DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO). Applications led by or in partnership with Minority Serving Institutions and applications including individuals from historically underrepresented groups in STEM are strongly encouraged.

Program Summary

The DOE SC program in Basic Energy Sciences (BES) announces a re-competition of the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) program and encourages both new and renewal applications. Applications from multi-disciplinary teams will be required to propose discovery science and use-inspired basic research that addresses priority research directions and opportunities identified by a series of BES workshop and roundtable reports. The focus of the EFRC program is on fundamental scientific research, therefore applications to this FOA must not propose applied research and technology development activities.

BES is soliciting renewal applications for basic science in three topical areas:

  1. Basic Research Needs for Transformative Manufacturing: This BRN Report identified five PRDs that lay the scientific foundation to go beyond incremental improvements to create new approaches for manufacturing that are energy efficient and sustainable. Applications must be responsive to one or more of the PRDs.
  2. Roundtable on Opportunities for Basic Research for Next-Generation Quantum Systems: This report identified four PROs in the area of fundamental research for quantum systems. Applications must be responsive to one or both of the following two PROs:
    • PRO 3: Discover Novel Approaches for Quantum-to-Quantum Transduction
    • PRO 4: Implement New Quantum Methods for Advanced Sensing and Process Control
  3. Basic Research Needs for Environmental Management: This report lays out key PRDs that are most likely to have a dramatic future impact on cleanup and long-term storage of nuclear waste. Applications must be responsive to the following PRD:
    • PRD 1: Elucidating and exploiting complex speciation and reactivity far from equilibrium

BES is soliciting new applications for basic science in two topical areas:

1. Co-design of materials and processes to revolutionize microelectronics and/or QIS fabrication: Co-design is a paradigm that provides scientific foundations for the creation of new materials, chemical processes, or systems by addressing the ubiquitous manufacturing challenge of simultaneously satisfying multiple performance objectives. Fundamental science questions related to co-design and fabrication are discussed in the Basic Research Needs (BRN) for Transformative Manufacturing Report. New applications in this topic must satisfy the following two conditions:

  • Primarily addresses PRD 5: Co-Design Materials, Processes, and Products to Revolutionize Manufacturing
  • Focuses on either microelectronics and/or QIS fabrication

Additional information about basic science challenges for fabrication in microelectronics and QIS are contained in the following BES reports:

2. Environmental management: Fundamental science questions related to cleanup of nuclear waste are discussed in the Basic Research Needs for Environmental Management Report. New applications must be responsive to the following PRD:

  • PRD 1: Elucidating and exploiting complex speciation and reactivity far from equilibrium


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MT February 14, 2024

DOE Pre-Application Deadline: 3pm MT February 28, 2024

DOE Application Deadline: 9:59pm MT May 8, 2024

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Narrative (3 pages maximum): 1) Background/Introduction: explain the importance of the proposed research described in the application and its potential scientific impact; 2) Project Objectives: provide a clear, concise statement of the scientific mission of the proposed EFRC; 3) Proposed Research and Methods: provide detailed information about the proposed scientific research for the EFRC and the methods to be employed; 4) EFRC Management Plan: provide a clear, substantive overview of the management and organization of the proposed EFRC; and 5) Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plan: describe the activities and strategies to promote equity and inclusion as an intrinsic element to advancing scientific excellence in the research project within the context of the proposing institution and any associated research group(s)
  • Lead PI/EFRC Director Curriculum Vitae
  • List of Partner Organizations
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit:


Applications for multi-institutional teams must ensure that the lead institution requests more funding from DOE than any other team member for the life of the award. The lead PI of a multi- institutional team must be an employee of the lead institution. Requests to change the institution receiving the greatest funding after an application is submitted will result in the application being declined unless the request is the result of the lead PI’s death, incapacitation, or relocation.

Applications led by or in partnership with Minority Serving Institutions and applications including individuals from historically underrepresented groups in STEM are strongly encouraged.

An individual may not be named as the PI (EFRC Director) on more than one pre-application or application. Directors of existing EFRC awards that do not have project end dates in 2024 cannot be named as the EFRC Director on any pre-application or application in response to this FOA.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Applicant institutions are limited to no more than two pre-applications or applications as the lead institution.

Award Information

Award Amount: $2,000,000 - $4,000,000

Award Duration: Up to 4 years

Review Criteria


  • What is the scientific innovation of the proposed research?
  • What is the likelihood of achieving valuable results?
  • How might the results of the proposed work impact the direction, progress, and thinking in relevant scientific fields of research?
  • How balanced and comprehensive is the basic research plan presented in the application and to what extent does it support experimental, theoretical, computational, and data science efforts? To what extent does the proposed research include both discovery science and use-inspired basic research?
  • How does the proposed work compare with other efforts in its field, both in terms of scientific and/or technical merit and originality?
  • Does the application specify at least one scientific hypothesis motivating the proposed work? Is the investigation of the specified hypothesis or hypotheses scientifically valuable?
  • Is the Data Management Plan suitable for the proposed research? To what extent does it support the validation of research results? To what extent will research products, including data, be made available and reusable to advance the field of research?
  • For renewal applications only: To what extent has the scientific progress made by the EFRC since the beginning of the last project period in 2020 been commensurate with the level of support? Consider, for example, if and how the scientific results achieved by the center have significantly impacted the field in which the center is operating. How does the proposed work build upon the body of research performed in the prior award period to move the project in potentially productive and impactful research directions?


  • How logical and feasible are the research approaches?
  • How does the proposed research employ innovative concepts or methods?
  • How well justified and adequately developed are the conceptual framework, methods, and analyses, and how likely are they to lead to scientifically valid conclusions?
  • How well does the applicant recognize significant potential problems and how appropriate are the alternative strategies to address these potential problems?
  • What new facilities, capabilities, or approaches have the applicants proposed to develop in order to achieve the stated scientific goals? Comment on the distinctiveness of these advances and the impact that they are likely to have on the EFRC and its field of research.
  • How well does the application justify the need for a well-integrated, collaborative EFRC? Consider, for example, whether the stated goals could be achieved by similar researchers working independently, or whether the research challenges to be addressed are those that are likely to be overcome most efficiently by a centrally-managed, well-integrated team.


  • How effectively has the applicant presented a comprehensive management plan that includes a strong lead organization, a leadership structure with clear roles and responsibilities, and a qualified and empowered EFRC Director?
  • How well does the organizational structure align with the proposed research efforts?
  • How effective is the plan for engagement of early career scientists?
  • How well does the management plan address research evaluation, adding or modifying research partners and projects, succession planning, sunsetting unproductive or completed research, and the handling of research misconduct.


  • Is the proposed Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plan suitable for the size and complexity of the proposed project and an integral component of the proposed project?
  • To what extent is the PIER plan likely to lead to participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including individuals historically underrepresented in the research community?
  • What aspects of the PIER plan are likely to contribute to the goal of creating and maintaining an equitable, inclusive, encouraging, and professional training and research environment and supporting a sense of belonging among project personnel?
  • How does the proposed plan include intentional mentorship and are the associated mentoring resources reasonable and appropriate?
  • For renewal applications only: How does the proposed plan build or expand upon strategies to promote diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion of the currently supported research?


  • For renewal applications, what is the past performance and potential of the research team?
  • How well qualified is the research team to carry out the proposed research?
  • How adequate are the research environment and facilities for performing the research?
  • How adequate are the proposed plans to take advantage of distinctive facilities and capabilities?
  • What evidence does the application present that the lead institution and the EFRC Director have proven records of success in program and personnel management of diverse teams of scientific and technical professionals for projects of comparable complexity and magnitude?
  • What evidence is presented in the application to indicate that the proposed team of researchers is likely to work together in a cohesive and integrated manner?


  • How well are the proposed budget and staffing levels aligned with the proposed research?
  • How reasonable and appropriate is the budget for the proposed scope?