Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC)

The mission of the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program is to support fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE’s mission emphases in energy, the environment, and national security. BES has long invested in innovative basic research to advance the DOE mission through BES’s core research areas.  
The EFRC program, initiated in 2009, brings together the skills, talents, and expertise of teams of scientists to perform energy-relevant, basic research with a scope and complexity beyond what is possible in standard single-investigator or small-group awards. These multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary centers enable, encourage, and accelerate transformative scientific advances for the most challenging topics in materials sciences, chemical sciences, geosciences, and biosciences. EFRCs conduct fundamental research focused on one or more grand challenges, transformative opportunities, and basic research needs identified in major strategic planning efforts by BES and the scientific community.  
More information about the EFRC program can be found here:  
Establishing Priority Research Directions for Basic Energy Science 
In 2002, the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) invited leaders of the scientific community to a weeklong workshop to assess the scope of fundamental scientific research that must be considered to address the DOE mission. This resulted in the 2003 report, Basic Research Needs to Assure a Secure Energy Future. Over the last decade and a half, that report inspired a series of “Basic Research Needs” workshops involving thousands of participants from universities, industry, and national laboratories, which established Priority Research Directions (PRDs) for basic energy science. In addition, in recent years BES has organized focused Roundtable Discussions that have led to reports that identify Priority Research Opportunities (PROs) in areas of strategic interest. Together, the reports from these workshops highlight the remarkable scientific evolution that has taken place during the past few decades. The resulting scientific challenges describe a new era of science in which researchers can design, manipulate, and ultimately control materials functionalities and chemical transformations. 

• Roundtable on Chemical Upcycling of Polymers:  

• Basic Research Needs for Microelectronics:  

• Roundtable on Opportunities for Basic Research for Next-Generation Quantum Systems:

• Basic Research Needs for Environmental Management:  

Applications submitted in response to this FOA must propose scientific research that addresses PRDs/PROs identified in one or more of the four bold, bulleted reports listed on pages 3-5 of the funding opportunity announcement. Applications that address PRDs/PROs identified only in other reports NOT explicitly listed in this FOA will be considered non-responsive to the FOA and will be declined without review.


Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

DOE expects to make multiple EFRC awards for a period of up to four years for each award.

DOE anticipates that award sizes will range from $2,000,000 per year to $4,000,000 per year. The award sizes will depend on the merit review, the number of meritorious applications, and the availability of appropriated funds.



The EFRC Director is the lead Principal Investigator and must be employed or have an agreement in place to be hired by the lead organization. An individual may not be named as the EFRC Director on more than one application. Directors of existing EFRC awards that do not have project end dates in 2020 cannot be named as the EFRC Director on any application in response to this FOA.

Link to Funding Opportunity Announcement

Submission Process

Step 1

In ONE PDF, please provide:

  1. A one-page, 12-point font, one-inch margin cover letter, including the following elements:
    1.  Pre-application Title (this is the EFRC Name)
    2.  Lead Principal Investigator Name, Job Title, Email address (this is the EFRC Director)
    3.  Lead Organization
    4.  List of all Partner Organizations
    5.  Funding Opportunity Announcement Number: DE-FOA-0002204 
  2. Up to two pages containing the following elements:
    1. A clear and concise statement of the scientific mission of the proposed EFRC;
    2. An explicit set of four-year research goals designed to support that mission;
    3. A discussion of how the proposed research is responsive to the objectives of this FOA. Specifically, to be responsive the research must address the priority research directions or opportunities identified in one or more of the Basic Research Needs and Roundtable reports listed in Section I of this FOA; address one or more of the grand challenges defined in the report Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination; and embody one or more of the transformative opportunities defined in the report Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative Opportunities for Discovery Science.
  3. An NIH or NSF Style Biosketch

Please send this PDF as an e-mail attachment to by 5 pm December 11, 2019.

Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection on or around December 16, 2019.

Step 3

The final proposal must be received by the Office of Research Administration by January 13, 2020, at 5:00 pm EST.

Step 4

The final proposal must be received by the sponsor by January 16, 2020, at 5:00 pm EST.


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
12/11/2019 12/16/2019 01/13/2020 01/16/2020 CLOSED