Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $5 million in funding for research to advance the development of tools that effectively use real-world data—disparate data that is often difficult to readily integrate—into new models (e.g., epidemiology or therapeutic development) in support of bio-preparedness and response studies. 

Building off the success of DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory and the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, the Office of Science is establishing a Bio-preparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative to help ensure the development of scientific capabilities that aid in the prevention and response to potential biothreats. As an initial step in this activity, DOE’s Office of Science program in Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) is awarding three projects to support collaborative research to advance epidemiology frameworks and computational modeling.

“Decades of investments in basic science research and in experimental facilities, combined with the brilliant minds across the national laboratories, delivered the expertise and capabilities necessary to address many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science. “For the U.S. to be ready for the next biological crisis, we must ensure decision makers have the information they need. Advances in areas related to data assimilation for computational modeling that this call will support will allow us to be better prepared.” 

Projects include laboratory-led proposals to develop methods for calibrating models that work with real-world data which are often incomplete or messy. Investments in the automation of data workflows that are interoperable with DOE leadership computing systems will help researchers make the most of the deluge of data generated during biological events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, ensuring such workflows are interoperable with the exascale software ecosystem will help enable knowledge integration from distributed and diverse datasets.

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Laboratory Announcement for “Advancing Computer Modeling and Epidemiology for Bio-preparedness and Response,” sponsored by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research within the Department’s Office of Science. 

Total funding is $5 million for projects lasting up to two years in duration, with $5 million in Fiscal Year 2022 dollars. The list of projects and more information can be found here.