NSF and DOE Announce Partnership for Science and Engineering Research

May 6, 2022 — The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy, through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding on March 23, 2022, continuing their longstanding partnership for collaboration on scientific and engineering research to bolster national energy policy.

Madison College graduate Mike Reuter (in blue helmet) leads a solar panel installation crew for a renewable energy program sponsored by the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education located at the Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin. With a focus on two-year Institutions of Higher Education, NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program supports the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy.

The Memorandum of Understanding enables additional cooperation between the two agencies where mutually beneficial opportunities emerge. NSF and DOE EERE often have complementary roles in fostering U.S. research and innovation, and together they advance discoveries from the laboratory bench to commercial implementation.

“NSF’s clean-energy investments create broad new understanding and innovations with the potential to increase energy efficiency, enhance sustainability, mitigate climate change, or lead to other societal benefits,” said Susan Margulies, NSF assistant director for Engineering. “We look forward to partnering with the Department of Energy to speed the translation of these advances for the benefit of the nation and a clean energy future.”

Topics for research collaboration could include bioenergy, building and water treatment technologies, hydrogen and fuel cells, and renewable energy technologies, as well as agriculture, critical minerals and materials, and manufacturing, as well as the social, behavioral and economic aspects of new technologies and energy-related policies. Collaboration could extend to research infrastructure, university-industry partnerships, education and workforce development, and activities for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“The MOU represents a collaborative approach to researching technology solutions that will help decarbonize the U.S. economy no later than 2050,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “This partnership will prioritize solutions that benefit workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system.”

The partnership will build upon previous collaborative activities such as NSF’s Civic Innovation Challenge, Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future, and Engineering Research Centers programs, and through joint support of vehicle battery and charging research across NSF and DOE EERE research facilities.

In January 2022, the agencies began a program for Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaboration between NSF and the DOE BETO-funded Agile BioFoundry.

About the National Science Foundation

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

Source: NSF