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The US Department of Energy announces $5 Million for research for bio-preparedness

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has 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 (such as 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 accepting proposals to support collaborative research to advance epidemiology frameworks and computational modelling.

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science comments: ‘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 several challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

‘For the US 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 modelling that this call will support will allow us to be better prepared,’ Berhe continued.

The DOE announcement is soliciting 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.

Applications are open to National Laboratories selected competitively based on peer review. Eligible partner institutions including universities, non-profit research institutions, industry, other US government laboratories and federal agencies will be funded through sub-contracts. Total planned funding is up to $5 million in Fiscal Year 2022 dollars for projects of two years in duration. Research supported by this lab call may be aligned with or directly support efforts associated with other federal agencies, including the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The full text of the DOE Laboratory Announcement, ‘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, provides more information on the funding opportunity.

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