US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a proposed $99 million in Fiscal Year 2018 funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to accelerate transformative scientific advances for the most challenging topics in materials sciences, chemical sciences, geosciences, and biosciences. (DE-FOA-0001810)
Since their establishment by DOE’s Office of Science in 2009, the EFRCs have produced thousands of peer-reviewed scientific publications and continue to be an important asset to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) mission. DOE currently funds 36 EFRCs, 32 of which were selected for four-year funding in 2014. With support for those centers set to expire in July 2018, DOE has announced a competition for another round of funding.
The competition will be open to proposals both from existing EFRCs seeking renewal of support and from institutions seeking to establish new EFRCs under the program. Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form multi-disciplinary research teams that may include partnerships with other institutions.
Selection will be based on a rigorous peer review process. When making selections, DOE will emphasize emerging science priorities (Priority Research Directions, PRDs) for basic energy science that have been highlighted in recent workshops, including, but not limited to:
- quantum materials
- catalysis science
- synthesis science
- instrumentation science
- next-generation electrical energy storage
- future nuclear energy
- energy-water issues
- hydrogen economy
Awards for each selected center are expected to range from $2 million to $4 million per year for a total of four fiscal years. Total funding for the EFRC program, pending Congressional appropriations, is expected to be about $99 million per year for the four-year awards.