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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program 4 Key Influences on the Development of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program Portfolio The portfolio of the Catalysis Science Program in the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) has changed due to a variety of factors. The portfolio is shaped largely by the program manager, with input from the scientific community and the broader public. According to BES, program priorities are established on the basis of International trends National priorities and laws Workshops and professional meetings Research solicitations Contractor meetings BES Advisory Committee (BESAC) This chapter will describe and evaluate these influences, with the exception of international trends and national priorities and laws. WORKSHOPS AND PROFESSIONAL MEETINGS BES staff uses workshops and meetings to bring members of the research community together and to communicate the latest results and directions of its research programs in the chemical sciences, geosciences, biosciences, materials sciences and engineering, and scientific user facilities. BES states that the workshops aid in planning program activities and formulating budget requests. They are also important in integrating efforts among the diverse research communities spread across its research programs and in helping program management to identify new trends and opportunities.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program Recently, BES has sponsored two kinds of workshops: those organized by BESAC and those of the Basic Research Needs (BRN) workshop series, which are organized by program managers in the various BES divisions (see Box 4-1). Individual research programs in BES have not typically held separate workshops. Of most relevance to the Catalysis Science Program is the 10th workshop in the BRN series, which focused on catalysis for energy and was held during the summer 2007. According to BES staff, the chairs for all of the BRN workshops were chosen by the associate director of BES, who considered recommendations by the program and division managers. The primary selection criterion was that the chairs have substantial relevant expertise and seniority so that they would have the confidence of the university and the national laboratory communities. The chairs were charged with identifying panel chairs (subject to BES concurrence), who were typically pairs of university, industry, or national laboratory researchers. The workshop session topics were selected as a result of discussions between BES and the workshop chairs. The session chairs, in turn, defined the scope and constituency of their panels with input from BES and the workshop chairs. The chairs were encouraged to consider a balanced mix of persons from academe, national laboratories, and industry and were not restricted as to expertise or prior funding from DOE. The total number of participants was limited to avoid unfocused sessions and to encourage maximum interaction among the panelists. The affiliations of the participants in the BRN workshop on catalysis for energy are summarized in Table 4-1. Approximately 32 percent of the 127 participants were principal investigators funded by the Catalysis Science Program, and 56 percent were principal investigators or others who were not. A number of those outside the Catalysis Science Program had received grants from other BES programs (such as the Solar Photochemistry Program). BESAC also has held workshops over the years. In 2002, BESAC held a workshop highly relevant to the Catalysis Science Program titled “Opportunities for Catalysis in the 21st Century,” which will be discussed later in this chapter. The Catalysis Science Program also provides support for individual meetings and workshops, such as Gordon research conferences, primarily to support the participation of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Recent examples of catalysis-related Gordon conferences supported by the program are those on Catalysis (2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008), Organometallic Chemistry (2002 and 2003), Chemical Reactions at Surfaces (2003, 2005, and 2007), Inorganic Chemistry/Reaction Mechanisms (2004 and 2007), and Electrochemistry (2006 and 2007). The program also has supported other conferences and symposia (for example, the American Chemical Society and the North American Catalysis Society).
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program BOX 4-1 The BES Basic Research Needs Workshop Series The 12 reports listed below constitute the integrated output of a set of workshops that were designed by BES to guide strategic planning for the next decade or longer. The series began in 2002 with the workshop titled “Basic Research Needs to Assure a Secure Energy Future,” which mapped in general terms the fields of science in which basic research could affect the nation’s “decades to century” energy needs. During the subsequent five years, the series of workshops addressed 10 fields in which “use-inspired” basic research (i.e., motivated by potential future applications) might lead to transformative approaches to energy production and use. These fields focused on specific energy-production sectors (hydrogen, solar, and nuclear), uses (solid-state lighting, superconductivity, energy storage, and transportation), and cross-cutting subjects (catalysis, geoscience issues related to energy, and materials under extreme conditions). The final workshop in the BRN series, Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination, formulated five “grand challenges” that underpin the BES approach. How do we control material processes at the level of electrons? How do we design and perfect atom- and energy- efficient synthesis of revolutionary new forms of matter with tailored properties? How do remarkable properties of matter emerge from complex correlations of the atomic or electronic constituents and how can we control these properties? How can we master energy and information on the nanoscale to create new technologies with capabilities rivaling those of living things? How do we characterize and control matter away—especially very far away—from equilibrium? The BRN workshop reports in ascending order of publication date are as follows: Basic Research Needs to Assure a Secure Energy Future Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy Basic Research Needs for Solar Energy Utilization Basic Research Needs for Superconductivity Basic Research Needs for Solid-State Lighting Basic Research Needs for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems Basic Research Needs for Clean and Efficient Combustion of 21st Century Transportation Fuels Basic Research Needs for Geosciences: Facilitating 21st Century Energy Systems Basic Research Needs for Electrical Energy Storage Basic Research Needs: Catalysis for Energy Basic Research Needs for Materials under Extreme Environments Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination NOTE: The text of the BRN workshop reports may be found online at http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/list.html.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program TABLE 4-1 Affiliations of Participants in the BRN Workshop on Catalysis for Energy Affiliation No. Participants % of Total Catalysis Grantees 41 32% Heterogeneous 29 Homogeneous 12 Others 71 56% National laboratories 31 Academic 22 Industry, other 18 DOE Staff 15 12% TOTAL 127 NOTES: Original analysis based on the list of attendees and affiliations in Appendix 3 of Basic Research Needs: Catalysis for Energy SOURCE: Basic Research Needs: Catalysis for Energy. 2007. U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences. Online. Available at http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/files/CAT_rpt.pdf. Accessed June 2008. All of the core research areas of BES have used the BRN workshops, as appropriate, to guide the evolution of their portfolios. In addition, many targeted solicitations in recent years have referred specifically to BRN workshop reports to describe the scientific subjects to be addressed in submitted proposals. The following are examples of grant solicitations that are relevant to the Catalysis Science Program: 2008: Energy Frontier Research Centers, http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/EFRC.html. 2008: Single-Investigator and Small-Group Research, http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/SISGR.html. 2006: Basic Research for Solar Energy Utilization, http://www.sc.doe.gov/grants/FAPN06-15.html 2006: Basic Research for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, http://www.sc.doe.gov/grants/FAPN06-17.html 2005: Basic Research in Chemical Imaging, http://www.sc.doe.gov/grants/closed05.html 2004: Basic Research for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, http://www.sc.doe.gov/grants/Fr04-20.html 2003 : Catalysis Science, http://www.sc.doe.gov/grants/Fr03-16.html 2001: Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology, http://www.sc.doe.gov/grants/Fr02-02.html
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program Projects relevant to the Catalysis Science Program and funded through the solicitations are discussed in more detail in the next section. RESEARCH SOLICITATIONS Since 1999, three initiatives—the National Nanoscience Initiative (NNI), the Catalysis Science Initiative (CSI), and the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative (HFI)—have substantially influenced the direction of the Catalysis Science Program. These initiatives were discussed in Chapter 2 and are briefly described below in Table 4-2. Their influence on the number of grants and the distribution of grants among national laboratories and universities for FY 1999 to FY 2007 is shown in Figure 4-1. The initiatives have led to an increase in funding or an increase in the number of grants in the program portfolio. The CSI has been particularly effective in bringing in new researchers and in fostering more collaborative models of conducting research. The major new source of funding originated from the HFI. FIGURE 4-1 Influence of initiatives and distribution of Catalysis Science Program grants among national laboratories and universities. SOURCE: Original analysis based on grant information from Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Catalysis Science Program.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program TABLE 4-2 KEY Initiatives That Have Influenced the BES Portfolio Since FY 2001 Fiscal Year Initiative Description 2001 NNI Grants reorganized and additional funding provided under NNI, which focused on emergent properties at the nanoscale (see http://www.nano.gov for more information); total funding for FYs 2001–2007 was approximately $37.7 million, which included new money. 2003 CSI Grants funded as a result of a BES solicitation for high-risk, long-term, multi-investigator, multidisciplinary research on the science of catalysis; most grants readapted from single principal investigator to group efforts; total funding for FYs 1999–2007 was approximately $38.1 million from existing BES funds. 2005 HFI Grants focused on hydrogen production, storage, and use, largely involving electrocatalysis; agency-wide initiative provided new funds and increased the number of grants for the Catalysis Science Program; one-time funding increment of $50 million was allotted to the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division, including a total of approximately $12 million for the Catalysis Science Program. CONTRACTOR MEETINGS Unlike the BRN workshops, contractor meetings are organized entirely by individual program managers and are attended primarily by the program’s principal investigators. Some recent Catalysis Science Program contractor meetings are as follows:1 Catalysis Science (2004) Nanocatalysis Science (2005) 1 Contractor meeting abstract books are available at http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/chm/Publications/publications.html.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program Organometallic, Inorganic, and Bioinspired Chemistry & Catalysis (2006) Interfacial and Nano Catalysis (2007) Molecular Catalysis Science (2008) The purpose of the meetings is to allow the exchange of information and to encourage cross-fertilization within the program. BES staff says that program managers benefit from a view of the whole program—or major portions of the program—and acquire an impression of overall progress with respect to previous years. The contractor meetings also serve as a forum for the discussion of needs and opportunities in the broader field of catalysis, as well as in the BES catalysis community. As shown in Figure 4-2, participants in contractor meetings (in contrast with the 2002 BESAC workshop and the 2007 BRN workshop) are mostly principal investigators funded by the Catalysis Science Program. Typically, 60 percent or more of participants in the contractor meetings are catalysis grantees, whereas approximately 30 percent of the participants in the BESAC and BRN workshops are catalysis grantees. Meeting guests include other BES program principal investigators, invited keynote speakers who are not BES principal investigators (including international researchers), and a few invited attendees who are newer researchers at universities or national laboratories not funded by the program. The total number of invitees is restricted by cost and efficiency to about 100 per meeting. The fields and topics of presentations and discussions at contractor meetings are always chosen to represent both the current program scope and emerging trends. The meetings rotate from year to year (between homogeneous catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis researchers, with the exception of 2004 when the two groups met together), with approximately 60 percent of the program-funded principal investigators attending each year to allow cross-fertilization. Attendance at the contractor meetings (Table 4-3), particularly the more recent ones, has been appropriately distributed between new grantees (typically junior researchers) and longer-term grantees. At the 2006, 2007, and 2008 contractor meetings and the 2007 BRN workshop, 20 to 25 percent of the grantees attending were new (with funding beginning in the year before, the year of, or the year after the meeting took place). In comparison, less than 20 percent of the catalysis grantees were new to the program at the 2004 and 2005 contractor meetings and the 2002 BESAC workshop.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program FIGURE 4-2 Distribution of Catalysis Science Program grantees and other attendees at recent contractor meetings (first five bars), the BESAC Workshop, and the BRN Workshop. SOURCE: Original analysis of lists of meeting attendees. TABLE 4-3 Attendance at Recent Catalysis Science Program Contractor Meetings and Catalysis-Related Workshops Meeting Title (Year) New Granteesa Existing Grantees Other Attendees Total Attendees Catalysis Science (2004) 16 80 54 150 Nanocatalysis Science (2005) 6 46 43 95 Organometallic, Inorganic, and Bioinspired Chemistry & Catalysis (2006) 16 49 29 94 Interfacial and Nano Catalysis (2007) 20 59 35 114 Molecular Catalysis Science (2008) 14 42 22 78 BESAC workshop (2002) 3 19 52 74 BRN workshop (2007) 8 33 71 112 aNew grantees are those whose funding began in the year before, the year of, or the year after the meeting.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program The program managers say that they select the chairs (organizers) for the contractor meetings from among the current principal investigators primarily on the basis of their skill as conference organizers. Chairs of the last five Catalysis Science Program contractor meetings are shown in Table 4-4, and they do not seem to follow any particular pattern. The first two meetings in the list (2004 and 2005) were organized by program staff, whereas the last three were organized by a combination of grantees and program staff; the most recent was organized by two newly funded grantees. Chairs of the catalysis-related 2002 BESAC and 2007 BRN workshops are also shown. According to BES program managers, the major role of a chair is to help with the identification and contacting of keynote speakers and other invited participants. For the latter purpose, they are instructed to obtain external input and advice from the science community, typically department chairs at universities and national laboratories, who are aware of the interests of the newer researchers in their departments. OFFICE OF BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES ADVISORY COMMITTEE BESAC was established on September 4, 1986, to provide independent advice to DOE on the complex scientific and technical issues that arise in the planning, management, and implementation of its BES program. BESAC’s responsibilities include advising on establishing priorities for research and facilities, determining proper program balance among disciplines, and identifying opportunities for interlaboratory collaboration, program integration, and industrial participation. One way that BESAC has recently had influence on the catalysis portfolio is through a workshop held in 2002 titled “Opportunities for Catalysis in the 21st Century.” According to the summary of the workshop, the impetus for the workshop grew out of a confluence of factors: the continuing importance of catalysis to the Nation’s productivity and security, particularly in the production and consumption of energy and the associated environmental consequences, and the emergence of new research tools and concepts associated with nanoscience that can revolutionize the design and use of catalysts in the search for optimal control of chemical transformations. The report concludes as follows: [I]n setting its research agenda for the 21st century, the Federal sector must identify and support areas of research that will provide the foundations for the evolution of our current scien-
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program tific infrastructure into a form that will meet the emerging needs of this new century. That is, the challenges represented on the Federal research agenda for this new century must be sufficiently grand to drive our infrastructure in directions that will meet the uncertainties of the future. One such grand challenge is the development of an understanding, at the molecular level, that will allow us to manipulate, to predict, and ultimately to control chemical reactivity. Catalysis is one of the sciences at the heart of this challenge. TABLE 4-4 Chairs of Recent Catalysis Science Program Contractor Meetings and Catalysis-Related Workshops Meeting Chairs Contractor Meetings Catalysis Science (2004) John Gordon and Raul Miranda, BES Catalysis Science Program Nanocatalysis Science (2005) John Gordon and Raul Miranda, BES Catalysis Science Program Organometallic, Inorganic, and Bioinspired Chemistry & Catalysis (2006) Morris Bullock, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Raul Miranda, BES Catalysis Science Program Interfacial and Nano Catalysis (2007) John M. White, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Charles T. Campbell, University of Washington; Michael J. Chen, BES Catalysis Science Program Molecular Catalysis Science (2008) Andreja Bakac and Aaron Sadow, Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University; Michael Chen and Raul Miranda, BES Catalysis Science Program BES Workshops BESAC Opportunities for Catalysis in the 21st Century (2002) J. M. White, University of Texas; John Bercaw, California Institute of Technology BRN Catalysis for Energy (2007) Alexis T. Bell, University of California, Berkeley; Bruce C. Gates, University of California, Davis; Douglas Ray, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory SOURCE: Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division contractor meeting books: http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/chm/Publications/publications.html; BESAC report: http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/BESAC/reports.html; BRN report: http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/list.html.
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program BESAC influences individual funding programs through its oversight of the Committee of Visitors (COV). In 1999, the director of the Office of Science charged BESAC with establishing a COV to monitor active projects and programs and to provide regular assessments of the processes used to solicit, review, recommend, and document proposal actions. COVs were assembled to evaluate the BES Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division (CSGB) in 2002, 2005, and 2008. The 2005 COV provided the most detailed evaluation of the Catalysis Science Program. The 2005 COV found CSGB as a whole to be well managed and in excellent shape, with clear evidence that the processes for proposal solicitation, review, and action were working well and that the quality of science, the depth and breadth of portfolio elements, and the national and international standing of the elements were very good to excellent in all nine programs reviewed. However, the COV identified two issues that required substantial attention by CSGB and BES management. One was the continuing lack of an integrated Office of Science database on processes for proposal review, tracking, decision and documentation, and monitoring (of funded proposals) and the lack of standardized database software that would allow rapid and efficient searches for information on principal investigators, reviewers, proposal actions, and principal investigators’ productivity. The second was the need for the Office of Science to implement ways to track gender and racial diversity among principal investigators in universities and DOE laboratories and among reviewers. The COV noted that continuing inattention to diversity would potentially have a long-term adverse effect on workforce development. The 2005 COV provided detailed findings and recommendations about the efficacy and quality of the Catalysis Science Program’s processes and the effects of the award process on the portfolio (see Appendix E). The results of the 2005 COV assessment of the Catalysis Science Program can be summarized in four categories: program quality, the program manager, contractor meetings, and funding mechanisms. As pointed out in the COV report, the overall quality of the Catalysis Science Program is high (see Findings and Conclusions in Chapter 6 of this report), and the program has no doubt been favorably influenced by having the same program manager for the past eight years. The contractor meetings are important for monitoring the program and influencing the makeup of the funding portfolio. The Catalysis Science Program continues to struggle to find the right balance of funding between single and groups of investigators. CONCLUSIONS The Catalysis Science Program is responding to external factors and using internal mechanisms to shape its research portfolio. In recent years, the program has been substantially influenced by special funding initiatives (for example, the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative). The program manager has done a good job of applying the initiatives in a way that provides continued support for long-term
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Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program grantees (and basic science) while bringing new researchers and new research approaches into the portfolio. The program also has been successful in using advice from BESAC (derived through workshops and COVs), contractor meetings, and professional meetings to shape its portfolio and influence funding decisions in a more “bottom-up” approach. The committee recommends that the Catalysis Science Program continue to broaden participation in its contractor meetings and other activities. Non-DOE sponsored workshop organizers and grantees funded by other BSE programs should be invited to attend the Catalysis Science Program activities to provide a more diverse influence on the portfolio. This is particularly important in the development of research directions that will have a long-term impact on the program.