Genomic Science Program
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Biological and Environmental Research Program

DOE Announces $73 Million for Basic Research to Accelerate the Transition from Discovery to Commercialization

Projects Focus on Key Technology Areas to Address Critical Gaps Early in the Innovation Cycle

September 11, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $73 million in funding for 11 projects that focus on the goal of accelerating the transition from discovery to commercialization of new technologies that will form the basis of future industries.

This goal will require basic research to be conducted with an eye to an innovation’s end application, considering discovery, creation, and production of materials and technologies with approaches that can be scaled and readily transitioned into new products and capabilities to support the economic health and security of the nation.

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE National Laboratory Program Announcement for research to Accelerate Innovations in Emerging Technologies.

Projects funded as part of the Accelerate initiative include:

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will lead a project to study and model behavior of microbes in bioreactors to address why promising biomanufacturing processes that work well in the laboratory often fail when scaled up for mass production in industrial-size bioreactors.
  • 2 projects aim to accelerate advances in next-generation microelectronics.
    • Brookhaven National Laboratory will lead a project to develop novel materials to produce next-generation semiconductors with subnanometer dimensions.
    • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility will lead a project to develop concepts for superconducting microelectronics to achieve ultra-energy-efficient computing.
  • Argonne National Laboratory will lead a project to develop innovations that combine robotics, human interfaces, digital twins, and artificial intelligence to replace 80-year-old technologies currently used to produce isotopes used in medical diagnostics and treatments, research, and industrial applications.
  • A project led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory will combine additive manufacturing with integrated remote handling and radiation-hardened sensors to develop an in situ repair technology for safe and efficient maintenance of plasma-facing components in a fusion energy plant.
  • 2 projects will enhance technologies used for fundamental physics studies and other applications.
    • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will lead a project that seeks to scale up large particle detectors to enable future discoveries of new particles, yield full precision characterization of the Higgs boson, and elucidate the nature of dark matter.
    • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility will lead a project to address bottlenecks in superconducting radio-frequency technologies to greatly simplify operation of accelerators used for basic research and industrial applications.

“This research will integrate novel concepts and approaches in use-inspired basic research to address gaps or challenges that limit the ultimate transition to applied research for further development and demonstration,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the Office of Science. “Achieving these research goals will greatly accelerate the innovation cycle, which currently can take years to decades to realize.”

The multidisciplinary programs are supported by Office of Science programs in Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Biological and Environmental Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics, and the DOE Isotope Program.

The projects have multi-institutional teams, each led by a national laboratory with partners from other national laboratories, industries, and universities, often including historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions, thereby providing an outstanding opportunity for workforce development in a highly multidisciplinary research environment.

Total funding is $73 million for projects lasting up to 2 years in duration, with $38 million in Fiscal Year 2023 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The list of projects and more information can be found on the Office of Science Funding Opportunities page.