Skip Navigation

ORAU supports principal investigators meeting for Energy Frontier Research Centers

Energy Frontier Research Centers, Energy Technology Research, Principal Investigators' Meeting, Peer Review and Evaluation, DOE Office of Science

In 2009, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-SC) established 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) in an effort to connect world-class teams of researchers and scientists from universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit firms for the purpose of tackling some of the nation’s most difficult scientific challenges currently hindering energy technology advancements. Since then, the program has encouraged high-risk/high-reward research; brought together cross-disciplinary teams to accelerate transformational results; and helped to train the next generation of energy scientists by attracting exceptional students and postdoctoral researchers.

In FY13, DOE hosted the EFRC Principal Investigators’ Meeting, which brought together EFRC principal investigators, postdoctoral researchers, and students, as well DOE staff and external experts to discuss the accomplishments of the EFRCs, explore the scientific challenges to our nation’s energy future, and promote synergies across the EFRCs and throughout the energy enterprise. ORAU peer review specialists assisted DOE-SC in preparing for and implementing the 500-attendee meeting by arranging and coordinating meeting space for general sessions, parallel scientific sessions, poster sessions, registration, signs and onsite support. ORAU staff coordinated the 2009 peer reviews of applications that led to $777M in awards funding the 46 centers, and coordinated the 2011 EFRC Summit & Forum, “Science for our Nation’s Future” which highlighted early successes of the centers and promoted collaboration across the national energy enterprise. ORAU staff coordinated progress reviews of the Centers in 2012.

The centers, which were selected by scientific peer review and funded at $2-5 million per year for a five-year initial award period, conduct research necessary for advancing clean energy technologies such as solar energy utilization, clean and efficient combustion, electrical energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, advanced nuclear systems, catalysis, materials in extreme environments, hydrogen science, solid state lighting, and superconductivity. The EFRCs also address scientific “grand challenges” such as acquiring the ability to direct and control matter all the way down to molecular, atomic and electronic levels.

Providing an important bridge between basic research and technology transfer, the centers have resulted in more than 200 patent applications for new energy technologies. EFRC-affiliated researchers have received 18 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers; 11 Department of Energy Early Career Awards; and have authored more than 3,400 peer-reviewed publications, including more than 110 publications in Science and Nature.

More peer review success stories | Scientific peer review home