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Office of the Director

TO:  Associate Lab Directors, Division Directors, Division Deputies, all other LBNL Scientists
FR:  Paul Alivisatos, Laboratory Director
CC:  Deputy Laboratory Director, Chief Financial Officer, Chief of Staff, Business Managers, LDRD Coordinator  
DT:  December 20, 2013
RE:  Laboratory Directed Research and Development FY 2015 Call for Proposals

With this Call for Proposals, I am initiating the FY 2015 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program. The LDRD program 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’s and DOE’s strategic directions. Multi-investigator and multi-divisional initiatives are particularly encouraged.   For the FY 2015 cycle, we will review a first subset of proposals as Lab-initiatives, and a second subset as Area proposals.

Successful Lab-initiative related proposals will likely advance lab strategy in:
  • extreme data for science
  • ALS-II science and technology
  • microbes to biomes
Additionally, the ALDs, Deputy Lab Director, and I have agreed on a set of high-priority topics for Area LDRD proposal submissions:
  • Biosciences: i) cost-effective energy solutions that reduce the impacts of fuel production; ii) ecosystem research to improve environmental quality and the efficient use of resources; iii) biological response to environmental challenges to improve human health and biosphere fitness; and, iv) scalable and flexible biomanufacturing technologies for cost-effective solutions to problems in energy, environment, and health

  • Computing Sciences: i) new mathematical approaches for enhancing scientific discovery; and, ii) advanced networking for data-intensive sciences

  • Energy Sciences--all aspects of mesoscale science including: i) systems for energy conversion with bio-inspired functionality; ii) in situ and in operando chemistry; iii) adaptive materials; and, iv) Earth material properties and dynamics

  • Energy Technologies: i) measurement, control, and communication techniques for energy and environmental systems; ii) climate change - mitigation and adaptation through novel technologies, simulations, and policies; iii) energy technologies and policies for developing countries; and, iv) water-climate-energy dependencies and trajectories, including impacts to water quality

  • Physical Sciences: i) scientific opportunities in high energy and nuclear physics; ii) advanced accelerator systems; iii) development of novel technical capabilities especially microelectronics; iv) semiconductor detectors, superconducting magnets and composite materials; and v) community impact of nuclear energy.

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 may involve higher-gain, higher-risk ideas.

For the FY 2015 cycle, Lab-initiative related proposals will be reviewed by a broad representation of all senior managers.  The Area LDRD submissions will be reviewed and assessed this year by scientific Area priority; i.e. the Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) and the Division Directors within each Area will rank proposals within that Area, and then make recommendations to the Deputy Laboratory Director and Laboratory Director. It will be important to read the full Call for Proposals for further guidance and detailed instructions.

The total funding level of the FY 2015 LDRD program is estimated to be about $23M for operating and capital equipment expenses (including G&A). Capital equipment funding requests in LDRDs must support a project that receives LDRD operating funds. This Call for Proposals (CFP) will be announced in Today at Berkeley Lab, and a copy of this memo will be emailed directly to Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers. The complete call, schedule, guidance, and forms will be available on the Web ( 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 Monday, March 3, 2014. For any other questions or assistance, please e-mail LDRD Coordinator, Darren Ho (