Ames Laboratory LDRD Plan
Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funds enable creative and innovative R&D projects at Ames Laboratory (AMES) that directly support our mission. Selection of projects is the responsibility of the Laboratory Director.
The LDRD program objectives are to stimulate innovation and creativity, and to enhance the research activities to keep the Ames Laboratory at the forefront of science and technology. LDRD funding will continuously renew the Laboratory's scientific and technological vitality, and enable AMES to respond to rapidly emerging R&D opportunities of clear potential benefit to DOE's mission. The program enhances AMES' ability to attract and retain high-caliber scientists and engineers essential to pursue the mission of DOE and the needs of the nation. The LDRD program helps insure that AMES will continue providing scientific and technical leadership in its mission areas. AMES' annual Lab Plan and 5-year scientific strategic plan, which identify our major initiatives, inform strategic areas for LDRD consistent with our mission.
The LDRD program provides support for Strategic Initiatives, Novel Projects, and Exceptional Opportunities that enhance the laboratory's ability to achieve its mission, and for which no other source of funds is available. Resource allocations to initiatives must be requested annually and must be approved by DOE.
- Strategic Initiatives are employee initiated proposals that address at least one of the strategic goals or an area of potential growth within AMES' initiatives for the current fiscal year.
- Novel Projects are a balance of basic, applied, single investigator, and multidisciplinary projects in new areas or directions, not necessarily in direct support of our strategic initiatives.
- Exceptional Opportunities is an integral part of the pursuit of capabilities in a strategic area that enhances human and physical resources to support that area. This component consist of projects that do not fit neatly into the other two components or that can arise outside the normal fiscal-year schedule, e.g., strategic hires, collaborations with external institutions where a superior expertise resides, or projects offering exceptional R&D opportunities for AMES. The Laboratory Director retains the option to identify and support these exceptional types of LDRD projects.
Review procedures will insure that proposals identified as strategic in nature are assessed for scientific quality, innovativeness, and value to mission-related initiatives. After a completed review process, final approval of all LDRD projects and spending plans, as well as centralized annual reporting of accomplishments to DOE, is handled through the Office of the Laboratory Director. Management and execution of the research itself are the responsibility of the research Principal Investigator, along with AMES' technical divisions and programs, while environmental and safety reviews are handled by Environment, Safety, Health and Assurance (ESH&A) in conjunction with the Safety Review Committee (SRC).
Solicitation of LDRD Proposals
Specific emphasis for the annual LDRD research portfolio is conveyed via target funding allocations and an approved annual Call for Proposals, and is reinforced during project selection and progress reviews. The LDRD Program Coordinator and Chief Research Officer will draft the annual LDRD Call for Proposals, approved by the Executive Council, and issued by the Director. The approved annual LDRD call will be distributed to Directors and Division Administrators, with direct notification to Ames Laboratory scientific staff. The call will also be publicized in electronic mailings and online. The call will describe the criteria for project selection and will provide guidance on proposal content and structure. A schedule for proposal submission, review, and award announcement will be included. The call is typically issued in March with proposals due in late April, with planned 1 October start date.
The enacting legislation and other DOE documents for LDRD require both a pre-project approval "datasheet" by the appropriate government agency (e.g., DOE AMES' Site Office) on all proposed projects, and a publicly available summary report on completed projects. Summary report (Title, Brief Abstract, Lead Investigators, and Estimated Cost) goes to the AMES' Site Office, which will make them available to appropriate entities, including Congress.
For the summary report, principal investigators must prepare a brief annual report on their project within sixty days of the end of the fiscal year. The LDRD Program Coordinator compiles these individual reports and prepares an Annual Report on the LDRD program for submission to DOE within 6 months of the end of the fiscal year. This Annual Report is also submitted to the Office of Scientific and Technical Information for the DOE, and posted on the World Wide Web. Guidance for preparing the annual project report will be provided, by the LDRD Program Coordinator, to the Principal Investigator(s) when the request for the project reports is sent out. NOTE: The reports are not to be scientific publications, and should not include extensive scientific justifications, technical details, or references. No proprietary, sensitive, or competitively disadvantageous details (to the Laboratory or principal investigator) should be included; overview and/or general descriptions typically fulfill the reporting requirements.
Documentation on all approved LDRD projects is maintained by LDRD Program Coordinator to assure that projects have undergone proper review and are in compliance with all applicable requirements.
Proposals shall be submitted as prescribed in the current LDRD Call for Proposals.