WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $3.6 million for university research 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.
"A better understanding of below ground activity in watersheds will have major relevance to such national imperatives as ensuring the availability of clean water, as well as to the Department's critical missions of contaminant clean-up and containment," said Sharlene Weatherwax, DOE Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research. "This university research is aimed at building on and expanding important research already underway at the DOE national laboratories."
The research seeks to develop a predictive understanding of how watersheds function and how these systems respond to perturbations caused by changes in water availability and quality, contaminant release, nutrient cycling, land-use, vegetation cover, and snowmelt timing.
University researchers are encouraged, where possible, to partner with DOE national laboratories in these efforts. Currently six DOE national laboratories—Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, along with SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory—have ongoing programs in this field at various sites around the nation.
Applications are open to universities and nonprofits. Grants are expected to range from one to three years, at a maximum of $200,000 per year. Total funding will be $3.6 million in Fiscal Year 2019 dollars.
The DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, issued by DOE's Office of Science, is to be found here.