FY 2011 Funding Request Released

Feb 1, 2010 ::  The FY 2011 funding request for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) is $140,000,000, which includes an increase of $40,000,000 over the FY 2010 appropriations. Continued support of $100,000,000 is provided for EFRCs, which were established to integrate the talents and expertise of leading scientists in a setting designed to accelerate research toward meeting our critical energy challenges. The EFRCs harness the most basic and advanced discovery research in a concerted effort to establish the scientific foundation for a fundamentally new U.S. energy economy. Emphasis is being placed on ensuring that the EFRCs are progressing toward their full collaborative and scientific potential. The scientific directions of the EFRCs are overseen by program staff in the Basic Energy Sciences program within the Office of Science to ensure a unified management strategy and structure.
In FY 2011, approximately $40,000,000 will also be available to fund additional EFRCs. New EFRCs will be competitively solicited in two categories: discovery and development of new materials that are critical to both science frontiers and technology innovations, and basic research for energy needs in a limited number of areas that are underrepresented in the original awards.
  • Discovery and development of new materials. Research in this category will focus on new synthesis capabilities, including bio-inspired approaches, to establish a strong foundation for science-driven materials discovery and synthesis in the U.S. This work will focus on materials broadly and will include crystalline materials, which have been highlighted recently as an essential component of the science grand challenges in the 2007 Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee report Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination. As described in the November 2009 National Research Council report Frontiers in Crystalline Matter: From Discovery to Technology, the U.S., once the world leader in the discovery and growth of crystalline materials, has fallen behind other nations. Single crystals are vital in understanding the characteristics and properties of new materials, and they also have applications in devices that involve semiconductors, lasers, precision timing devices, solar cells or high temperature operations and provide a natural platform to explore novel states of matter.
  • Basic research for energy needs. Major areas of emphasis will be in fundamental sciences related to carbon capture and advanced nuclear energy systems. For carbon capture, focused areas include the rational design of novel materials and separation processes for post-combustion CO2 capture, as well as catalysis and separation research for novel carbon capture schemes to aid the design of future power plants. For advanced nuclear energy systems, focused areas include radiation resistant materials in fission and fusion applications and separation science and heavy element chemistry for fuel cycles.
The FY 2011 DOE Budget Request also includes approximately $24,000,000 of new research funding to allow for awards to single-investigator and small-group projects in the research areas noted above. Funding Opportunity Announcements more fully describing the opportunities for both types of awards will be issued following the FY 2011 appropriation.