Research activities funded by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) within the Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratories are subject to merit review. The merit review procedures for research at the DOE Laboratories are parallel to the processes and procedures for the private sector. (See 10 CFR 605, which governs the Office of Science (SC) grant programs). BER funds research programs at the National Laboratories addressing specific Scientific Focus Areas (SFAs) within BER's science portfolio. A description of the SFA research program development and review processes are described in the BER document entitled "Managing BER Scientific Focus Area (SFA) Programs At the DOE National Laboratories (194KB)."
Digital Data Management
After October 1, 2014 any National Laboratory research plans being submitted to BER for merit review (including both SFA and non SFA research but not user facility plans) needs to include a Digital Management Plan. Information about Digital Management Plans can be found here including guidance for preparation, Q&A’s and a link to additional requirements for BER-funded research here.
Program Research Opportunity Announcements to National Laboratories
BER announces research opportunities on the Office of Science Grants website. The site includes a description of the research activity and the required process and proposal format. Any additional merit review criteria are noted in the announcement. Such announcements are used for new opportunities as well as for ongoing research programs structured around individual investigators or teams of investigators.
Research Opportunities at BER Scientific User Facilities
Non-proprietary (i.e., open) research conducted at BER Scientific User Facilities is merit reviewed by the sponsor. If the activity is sponsored by BER the research will have been reviewed under 10 CFR 605, which governs the Office of Science (SC) grant program, or under the parallel process and procedure for the DOE Laboratories. Furthermore, the user facility performs an administrative review to ensure that the proposed activity is appropriate for the facility and meets safety, health, and environmental requirements.
Operations at BER Scientific User Facilities
Operations at BER Scientific User Facilities receive a wide range of reviews. As appropriate, user surveys, user committees, ad hoc expert panels, and administrative reviews are used to ensure that the facility enables "bleeding edge" science and meets safety, health, and environmental requirements.