Department of Energy FY 2022 Request: Relatively Modest Budget Increases with Exascale and QIS Featured as Administration Priorities

In our continuing series following the Biden Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request, we now turn to the Department of Energy (DOE). Similar to the NSF budget request we detailed earlier, but DOE gets just a bit less generous of a request.

Two key parts of DOE for the computing community are the Office of Science (SC), home of most of the agency’s basic research support, and ARPA-E, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

As we detailed in the “skinny” budget that was released in April, the President’s FY22 request for DOE SC is $7.44 billion; which is an increase of 5.8 percent, compared to the FY21 enacted level of $7.03 billion. The increase goes to, “investments in Administration priorities including basic research on climate change and clean energy, fundamental science to transform manufacturing, and biopreparedness.” Additionally, SC will begin a new broadening participation initiative, called Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW). It is a, “targeted efforts to increase participation and retention of underrepresented groups in SC research activities.” The request will also support, “ongoing investments in priority areas including microelectronics, critical materials, quantum information science (QIS), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), exascale computing, integrated computational and data infrastructure for scientific discovery, and accelerator science and technology.”

Within the Office of Science account, the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program – home to most of SCs computing research programs — would fare less well. The program would be funded at $1.04 billion, which is an increase of $25 million, or 2 percent, over last year. ASCR’s increase will:

“strengthen U.S. leadership in strategic computing with operation of the Nation’s first exascale computing system, Frontier, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and deployment of a second system, Aurora, at Argonne National Laboratory…(it) also broadens the foundations of AI and QIS, and expands the infrastructure that enables data-driven science…(and) increases support for the Computational Science Graduate Fellowship and the initiation of a new activity, RENEW, to increase participation and retention of underrepresented groups in areas relevant to ASCR.”

As for ARPA-E, in a change from the last few years of budget requests that recommended cancelling the program, the agency would see a healthy increase. Under the President’s plan ARPA-E would receive $500 million, an increase of $73 million over last year, or 17 percent.

FY20 FY21 FY22 PBR $ Change % Change
DOE SC Total $7.00B $7.03B $7.44B +$400M +5.8%
ASCR $980M $1.02B $1.04B +$25M +2.0%
ARPA-E $425M $427M $500 +$73M +17%

In another Biden Administration priority, the DOE request includes $200M for the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate (ARPA-C). This is in line with the President’s efforts to respond to climate change, and the program’s mission will be, “to identify and promote research with the potential to make revolutionary advances in breakthrough sciences, to translate scientific discoveries and cutting-edge inventions into technological innovations, and to accelerate transformational technological advances in areas that industry by itself will not support because of technical and financial risk and uncertainty.” It will be interesting to see Congress response to this program, as it’s likely to attract even more ideological attacks than ARPA-E has received, while benefiting from less bipartisan favor.

As with NSF’s request, the budget is now in Congress’ hands, and we’ll continue to track progress. Please keep checking back for more updates and additional information.

Department of Energy FY 2022 Request: Relatively Modest Budget Increases with Exascale and QIS Featured as Administration Priorities