Newswise — Today the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will continue a longstanding collaboration on scientific and engineering research and enable increased partnership to address the most important challenges of the 21st century.

“This MOU will allow us to strengthen the partnership between DOE and NSF. It will expand the capabilities of each and allow us to continue to grow U.S. leadership in science and technology,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, DOE’s Director of the Office of Science. “These kinds of partnerships are key to meeting current and future scientific challenges.”

"Meeting contemporary challenges cannot be done in a vacuum. Partnerships are the best way to make an impact on the world's largest and most difficult challenges," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "As sister agencies, the DOE Office of Science and NSF share the same goals of advancing the nation’s science and technology ecosystem. This MOU enables the agencies to scale-up their impact by leveraging each other’s investments to accelerate discovery and innovation."

This MOU will build upon previous DOE and NSF research partnerships, such as collaboration on large physics experiments, coordination of environmental field resources, partnerships on basic plasma sources, quantum information sciences and technologies, and access to scientific user facilities. It will also provide opportunities to collaborate more in the areas of biotechnology, quantum information science and engineering, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced manufacturing, microelectronics, climate science, and clean energy. Growing a diverse, inclusive STEM workforce is also a priority for both agencies.

To realize the full potential of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, federal funding agencies will need to have closer coordination and increased collaboration. This MOU will help the Office of Science and NSF facilitate fulfilling engagements that will increase the impact of research and development funding.

DOE’s Office of Science is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, stewards 10 DOE national laboratories, and has a mission to deliver scientific discoveries and major scientific tools to transform our understanding of nature and advance the energy, economic, and national security of the United States. With an annual budget of $8.1B (FY 2023), the Office of Science funds research at DOE's national laboratories and at more than 340 universities and institutions of higher education. Funding from the Office of Science supports thousands of students and career scientists, as well as more than 38,000 users at 28 scientific user facilities.

NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; to secure the national defense..." Each year, NSF investments touch approximately 300,000 people through roughly 2,000 institutions in every state and territory. With an annual budget of $9.5 billion (FY 2023), NSF funds approximately 25% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science, and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

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