Department of Energy Announces $21 Million to Support Energy-Relevant Research in Underrepresented Regions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $21 million in funding for 29 new projects through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). By coupling innovative ideas from EPSCoR-eligible institutions with leading-edge capabilities at the DOE national laboratories, the grants are aimed to enhance the research of EPSCoR investigators while building expertise and capabilities that will enable the institutions to compete more successfully for other federal R&D funding. In this way, the DOE EPSCoR program advances the geographic diversity of researchers conducting competitive energy-related research.

“The EPSCoR program is a long-standing and critical pillar in the Department of Energy’s efforts to ensure that all regions and institutions, particularly those that have been historically underrepresented in Federal research funding programs, are engaged in competitive, impactful, clean-energy-relevant research,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science. “The projects selected for awards will help to build expertise and capabilities at the EPSCoR institutions and will strengthen their connections to the wealth of capabilities at the DOE national laboratories.”

The new projects announced today, distributed to colleges and universities in 18 states and Puerto Rico, span a wide range of energy research topics, including fundamental work in chemistry and materials science for clean energy, fusion energy, advanced computing, and nuclear physics, as well as early-stage R&D for advanced manufacturing, hydrogen production and utilization, bioenergy, nuclear power, and carbon management.

“I am pleased to support the work that the Department of Energy is achieving and for funding new projects through Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR),” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02). “Jackson State University will utilize the $749,981.00 in funding to enhance the research and building fundamental projects that will assist the institution.”

“Jackson State’s skilled researchers are an important part of Mississippi’s future. The Department of Energy’s award is a testament to their hard work and talent,” said Senator Roger F. Wicker (MS). “I look forward to further investment in Mississippi’s research community through the EPSCOR program, including Congressionally-appropriated funding recently approved for the National Science Foundation.”

“I’m excited to announce this funding for UNLV which will support ongoing research into improving the stability and efficiency of materials utilized in photovoltaic devices which are integral to the clean energy economy,” said Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01). “I look forward to continuing to support opportunities that put UNLV at the forefront of impactful renewable energy research as we continue to address climate change here in Nevada.” 

“West Virginia University continues to lead the way with innovative developments made possible by their research programs,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV). “Further research into the storage of hydrogen can play a critical role in advancing our energy economy in West Virginia, while also contributing to efforts that spark economic development and strengthen American energy. I have long been a champion of the DOE EPSCoR program, and I’m thrilled to see this funding headed to WVU to help further expand their research capabilities.”

“I fought for EPSCoR funding to support innovative research in Nevada that will help grow our clean-energy economy and create new jobs in the state,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV). “I’ll keep advocating to ensure our universities have the support they need to grow our workforce and drive our economy forward.”

“It’s exciting to see the Department of Energy invest EPSCoR resources to strengthen Jackson State University’s ability to contribute meaningful research to advance critical energy-relevant technologies,” said Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), who serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  “This award certainly builds on the outstanding research contributions by Mississippi universities and institutions to important scientific research.”

Projects were chosen based on competitive peer review under a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for Building EPSCoR-State/National Laboratory Partnerships. The DOE EPSCoR program is managed by the Department’s Office of Science through its Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES). Projects announced today are selections for negotiation of financial award. The list of awards from this funding opportunity can be found here.