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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On June 24, 2021, a “unique and broad group” of chemical manufacturers, brand owners, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO), states, and municipalities sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to express their “strong support” for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice Program and to encourage that the program be funded fully. The letter asks that the following language be included in the report:

The Committee supports the Safer Choice program and directs that the program be funded and operated at least at levels consistent with Fiscal Year 2014, adjusted for inflation.

According to the letter, in the last quarter of 2020, EPA reorganized the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), dissolving the Safer Choice branch and reassigning most staff to the areas of OCSPP. The letter states that “[a]s a result, the program is now severely under-resourced with approximately four full-time staff.” The Biden-Harris EPA has taken steps to restore the program, but EPA still faces resource constraints.

The letter describes how companies across the value chain use the Safer Choice brand to advance their individual safer chemical initiatives. Chemical manufacturers invested in developing safer chemicals now listed on the Safer Choice’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List (SCIL). Brand owners and product manufacturers have reformulated products using the SCIL to obtain Safer Choice certification. Major retailers specify the Safer Choice label as a verifiable way to meet corporate goals laid out in public-facing chemicals policies.

According to the letter, the Safer Choice Program also provides value to entities outside of the supply chain. States and municipalities rely on the Safer Choice Program “because it is the only third-party program that requires all ingredients to be screened for hazards instead of simply using a restricted substances list.” NGOs and consumers “find significant value in an authoritative government program that can be trusted to vet safer chemicals and products.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson 

On January 13, 2021, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the availability of $123.6 million in funding and $44.7 million of cost share available for 46 projects to stimulate technology innovation, improve energy productivity of American manufacturing, and enable the manufacturing of cutting-edge products in the United States. The 46 projects that will be selected under this funding opportunity announcement will focus in three areas to improve energy efficiency in energy-intensive processes:

  • Efficiency improvements in advanced manufacturing processes;
     
  • Efficiency improvements in chemical manufacturing; and
     
  • Connected, flexible, and efficient manufacturing facilities, products, and energy systems.

Additional information is available here.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs office issued topics for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Participating in the FOA are the following program offices:

  • Office of Cyber Security, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER);
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NNSA);
  • Office of Electricity (OE);
  • Office of Environmental Management (EM);
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE);
  • Office of Fossil Energy (FE);
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES);
  • Office of High Energy Physics (HEP); and
  • Office of Nuclear Energy (NE).

DOE will host a webinar on December 18, 2020, to discuss the FOA and application process and changes to the DOE SBIR and STTR programs.

Additional important dates include:

  • FOA Issued: December 14, 2020;
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Due Date: January 4 , 2021;
  • Non-responsive LOI Feedback Provided: January 25, 2021;
  • Application Due Date: February 22, 2021;
  • Award Notification Date: May 17, 2021 (subject to change); and
  • Start of Grant Budget Period: June 28, 2021 (subject to change).
Tags: DOE, SBIR, STTR, FOA, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the availability of over $27 million in funding for 12 projects supporting research and development (R&D) efforts toward advanced plastics recycling technologies and new recyclable plastics. These efforts are part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, which aims to improve existing recycling processes that break plastics down into chemical building blocks that can be used to make new products. The 12 projects selected will address highly recyclable or biodegradable plastics, novel methods for deconstructing and upcycling existing plastics, and collaborations to tackle challenges in plastic waste.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the availability of approximately $21.3 million in funding for 106 Phase I small business innovation projects. The funds, announced by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, are part of DOE’s $53 million available for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects. The selected small businesses represent 26 states. Most Phase I awards are $200,000 for a performance period of less than one year. Nine EERE technology offices will fund the awards under 12 topics.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that up to $20 million in funding is available for workforce development at universities in emerging energy fields. Aiming to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers, DOE’s investment will fund a land grant university to pursue interdisciplinary research through the support of expansions of existing joint graduate education programs with DOE National Laboratories. This effort will be led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) as part of the implementation of the “Charting a Course for Success: American’s Strategy for STEM Education” roadmap. The selected project will:

  • Establish a five-year EERE Research, Training and Workforce Development Program that expands existing joint graduate programs, with associated investment in learning and research tools to promote research, entrepreneurship, and technology transfer;
  • Use existing National Laboratory capabilities in key EERE-related areas for training and research that support EERE-funded projects; and
  • Coordinate with other relevant programs, including regional and national fellowship and workforce development efforts, build sustainable alliances, and apply lessons learned and best practices.

Applications for this funding opportunities are due on or prior to April 13, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).

Tags: DOE, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 12, 2019, DOE published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for topics for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Release 2 funding. Participating in this FOA are the following DOE program offices:

  • Office of Cyber Security, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER);
     
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NNSA);
     
  • Office of Electricity (OE);
     
  • EERE;
     
  • Office of Environmental Management (EM);
     
  • Office of Fossil Energy (FE);
     
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES);
     
  • Office of High Energy Physics (HEP); and
     
  • Office of Nuclear Energy (NE).
     

Interested applicants may register for one or more of DOE’s FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 SBIR/STTR Topics webinars. Presented by DOE Topic Managers, a series of three 90-minute webinars will be available:

For those unable to participate in the live webinars, they will be recorded and made available online.

In addition to the aforementioned webinars, a fourth one will be held to discuss the FOA and application process. This webinar will be held on December 19, 2019.

Tags: DOE, Funding, SBIR

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Phase I Release 1 funding opportunity for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. In its announcement, DOE encourages small businesses with strong research capabilities in science or engineering to apply. DOE’s Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) includes participation from its Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, and Nuclear Physics program offices. On August 19, 2019, DOE will host a webinar to provide an overview of the SBIR/STTR technology areas, application process, and award process. Interested parties can register for the webinar here. Additional important dates are listed below.

  • September 3, 2019 -- Letters of Intent (LOI) Due
     
  • September 24, 2019 -- Non-responsive LOI Feedback Provided
     
  • October 15, 2019 -- Full Applications Due
     
  • January 6, 2020 -- Award Notification
     
  • February 18, 2020 -- Project Grant Start Date

The full FOA and its topics can be accessed on DOE’s Office of Science webpage.

Tags: DOE, SBIR, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 17, 2018, DOE issued the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Encouraging qualified small businesses with strong research capabilities in science or engineering, the following DOE program offices are offering funding opportunities:

  • Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response;
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation;
  • Office of Electricity;
  • Office of Environmental Management;
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;
  • Office of Fossil Energy;
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences;
  • Office of High Energy Physics; and
  • Office of Nuclear Energy.

Phase I Release 2 topics can be found here and the FOA, here. First-time applicants are required to complete a number of registrations prior to submitting an application. DOE recommends candidates start applying at least six weeks prior to application submission.

Tags: DOE, Funding, SBIR

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the topics for 2019 funding opportunities.  Amongst the program offices that are participating in this solicitation, is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who will be hosting an informational webinar on November 6, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) as an opportunity to ask the DOE Program Managers any questions about DOE funding opportunities.  The 90-minute webinar requires registration and allows for the submission of questions prior to the event.  Important upcoming dates regarding the submission funding applications include:

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement:  November 26, 2018;
  • Letter of Intent Due Date:  December 17, 2018;
  • Non-response Letter of Intent Feedback Provision:  January 7, 2019;
  • Application Due Date:  February 4, 2019;
  • Award Notification Date:  April 29, 2019; and
  • Start of Grant Budget Period:  June 10, 2019.

Both the award notification and the start of the grant budget period dates are subject to change.


 
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