EFRC High Resolution Map

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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 recompetition 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 recompetition 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. A targeted competition in environmental management, microelectronics, polymer upcycling, and quantum information science in 2020 resulted in 10 awards: 2 two-year extensions of existing EFRCs, 2 four-year renewals of existing EFRCs, and 6 four-year awards for new EFRCs. Since the program’s inception, there have been 88 EFRCs, of which 41 are currently active.