DOE Energy Frontiers Research Center

If you are interested please email Michelle Wonsey (mwonsey@umass.edu) a single PDF by Friday December 13, 2019 with the following information:

  1. A project summary (not to exceed five pages) that must include:
    1. Topic of Proposal
    2. Vision for the proposed Center including science goals and research thrusts,
    3. The names(s) of prospective partner institutions.
    4. A short statement of competitiveness (i.e., what you think will discriminate your proposal from the competition, including anything you have done to pre-position yourself/your team for this funding opportunity)
  2. pro forma budget, including any cost-sharing and facilities requirements and how you plan to meet them; use template: https://www.umass.edu/research/form/pro-forma-budget-template
  3. A list of senior personnel and short-form CV for each

Program Description

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) announces the call for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) proposals and encourages both new and renewal applications. Applications will be required to address priority research directions and opportunities identified in recent BES workshop and roundtable reports, the scientific grand challenges identified in the report Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imaginationand the opportunities described in the report Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative Opportunities for Discovery Science. All of these reports are described below. BES is soliciting proposals in four (4) topical areas: 1) Environmental Management (new and renewal proposals); 2) Quantum Information Science (new proposals only); 3) Microelectronics (new proposals only); and 4) Polymer Upcycling (new proposals only). Funding will be competitively awarded to the successful Energy Frontier Research Center applications selected by Federal officials, based on a rigorous merit review process as detailed in Section V of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).

The mission of the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program is to support fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE’s mission emphases in energy, the environment, and national security. BES has long invested in innovative basic research to advance the DOE mission through BES’s core research areas.

The EFRC program, initiated in 2009, brings together the skills, talents, and expertise of teams of scientists to perform energy-relevant, basic research with a scope and complexity beyond what is possible in standard single-investigator or small-group awards. These multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary centers enable, encourage, and accelerate transformative scientific advances for the most challenging topics in materials sciences, chemical sciences, geosciences, and biosciences. EFRCs conduct fundamental research focused on one or more grand challenges, transformative opportunities, and basic research needs identified in major strategic planning efforts by BES and the scientific community.

Establishing Priority Research Directions for Basic Energy Science

In 2002, the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) invited leaders of the scientific community to a weeklong workshop to assess the scope of fundamental scientific research that must be considered to address the DOE mission. This resulted in the 2003 report, Basic Research Needs to Assure a Secure Energy Future. Over the last decade and a half, that report inspired a series of “Basic Research Needs” workshops involving thousands of participants from universities, industry, and national laboratories, which established Priority Research Directions (PRDs) for basic energy science. In addition, in recent years BES has organized focused Roundtable Discussions that have led to reports that identify Priority Research Opportunities (PROs) in areas of strategic interest. Together, the reports from these workshops highlight the remarkable scientific evolution that has taken place during the past few decades. The resulting scientific challenges describe a new era of science in which researchers can design, manipulate, and ultimately control materials functionalities and chemical transformations.

BES is seeking new and renewal applications for EFRCs. Applicants must propose research that directly addresses priority research directions or priority research opportunities identified in one or more of the workshop/roundtable reports listed above. In addition, applications must address one or more of the grand challenges identified in Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination while also leveraging one or more of the transformative opportunities outlined in Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative Opportunities for Discovery Science.

Note: The purpose of the EFRC program does not include construction (including new buildings or additions to existing building), and costs for such activities will not be funded by awards resulting from this FOA. In addition, the focus of the EFRC program is on fundamental scientific research, therefore awards resulting from this FOA must not support applied research or technology development activities.