FY18 LDRD Call for Proposals

FY18 LDRD Call for Proposals: Message from Bob McKeown

An important element of Jefferson Lab’s Strategic Plan is the implementation of a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. The lab began such a program in FY14 and it has already provided a substantial return on the investments made.  We are now soliciting proposals for new LDRD projects that would begin in October 2017 (and continuation proposals from projects underway that will not be completed this year).

A draft calendar for the FY2018 program, which provides deadline information and outlines the LDRD evaluation process, is posted on the LDRD website (http://www.jlab.org/div_dept/ldrd/ ). The due date for formal proposals is April 28.  If desired, you may submit an optional Letter of Intent (LOI) briefly outlining your plans for a proposal no later than March 6, and the lab will provide feedback no later than March 27.  In addition to the calendar, the LDRD website provides templates and instructions for both proposals and LOIs, as well as a budget spreadsheet template and a Frequently Asked Questions section. The remainder of this note describes the LDRD program briefly. If you have further questions please contact either the associate director of your Division or LDRD Program Manager Larry Cardman; Cardman@jlab.org.

The Laboratory Directed Research and Development at JLab enables the lab to respond to timely scientific and technological opportunities that also support DOE's research and development mission. This program will be a critical tool for directing the lab's forefront scientific research capabilities towards vital, excellent and emerging scientific challenges. The program provides the resources for JLab scientists to make rapid and significant contributions to critical national science and technology problems of mission relevance to JLab and the DOE. LDRD also can advance the lab's core scientific capability, and permits seeding and exploration of exciting new opportunities.

Areas eligible for support will include:

  • Advanced study of new hypotheses, new concepts and innovative approaches to scientific or technical problems;
  • Experiments directed towards "proof-of-principle" or early determination of the utility of new scientific ideas, technical concepts or devices; and
  • Conception and preliminary technical analysis of experimental facilities or devices.

Within these eligible research areas, the LDRD program is conducted with a scale of effort typically utilizing existing research facilities. The projects can be characterized as:

  • Small-scale research and development activities or pilot projects;
  • Bench-scale research projects; or
  • Computer modeling, conceptual design and feasibility studies, or computer algorithm or methodology development.

We have identified several areas of strategic value to the future of the Laboratory that would benefit from R&D. These particular areas are:

  • addressing the remaining R&D issues for the Jefferson Lab Electron Ion Collider design,
  • utilizing heterogeneous architecture in scientific computing beyond LQCD, an essential element of advancing computing to the exascale,
  • development of technologies for i) medical and biological imaging and ii) the application of particle beams, and
  • addressing R&D issues relevant for new research directions using our existing facilities.

The JLab call for LDRD proposals does not specify particular directions, as we prefer to receive proposals on a wide selection of potential topics. However, relevance to these strategic areas is given strong consideration in the evaluation of the LDRD proposals.

Consistent with DOE policy, funding cannot be used for construction line-item projects, maintenance projects or general purpose equipment acquisition. Projects may not substitute for, or increase the budget of, projects or tasks already funded at JLab by DOE or other sponsors.

JLab's LDRD program will provide an opportunity to advance the lab's mission as described in the JLab Strategic Plan.  This year, the lab anticipates a funding level between $0.75M and $1.0M (including overhead) for LDRD; however, the final budget will depend on the overall FY18 budget for the lab, which is still under development.  We are now aiming at a sustainable program within that overall budget envelope, including potential continuing support for three of the four projects underway in FY17 (assuming their continuation is judged to be merited).  The exact level will also be subject to the realities of the final FY18 budgets.  Proposals may request a single year of funding or up to three years, with an upper bound of $0.25 M/year in direct funding.  Proposers are encouraged to consider this in developing their proposals and should consult with the cognizant AD(s) at a very early stage.  Proposals that are cross-cutting, engaging and leveraging the core capabilities across multiple divisions are welcomed, and the relevant ADs each participate in the review of such proposals.

 -  Bob McKeown