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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $3 million in funding for five university research projects aimed at achieving a more comprehensive understanding of the complex subsurface processes—including water flows and intricate biological and chemical interactions with water, soil, and minerals—in watershed systems.

The research projects, which will include experiment and observation as well as new computer model development, are ultimately aimed at creating more robust and predictive models of subsurface flows and biogeochemical interactions.

“Improving Earth and environmental prediction models is a critical step in mitigating risks to the environment due to contaminants,” said Sharlene Weatherwax, DOE Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research. “These scientific investments will help ensure that America remains at the forefront in systems modeling and environmental stewardship.”

Selected projects cover a range of topics, from better understanding how trace elements migrate through watersheds to improved understanding of the influence that seasonal variability plays in predicting ground-water chemistry. The resulting data and analysis will help improve the capabilities and certainty of DOE’s models, particularly those which focus on watershed systems, and run on powerful supercomputers.          

Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement on Subsurface Biogeochemical Research that in turn is sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the Department’s Office of Science.

Funding totals $3 million in Fiscal Year 2019 dollars for projects lasting three years in duration. A list of projects can be found here.