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University of Wisconsin–Madison

DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC)

To:Chairs and Administrators, Departments in the Biological & Physical Sciences; Associate Deans for Research; College/School Research Administrators
From:Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education
Date:February 14, 2017
Subject:DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC)


Deadline for Internal Review:March 20, 2017

Project Description

The Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science established the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) program, to accelerate such transformative discovery, combining the talents and creativity of our national scientific workforce with a powerful new generation of tools for penetrating, understanding, and manipulating matter on the atomic and molecular scales.

These integrated, multi-investigator Centers involve partnerships among universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit firms that will conduct fundamental research focusing on one or more “grand challenges” and use­-inspired “basic research needs” identified in major strategic planning efforts by the scientific community.

The EFRC program commenced in 2009; 46 centers were selected based on scientific peer review and funded at the $2-5M per year level for five years.  An open re-competition of the program in 2014 resulted in four-year awards to 32 centers, 22 of which were renewals of existing EFRCs and 10 of which were new EFRCs.

We anticipate that there will be a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) later this year (2017), similar to the one in 2014, for an open competition for new EFRCs.

Success in pursuing large-scale center proposals requires significant advance planning — typically far more than the amount of time given between an actual FOA and the proposal deadline.  Therefore, in anticipation of a forthcoming FOA, we are conducting an early internal competition for this anticipated limited submission opportunity.

Amount per Award:      $2- $4 million per year
Number of Awards:       The award size will depend on the merit review , the number of meritorious applications, and the availability of appropriated funds.


The DOE will limit the number of proposals that an institution may submit as the lead.  To increase the likelihood of success in pursuing an EFRC, UW–Madison will submit no more than two proposals.


Internal Competition Application Instructions

Applications for Internal Review

To submit your white paper, please email a PDF of no more than 5 pages to
Please provide a description of the following key areas:

  1. Center Mission, Science Goals and Research Thrusts
  2. Research Team
  3. Research Infrastructure Available Within the Team
  4. Research Infrastructure Needed External to the Team (e.g., user facilities)
  5. Advisory Board Performance Assessment and Oversight

Sponsor Deadlines

Letters of Intent are due to DOE (expected) by November 15, 2017. Applications are due to DOE (expected) by January 15, 2018.