ORNL Initiatives and LDRD Research Priorities

Distinctive Scientific Capabilities

Proposals submitted to this area should advance ORNL’s leadership positions, build new capabilities, and capture world leadership in specific areas of Neutron Science and Technology, Computing and Computational Science, Advanced Materials, and Nuclear Science & Engineering. Our FY 2013 LDRD objective in the area of distinctive capabilities is to strengthen ORNL’s preeminent positions in selected key capabilities and to align them with critical national needs.  For example, ORNL’s extraordinary tools for neutron S&T and ORNL’s leadership in advanced materials research provide unprecedented opportunities to understand the chemical and physical changes that occur in bulk materials and at the interface of the materials with their environments; this understanding is fundamental to improving virtually all energy technolo¬≠gies.  Similarly, world-leading computing and computational resources can provide predictive modeling and simulation to accelerate the design of new materials, speed the development of future energy sources, expand the understanding of global climate change, and improve methods for addressing the impacts of energy use.  In addition, ORNL’s unparalleled resources in nuclear S&T promise to expand the options for nuclear power in the United States by developing radiation resistant materials for use in extreme nuclear environments, providing long-term solutions for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste, and enhancing global security by protecting nuclear material

Scientific Discovery and Innovation

Successful proposals in this area will focus on the achievement of notable breakthroughs with transformational outcomes and with high potential for enhancing ORNL’s visibility and prestige through high-impact publications and innovative technologies. Scientific discovery and innovation are key elements of ORNL’s science and technology mission.  The Laboratory’s science strategy for achieving its mission goals is built on extending its basic and applied research leadership positions in neutron scattering, high-performance computing, advanced materials, and nuclear science and engineering. Research teams are encouraged to consolidate and leverage the unique capabilities and talents of ORNL to solve the most important science problems.  Focus should be on scientific and technological breakthroughs that provide revolutionary advances in core ORNL basic science thrust and program areas.


Clean Energy Science and Technology

Proposals submitted in this area should advance research in development, demonstration, and deployment of clean energy technologies and enhance associated development and commercialization of intellectual property.   
The United States has set goals to become less dependent on non-domestic sources of fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to reduce our reliance on foreign supplies of oil.  These goals have engendered a growing interest in clean energy technologies.  Our intent is to develop revolutionary new technologies to assure the abundance of clean, reliable energy, and dramatically improve the energy efficiency of industry, manufacturing, transportation, and buildings.

Global Security Science and Technology

Proposals for this topic should seek to apply ORNL core capabilities in service of global and homeland security missions. The Laboratory’s focus for this initiative is to exploit unique ORNL scientific competencies to produce innovative solutions that support its global security science and technology mission. Science and technology are essential tools that are used to confront critical national and global security challenges. The breadth & depth of scientific capabilities at ORNL are sought to address important national security challenges in the areas of non-proliferation, cyber security, infrastructure protection, chemical and biological protection, information management in a big data “cloud” environment (acquiring, storing, analysis, and securing) and national defense.  Protecting the nation against existing and emerging threats will require advancements in wide-ranging applications including: infrastructure vulnerability assessment and protection; nuclear, chemical and biological sensor development and forensics; cyber-threat identification and defense; deriving knowledge from unique measurement and processing power in a cloud environment; and border protection.