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Office of the Director


With this Call for Proposals (please see attached), I am initiating the FY2019 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program, which constitutes one of the principal means to seed innovative science and new research directions.

An important factor in judging proposals will be their support of competencies aligned with the Laboratory and DOE's strategies. Multi-investigator and multi-divisional initiatives are particularly encouraged. For the FY2019 cycle, we will review a first subset of proposals as Lab-wide initiatives and a second subset as Area Initiative proposals.

The following Lab-wide initiatives are in alphabetical order only and do not indicate any particular priority. Successful Lab-wide initiative related proposals will likely advance Lab strategy in:

  • Advanced Biogenics Chemicals and Materials
  • Machine Learning for Science
  • Water-Energy Nexus

Additionally, the Deputy Lab Director for Research, the ALDs and I have agreed on a set of high-priority topics for Area LDRD proposal submissions, which are listed below (also in alphabetical order):

  • Biosciences
    1. Biological Dark Matter
    2. Modeling the biology: environment interface;
    3. Integrated analysis from Molecular to Mesoscale;
    4. Molecules-to-Minds Program.
  • Computing Sciences
    1. New cross-divisional partnerships, including ones that explore new "superfacility" drivers;
    2. New mathematics that enable increasing capability in modeling and analysis;
    3. New models of programming and systems software for resilience, security, productivity;
    4. Design and evaluation of new computer architectures for increased performance beyond transistor scaling.
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
    1. Dynamic biological-environmental interactions with climate extremes;
    2. Subsurface properties and dynamics;
    3. System resilience to climate change and natural hazards
  • Energy Sciences: Novel theoretical and experimental approaches for:
    1. In situ and/or multimodal imaging and spectroscopic characterization techniques that expand time and length scales;
    2. In situ and operando chemistry;
    3. Rational design of materials and material structures with potentially useful emergent phases, topologies, and quantum behaviors;
    4. Synthetic methods for novel chemicals and materials;
    5. Material systems with bio-inspired and bio-compatible functionalities.
  • Energy Technologies
    1. Next Gen Grid: measurement, control, and communication techniques for energy and environmental systems, particularly, focused on next generation Grid and energy distribution;
    2. Urban Systems with a strong focus on buildings efficiency, plus building and city scale resilience;
    3. EV Everywhere: next generation transportation including low cost storage concepts, EVs as a part of the grid, and integration of transportation with buildings;
    4. Advanced Manufacturing – this will be a new focal point for this year and we are looking for proposals that will help establish LBNL as a key player in the Manufacturing space, with a focus on energy systems (generation, storage, additive manufacturing, 3-D printing);
    5. Energy Efficient Electronics for Beyond Moore's Law: New concepts, manufacturability, public-private partnerships;
    6. Transforming transport, storage, conversion and utilization of heat (HEATER)
  • Physical Sciences
    1. New scientific opportunities in particle physics and cosmology;
    2. New opportunities in nuclear science;
    3. Advanced accelerator systems for colliders and other applications;
    4. Novel technical capabilities, especially microelectronics, semiconductor detectors, "quantum information science" sensors, superconducting magnets.

An important priority for the Physical Sciences Area is to establish the technical capabilities for Berkeley Lab leadership roles in upcoming scientific opportunities identified in the Nuclear Physics Long Range Plan and the High Energy Physics P5 report. These include the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), the Stage 4 Cosmic Microwave Background project (CMB S4), long baseline neutrino experiments, ton-scale neutrino-less double-beta decay experiments, high power lasers, and other opportunities.

All projects should have: a clearly stated problem (addressing a challenging scientific question, DOE mission, or national need); coherent objectives; and a well-considered plan for leadership, organization, and budget. Lab initiative proposals should support the high-level strategic goals of the Lab. Area proposals will be evaluated on their novelty and scientific quality, and should involve higher-risk, higher-reward ideas.

For the FY 2019 cycle, Lab-initiative related proposals will be reviewed by a broad representation of Lab senior managers. The Area LDRD submissions will be reviewed and assessed this year by scientific Area Initiative: The Associate Laboratory Director and the Division Directors within each Area will rank proposals within that Area, and then make recommendations to the Deputy Laboratory Director for Research and the Laboratory Director. Please read the full Call for Proposals for further guidance and detailed instructions.

The total funding level of the FY 2019 LDRD program is estimated to be about $22M for operating and capital equipment expenses (including site support overhead). Capital equipment funding requests in LDRDs must support a project that receives LDRD operating funds. This Call for Proposals (CFP) will be announced in TABL, and a copy of this memo will be emailed directly to Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers. You can find the complete call, schedule, guidance, and forms here. All proposals are to be submitted through a web-based submission system that can be accessed via the CFP website.

Proposals should be put into the submission system by Friday, March 23, 2018. For any other questions or assistance, please e-mail Darren Ho, the LDRD Coordinator.

Best regards,