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.
FY 2023 Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) Announcement Number: LAB 23-2955. Department of Energy Offices of Advanced Scientific Research Computing (ASCR) Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Biological and Environmental Research (BER), 24 January 2023.
The DOE Office of Science (SC) announces its interest in receiving proposals from multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams led by DOE National Laboratories for support of national biopreparedness and response capabilities that can be advanced with DOE’s distinctive capabilities. In 2020, DOE established the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL) to assemble capabilities and expertise across all of DOE’s 17 national laboratories to address key technical issues in the fight against COVID-19. Within a few months, the NVBL delivered highly impactful results that provided epidemiological information to decision makers, assessed and developed new virus testing protocols, identified high potential candidates for antiviral drugs, provided information on the fate and transport of the virus in buildings and other enclosed spaces, and delivered manufacturing solutions to stem the shortages of face masks, test kits, and other supplies. In addition, DOE’s user facilities supported researchers from academe, industry, and government 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. In FY 2022, Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) was initiated, which leverages the highly successful framework established by the NVBL and broadens its capabilities to provide new capabilities for biopreparedness, taking advantage of its unique capabilities and facilities in physical, computational, and life sciences and its integrative, cross-disciplinary, and collaborative tradition across experiments, models, and analyses.
Towards this goal, SC announces its interest in receiving research proposals from multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams led by DOE National Laboratories to advance capabilities in biopreparedness by addressing the focus areas identified in the Supplementary Information below. Achieving these research objectives would revolutionize our understanding of the science underlying a range of potential biological events and transform the nation’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, future biological threats. Research supported by this program announcement may be synergistic with efforts associated with other federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.