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U.S. Scientific Leadership Addressing Energy, Ecosystems, Climate, and Sustainable Prosperity

Report from the BERAC Subcommittee on International Benchmarking

The research mission of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program is to support transformative science and scientific user facilities to achieve a predictive understanding of complex biological, Earth, and environmental systems for clean energy and climate innovation. BER mission areas are strategically situated at the nexus of critical global challenges in climate change, energy transitions, and sustainable prosperity. The program’s investment portfolio supports and sustains “Big Science” to advance frontiers in genomeenabled biology and the interdependencies of physical and biogeochemical Earth system processes. BER’s world-leading facilities enable major scientific discoveries across a global network of supported researchers. Unique in scale and scope, the program’s mission areas range from molecular and genomic biosciences to the global dynamics of the atmosphere, oceans, and continents, with a common thread of life across environments. In fiscal year 2021, BER’s $753 million budget supported 1,510 PhD scientists and 530 graduate students at more than 140 academic and nonprofit organizations and at 12 DOE national laboratories. Its facilities supported more than 3,900 users globally. BER’s research investments and its experimental, observational, and computational user facilities have played central roles in (1) Nobel Prize–winning science, (2) major innovations in sustainable bioenergy, (3) world-leading ecosystem-scale experiments, (4) key global efforts addressing climate change, and (5) recent therapeutic discoveries in the fight against COVID-19. These achievements illustrate BER’s unique position in the federal funding landscape as a driver of transformative and use-inspired discovery science.

Publication Date
December, 2022