Projects Focus on Key Technology Areas to Address Critical Gaps Early in the Innovation Cycle

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $73 million in funding for eleven projects which focus on the goal of accelerating the transition from discovery to commercialization of new technologies that will form the basis of future industries. This goal will require basic research to be conducted with an eye to an innovation’s end application, considering discovery, creation, and production of materials and technologies with approaches that can be scaled and readily transitioned into new products and capabilities to support the economic health and security of the nation. 

“This research will integrate novel concepts and approaches in use-inspired basic research to address gaps or challenges that limit the ultimate transition to applied research for further development and demonstration,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the Office of Science. “Achieving these research goals will greatly accelerate the innovation cycle, which currently can take years to decades to realize.”

Examples of projects funded as part of the Accelerate initiative include:

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will lead a project to study and model behavior of microbes in bioreactors to address why promising biomanufacturing processes that work well in the laboratory often fail when scaled up for mass production in industrial-size bioreactors.
  • Two projects aim to accelerate advances in next generation microelectronics. The first, led by Brookhaven National Laboratory, will develop novel materials with a goal of producing next generation semiconductors with sub-nanometer dimensions. The second, led by Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, will develop concepts for superconducting microelectronics to achieve ultra-energy-efficient computing.
  • Argonne National Laboratory will lead a project to develop innovations that combine robotics, human interfaces, digital twins, and artificial intelligence to replace eighty-year-old technologies currently used to produce isotopes used in medical diagnostics and treatments, research, and industrial applications.
  • A project led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory will combine additive manufacturing with integrated remote handling and radiation-hardened sensors to develop an in-situ repair technology for safe and efficient maintenance of plasma-facing components in a fusion energy plant.
  • Two projects will enhance technologies used for fundamental physics studies and other applications. The first, led by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, seeks to scale-up large particle detectors to enable future discoveries of new particles, yield full precision characterization of the Higgs boson, and elucidate the nature of dark matter. The second, led by Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, will address bottlenecks in superconducting radio-frequency technologies to greatly simplify operation of accelerators used for basic research and in industrial applications.

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE National Laboratory Program Announcement for research to Accelerate Innovations in Emerging Technologies. The multi-disciplinary programs are supported by Office of Science programs in Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Biological and Environmental Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics, and the DOE Isotope Program. The projects have multi-institutional teams, each led by a national laboratory with partners from other national laboratories, industries, and universities, often including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), thereby providing an outstanding opportunity for workforce development in a highly multi-disciplinary research environment.

Total funding is $73 million for projects lasting up to two years in duration, with $38 million in Fiscal Year 2023 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The list of projects and more information can be found at the Office of Science Funding Opportunities page.

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.