodies.  

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE National Laboratory Program Announcement for FY 2023 Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE).  The multi-disciplinary projects are supported by the Office of Science programs in Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, and Biological and Environmental Research. The projects include multi-institutional teams, led by individual national laboratories with partners from other national laboratories and universities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Total funding is $112.4 million for projects lasting up to three years in duration, with $37.5 million in Fiscal Year 2023 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

The list of projects and more information can be found on the Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative homepage.

Selection for award negotiations is not a commitment by DOE to issue an award or provide funding. Before funding is issued, DOE and the applicants will undergo a negotiation process, and DOE may cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during that time.