Building the Lab’s Strategy
Each year, the Lab engages in several strategic exercises to set its course for the years ahead. The Lab Director brings together the Deputy Lab Directors and the Associate Laboratory Directors in the fall to begin this conversation; this is followed in the spring by a retreat with the Division Directors from the scientific and operations areas. The decisions made at these retreats are reflected in the Lab’s annual plan, which lays out the Lab’s enterprise-wide strategic initiatives and priorities, as well as those of each area. The annual lab plan also includes a 10-year campus strategy designed to ensure that the Lab’s infrastructure enables and supports our scientific goals. The annual plan is shared each year in the Lab Director’s “State of the Lab” talk to the Lab community. View the 2017 State of the Lab talk here.
Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD)
Lab leadership reviews LDRD proposals annually, looking for proposals that support scientific and technological competencies aligned with both the Lab and DOE’s strategies. Each LDRD call for proposals contains a list of Lab-wide initiatives so that researchers can track their own efforts against the strategic direction of the Lab. Each LDRD proposal is weighed on its own merit in combination with its applicability to a specific scientific area and the overall Lab portfolio.
For Berkeley Lab, LDRD provides seed funding for advanced scientific ideas in established DOE fields, and can help to establish expertise in areas that DOE may move to in the future. The Lab’s LDRD program also strengthens our scientific and technical workforce through recruitments, retentions, and cascading new hires of early career staff (scientists, post-docs, and students).
Many LDRD-funded projects have helped to significantly advance the Lab’s scientific expertise. Examples of this include early ideas that grew into the Joint BioEnergy Institute, CRISPR, the Molecular Foundry, and the Nobel-winning work on both the expanding universe and cosmic microwave background radiation.