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Energy Dept. Commits $777 Million to Energy Frontier Research Centers

The United States Department of Energy recently announced that it will establish 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers through its Office of Science to "accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy." The department is committing $777 million over the next five years to the effort.

Of the 46 EFRCs, 31 will be led by universities. Three of them--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin--will lead two EFRCs each.

"As global energy demand grows over this century, there is an urgent need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil and curtail greenhouse gas emissions," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a prepared statement. "Meeting this challenge will require significant scientific advances. These Centers will mobilize the enormous talents and skills of our nation's scientific workforce in pursuit of the breakthroughs that are essential to make alternative and renewable energy truly viable as large-scale replacements for fossil fuels."

Individual EFRCs being led by higher education institutions include:

National laboratories and both for-profit and non-profit organizations will lead the remainder of the centers. Each will be funded at a level of $2 million to $5 million per year for a five-year period initially. All told, some 110 institutions will participate in the research efforts. Those involved hail from 36 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Department of Energy, "In all, the EFRCs will involve nearly 700 senior investigators and employ, on a full- or part-time basis, over 1,100 postdoctoral associates, graduate students, undergraduate students, and technical staff. Roughly a third of these researchers will be supported by [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funding."

Further information on each of the EFRCs can be found in a PDF published by the Energy Department here.

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