Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $105 million for research in biopreparedness. This funding, provided by the Office of Science, will support fundamental research to accelerate breakthroughs in support of the Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative. 

“BRaVE will take advantage of DOE’s unique capabilities and facilities in physical, computational, and life sciences to support our nation’s biopreparedness and response to future pandemics and other biological threats,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, DOE’s Director of the Office of Science. “The knowledge and capabilities advanced by this research will have broader impacts in energy, climate change, food security, health, sustainability, and other areas critical to national and economic security.”    

During the COVID crisis, DOE’s national laboratory researchers provided epidemiological information to decision makers, assessed and developed new virus testing protocols, identified high potential candidates for antiviral drugs and delivered manufacturing solutions to stem the shortages of face masks, test kits, and other supplies. In addition, DOE’s user facilities supported researchers in the fight against COVID-19, including providing X-ray structural information that supported the development of all three vaccines approved in the U.S., as well as FDA-approved antiviral drugs and antibodies.

BRaVE will build upon these high impact results to provide the underpinning science to enable DOE’s strategy for biopreparedness and response by focusing on five focus areas.

  • Decipher Host-pathogen Dynamics in Real Time for New Mitigation Strategies
  • Reveal Molecular Interactions Across Biological Scales for Design of Targeted Interventions
  • Elucidate Multiscale Ecosystem Complexities for Robust Epidemiological Modeling
  • Realize Understanding to Accelerate Design, Discovery, and Manufacturing of Materials
  • Advance Innovations in User Facility Instrumentation, Experimental Techniques, and Data Analytics

Applications are open to the DOE national laboratories. Partnerships with other institutions, including academia, other national laboratories, not-for-profit organizations, or industry, are strongly encouraged. To strengthen the commitment to promoting a diversity of investigators and institutions supported by the DOE Office of Science, applications are explicitly encouraged that involve Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

Total combined planned funding is up to $105 million over three years, with $35 million in Fiscal Year 2023 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The funding anticipated for each award is $2M to $4M per year.   

The program announcement, sponsored by the Offices of Advanced Scientific Research Computing, Basic Energy Sciences, and Biological and Environmental Research within the Department’s Office of Science, can be found here.