Our Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program serves as a proving ground for innovative concepts, providing seed funding for selected high-risk, high-reward research ideas. It attracts promising young scientists and engineers and encourages them to pursue new approaches to problems.
For the FY23 cycle, the LDRD Call for Proposals received a total of 160 submissions. This year, 106 LDRD projects are being funded at a total value of $25.7M. In addition, the Lab expects to fund several off-cycle projects during the year.
The Lab’s scientific leadership reviewed each proposal under one of four funding tracks: Lab-wide Initiative, Multi-Area Topics, Early Career Development, and Area Priorities.
The Lab-wide Initiative funding track is funding the continuation of FY22 projects related to the Carbon Negative Initiative (CNI), previously known as Negative Emissions Science and Technology (NEST).
The Multi-Area topics being funded this year are collaborative projects across Areas in three topics: Automation in the Acquisition and Management of Experimental Data (Lab Automation); Data Science/Machine Learning to Accelerate Science; and Instrumentation to Advance Fundamental and Applied Science.
The Early Career Development (ECD) track, which was developed in FY17 to provide a financial runway to allow early career scientists (no more than seven years removed from their Ph.D.) up to a three year period to work on ideas they can turn into proposals for either direct DOE programmatic funding or the DOE Early Career Award program. The goal is to provide a path for early career scientists to become independent scientists and principal investigators (PIs). In FY23, the Lab is funding five new PIs, in addition to the nine continuations that began in FYs 2021 and 2022.
The ECD track has been recognized by the DOE as a successful model; similar programs have sprung up at other locations in the DOE National Lab system.
Finally, Area Priority projects were selected with input from each proposal’s direct Division and Associate Lab Director with focus on topics that were of significant and targeted relevance to their Divisions and Area.
For additional information about the FY24 LDRD application process and deadlines please visit the Lab’s informational LDRD web page located here: Visit the Lab’s LDRD webpage.