Department of Energy announces $10 million for environmental systems science research


News — WASHINGTON, DC. – Today the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $10 million in funding for 12 projects to universities, academic institutions, federal research laboratories and nonprofit organizations in the area of ​​environmental systems science (ESS) research. Grants will focus on studies to improve understanding and representation of the impact of wildfires and floods on ecosystems and watersheds, as well as the role of water redistribution by plants and fungal networks in shaping ecosystem and watershed function.

“The DOE invests in Earth system science by closely coordinating experimental field research with system modeling,” said Gary Geernaert, DOE Acting Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research (BER). “This approach enables faster progress in scientific discovery and improves our ability to advance climate predictions for extreme environmental conditions.”

Current models lack adequate representation of the important interactions between the physical, hydrological, biogeochemical and ecological aspects of the Earth system. By coupling experiments, observations and models, interdisciplinary teams of scientists will work to untangle these complex processes to improve understanding of the structure and function of watersheds and ecosystems across spatial and temporal scales. Grants are expected to advance much-needed observational and experimental research and model development aimed at improving the accuracy of current Earth and environmental system models and predictive capabilities.

Projects include funded research in three thematic areas:

  • Plant-mediated ecohydrology projects will investigate plant hydraulic redistribution and its influence on ecosystem and watershed function.
  • Projects on wildfires or floods and system processes will improve the understanding and modeled representation of the impacts and responses of environmental processes following wildfires or floods.
  • Shaping the Fungal Network of System Function projects will study plant-soil interactions mediated by fungi in response to environmental factors or stresses.

Projects were selected through competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for Environmental System Science sponsored by the BER program within the Department’s Office of Science.

Total funding is $10 million for projects up to three years in duration, with $10 million in fiscal year 2022 dollars and out-of-year funding dependent on congressional appropriations. The list of projects and more information can be found here.


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