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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that the Joint BioEnergy Institute, led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, would be one of four recipients of a $40 million DOE award for bioenergy and bioproducts research.
State funding for bioenergy research, which Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) worked to secure in last year’s budget, was instrumental in demonstrating the state’s commitment to the institute and making it a more competitive applicant.
“I am pleased to have championed this application,” Bloom said. “The Joint BioEnergy Institute is a reflection of California’s scientific excellence and a worthy recipient of this award. We [recently] passed a cap and trade extension that will reinforce California’s ambitious environmental goals. Research produced by institutions is critical to producing the innovative tools to reach those goals.”
The Joint BioEnergy Institute was established a decade ago by the DOE’s Office of Science and since its creation has produced over 600 peer-reviewed publications, 86 licenses and 23 patents. The institute is led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has been a global scientific leader for decades, producing 13 Nobel laureates and 15 National Medal of Science recipients.
The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory depends on funding from federal and state sources including the DOE and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Last year, Bloom, as chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Resources & Transportation, helped secure $3 million in the 2016-2017 budget for biofuel and bioenergy research at the laboratory.
Bloom said the scientific community is concerned about the potential loss of billions of dollars in federal funding for research under President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget, which would cut $3.1 billion from energy research programs at the DOE.
“As we celebrate this news, we must also remain vigilant,” Bloom added. “With federal cuts to scientific researching looming, it is our responsibility to both fight efforts to strip our research institutions of their funding and seek ways to bolster them at the state-level.”
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