DOE - Office of Science

The U.S. is sunsetting research collaborations with Russia in response to its war against Ukraine, joining a coalition of countries that have already moved to restrict ties with research institutions affiliated with the Russian government.

According to a new advisory panel report, the U.S. is losing ground to Europe and China in several key research areas supported by the Department of Energy's Basic Energy Sciences program. The report recommends several strategies for better retaining talent in the U.S. and maintaining world-leading facilities.

The House and Senate both propose to increase funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science in fiscal year 2022. While the proposed funding levels are similar to the amount requested by the administration, they fall well short of those recommended in recent House-passed legislation and could result in slower progress on certain projects.

The National Academies has kicked off development of a strategy for the Department of Energy's low-dose radiation research program. DOE terminated the program in 2016 but recently revived it at the behest of Congress.

Physical chemist Geri Richmond and soil scientist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe appeared before a Senate committee this week for a hearing on their nominations to assume the top two science jobs in the Department of Energy. Both nominees appear likely to secure Senate confirmation, despite the top committee Republican questioning Berhe’s qualifications.

The Biden administration is requesting a 6% budget increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science, even as the office shoulders an increasing cost burden from its construction portfolio and expands its work on special initiatives.

The House Science Committee has introduced a bipartisan bill that recommends Congress ramp up funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science from $7 billion to nearly $11 billion over the next five years. It also updates policy guidance for the office’s research programs and sets funding targets for its major facility projects.

Funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science is increasing marginally in fiscal year 2021. Most of its component programs will receive steady funding, though office-wide initiatives in quantum information science and artificial intelligence are receiving substantial boosts, and work is ramping up on the proposed Electron Ion Collider and Cosmic Microwave Background-S4 projects.

The Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee has unanimously approved a strategic plan to guide the Department of Energy’s efforts in fusion energy and plasma physics research over the next decade.

FYI spoke with Department of Energy Office of Science Director Chris Fall about a range of issues bearing on the national lab system, including a new “Labs of the Future” thought exercise, pandemic recovery, diversity initiatives, and research security.