GT announces launch of the internal Energy Frontier Research Centers competition


Susan Roche, 404.894.8022

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DOE, BES announce Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC), encourages both new and renewal applications

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  • DOE announces competition of Energy Frontier Research Centers DOE announces competition of Energy Frontier Research Centers

Georgia Tech is pleased to announce the launch of the GT internal Energy Frontier Research Centers competition. 

  • Internal LOI Submission Deadline: Thursday, December 14, 2017
  • Internal Proposal Submission Deadline: Thursday, December 14, 2017
  • Funding Organization's Deadline: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
  • Award Cycle: 2018
  • Description: 

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) announces a re-competition of the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) and encourages both new and renewal applications. Applications will be required to address priority research directions identified by the series of “Basic Research Needs” reports, the scientific grand challenges identified in the report Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination, and the opportunities described in the report Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative Opportunities for Discovery Science. Applications submitted in response to this FOA must propose scientific research that addresses PRDs identified in one or more of these reports.

Note: DOE anticipates awards in a number of different scientific research areas. When making selections, DOE will emphasize emerging science priorities that have been highlighted in recent workshops, including:

  • quantum materials,
  • catalysis science,
  • synthesis science,
  • instrumentation science,
  • next-generation energy storage,
  • future nuclear energy, and
  • energy-water issues.

In order to address these priorities, DOE plans to deemphasize the following topical areas:

  • phenomena related to more mature areas of solar photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and solid-state lighting;
  • carbon dioxide sequestration; and
  • biologically-mediated breakdown and conversion of lignocellulosic biomass.

Scientific research related to environmental management will not be supported under this FOA, as this was the subject of a targeted EFRC FOA in FY2016.

Science “Grand Challenges” and “Transformative Opportunities”
The BES mission to direct and control matter at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, requires new insights into the complexity that governs material properties and processes at the quantum level. A 2007 workshop examined the primary roadblocks to progress and resulted in the following BESAC report, which defined five “grand challenges” for science:

Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination.
In this report, a new era for energy science was posed in five “grand challenges”:

  • How do we control material processes at the level of electrons?
  • How do we design and perfect atom- and energy-efficient synthesis of revolutionary new forms of matter with tailored properties?
  • How do remarkable properties of matter emerge from complex correlations of the atomic or electronic constituents and how can we control these properties?
  • How can we master energy and information on the nanoscale to create new technologies with capabilities rivaling those of living things?
  • How do we characterize and control matter away – especially very far away – from equilibrium?

In 2015, in response to a charge to revisit this so-called “grand challenge” report, BESAC convened a committee of experts and issued the following report:
Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative Opportunities for Discovery Science.
This report identified five “transformative opportunities” for discovery science:

  • Mastering Hierarchical Architectures and Beyond-Equilibrium Matter
  • Beyond Ideal Materials and Systems: Understanding the Critical Roles of Heterogeneity, Interfaces, and Disorder
  • Harnessing Coherence in Light and Matter
  • Revolutionary Advances in Models, Mathematics, Algorithms, Data, and Computing
  • Exploiting Transformative Advances in Imaging Capabilities across Multiple Scales

Applications submitted in response to this FOA must propose research that addresses one or more of the “grand challenges” and that embodies one or more of the “transformative opportunities.”

The primary purpose of the EFRCs is to support integrated, multi-disciplinary teams of researchers performing fundamental science; therefore dissemination of results through peer-reviewed publications is a necessary measure of success. In addition, DOE anticipates that some EFRC basic research will have potential technological value. When appropriate, EFRCs are encouraged to file for patent protection. Recipients are also encouraged to explore opportunities to accelerate the transition of promising scientific results to technology development and commercial applications outside of the EFRC; EFRC awards must not support applied research and technology development.

Institutional Limits

GT is limited to the submission of three (3) proposals as the lead institution, therefore GT will conduct an internal selection process to determine the institutional applicants.

Award Timeline

  • GT Letter of Intent due - December 14, 2017
  • GT Internal Pre Proposals due - December 21, 2017
  • GT Institutional Nominee notifications issued - January 5, 2017
  • NSF Deadline for Proposal Submission - January 31, 2018

GT Internal Competition Process:

1) Letter of Intent due by December 14, 2017.

  • To submit, please complete the LOI form at the link associated with this notification. (No actual, additional letter is required.)
  • You will receive system confirmation of acceptance into this competition.
  • You will receive an additional system notification when the LOI competition is converted to open the window for submission of GT Internal Pre Proposal packages.

2) GT Internal Pre Proposal Packages due by December 21, 2017.

  • After the LOI deadline, the LOI page will be converted to the GT Internal Competition. All applicants who have received an LOI acceptance, will receive a notification advising of the conversion and providing access to submit to the internal competition.
  • The GT Internal Pre Proposal package as detailed below, can then be uploaded as a single .pdf format file.
    • Project Summary, 3 page maximum, which briefly describes:
      • Scientific Mission and goals
      • Brief description of scientific methods/approaches
      • Importance of proposed research and potential impact
      • A statement about how this proposed research is responsive to the FOA.

Selection Criteria

All submissions will be evaluated and rated by a selection committee using the following selection criteria:

§  Responsiveness to FOA

§  Scientific and technical merit

§  Appropriateness of the proposed research approaches

§  Likelihood of scientific impact

For More Information

View Letter of Intent

Additional Information


Georgia Tech Materials Institute, Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI)

Institute and Campus
Related Core Research Areas
Energy and Sustainable Infrastructure, Materials, Renewable Bioproducts
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  • Created By: Kelly Smith
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Dec 5, 2017 - 2:04pm
  • Last Updated: Dec 5, 2017 - 2:04pm