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As world demand for energy rapidly expands, transforming the way energy is collected, stored, and used has become a defining challenge of the 21st century. At its heart, this challenge is a scientific one, inspiring the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) to establish the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) program in 2009. The EFRCs represent a unique approach, bringing together creative, multi-disciplinary scientific teams to tackle the toughest scientific challenges preventing advances in energy technologies.  These centers take full advantage of powerful new tools for characterizing, understanding, modeling, and manipulating matter from atomic to macroscopic length scales. They also train the next-generation scientific workforce by attracting talented students and postdoctoral researchers interested in energy science.

In 2009 five-year awards were made to 46 EFRCs.  An open re-competition of the program in 2014 resulted in four-year awards to 32 centers, 22 of which were renewals of existing EFRCs and 10 of which were new EFRCs. In 2016, DOE added 4 new four-year centers to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to support the Department’s environmental management and nuclear cleanup mission.  An open re-competition in 2018 resulted in 42 awards: 11 two-year extensions of existing EFRCs, 9 four-year renewals of existing EFRCs, and 22 four-year awards for new EFRCs.  Since the program’s inception, there have been 82 EFRCs, of which 46 are currently active.  The active centers can be found on the Centers page, while the previously funded centers can be found on the History page.