Efforts Will Support Graduate-level Traineeships in Particle Detector Technology

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans to provide $5 million to support a DOE traineeship program to address workforce needs in high energy physics instrumentation. Recent surveys have identified a long-standing, persistent workforce training deficit in this field even as the development of new instruments enables particle physicists to open the door to new frontiers in science.

High energy physics instrumentation includes technologies like particle detectors, that have to withstand challenging environments such as very high levels of radiation, cryogenic temperatures, or limited access over long periods of times.

State-of-the-art systems used in high energy physics research are not commercially available and require special skills for development. However, teaching and training programs in this critical field are lacking in most post-secondary education physics curricula. This funding announcement is focused on attracting, engaging, and supporting a diverse cadre of young scientists to lead the way in designing high energy physics instruments that will further our knowledge of the universe with potential applications across science, medicine, and homeland security. One of the programmatic considerations in selecting awardees will be how well they address building out the diversity of the student pipeline in this field.

“High energy physics instruments have enabled our nation’s scientists to make sweeping new discoveries in many areas, including medical imaging, industrial uses, and radiation monitoring aboard the International Space Station,” said Dr. Steve Binkley, Acting Director of DOE’s Office of Science. “We need a skilled and diverse workforce to develop the detectors and instrumentation that will enable us to meet the scientific challenges of the future and provide a foundation for transformational change in this critical field.”

Funding for the traineeship program will support training of graduate students in the research, development, and engineering of high energy physics instrumentation. Areas of interest include development of advanced sensors for particle and radiation detection in extreme radiation or temperature environments, electronics and data acquisition systems, as well as systems design and engineering of large, complex particle detectors.

Applications will be open to all accredited U.S. colleges and universities. Total planned funding is $5 million, with $1 million in Fiscal Year 2021 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

The Funding Opportunity Announcement, sponsored by the Office of High Energy Physics (HEP) within the Department’s Office of Science, can be found on the HEP funding opportunity page.