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LDRD FY 2015 Call for Proposals

Source: Susan Hubbard


Director Alivisatos recently issued the call for proposals for the FY2015 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program. ESD scientists are encouraged to think of potential “Lab-Initiative” Track and “Area-Initiative” Track LDRD proposal ideas that are responsive to the topics identified in this call.  Of the FY15 LDRD topics identified in Dr. Alivisatos’ email, the following topics are particularly well aligned with ESD’s strategic direction:   

  1. Microbes to Biomes (Lab Initiative)
  2. Ecosystem research, with particular focus on dynamic vegetation (Biosciences Area Initiative)
  3. Climate-Water-Energy (Energy Technologies Area Initiative)
  4. Earth Material Properties and Dynamics (Energy Sciences Area Initiative)
  5. ALS-II Science and Technology (Lab Initiative)

LDRDs provide a critical vehicle for shaping the growth and direction of our Division. Several criteria are used to assess proposals, including:

  • Quality of proposed science
  • Relevance of the project to the identified FY15 LDRD Area Topics  and ESD’s strategic directions  
  • Potential for project to bring new expertise to division
  • Potential for project to launch new multi-investigator ESD/Area/Lab research program

ESD PROPOSAL SUBMISSION PROCESS:  Area-Initiative Track and Lab-Initiative Track

Two proposal tracks are open: Area (formerly called 'divisional') and Lab-Initiative. Scientists are encouraged to discuss LDRD ideas with their department and program leads. The expected maximum duration of LDRD projects is 2 years. A decision to fund a proposal identified as multi-year does not create a commitment to provide funding in future years. Proposals to continue LDRDs that are currently funded must also be submitted and compete with new proposals. All projects funded by LDRD must meet applicable Berkeley Lab environment, health, and safety requirements. 

1.    With the increased competition for LDRDs, we have established a new ESD Area (divisional) LDRD process this year in an effort to strengthen proposals and minimize time spent developing LDRDs that have a very low chance of being supported. All scientists interested in submitting an Area(divisional) LDRD will need to present a pre-proposal pitch in early February to Division Council, briefly (5 min) stating the motivation and proposed research, the idea, and a description of what success could lead to.  Proposals that fall into Topics 1-3 (above) will be assessed as a group on Feb 3rd, and proposals that fall into Topics 4, 5 and ‘others’ will be assessed as a group on Feb 10th.  Feedback will be provided by mid-February, in time to consider recommendations before the final LDRD push. If you are considering submission of an Area (divisional) LDRD, please sign-up by Wednesday, January 29 using this link ( Carol will   send a template and provide additional details about this process to those who have signed up. Area (divisional) LDRDs that go forward will be subject to the subsequent standard review and ranking process by Division Council and then by Area Division Directors and their Deputies. The ranking recommendations will then be  made to the Deputy Laboratory Director and Laboratory Director, who ultimately decide on LDRD awards.

2.    Lab-Initiative Track proposals are multi-divisional projects that strive to develop major new strategic directions for the Lab.  These are aimed to foster development of new teams and activities that directly support the high-level strategic goals of the Lab.  If you are considering submitting or contributing to a Lab-Initiative Track LDRD proposal, you will need to first discuss it with your program head and then with me by Feb 3rd. For any ESD-led lab-initiative LDRDs, I request an email from Directors associated with collaborating divisions stating their support. The review process for Lab-Initiative LDRDs is described at Please note that a multi-Divisional proposal is not necessarily a “Lab-Initiative” proposal, and does not need to be submitted as such. 

Area(division) and Lab-Initiative proposals are due to Carol Valladao via electronic transmission on or before Friday, February 28th, before the final upload on Monday, March 3rd.  Please work with Carol well in advance to prepare your budgets. Carol will enter all ESD proposals in the web-based submission system.  Should you have any questions concerning this matter, please feel free to contact Carol at x5781.

Please see the LDRD website for schedule, guidance, forms and general LDRD information: