Department of Energy FY 2023 Request: Increases for ASCR and ARPA-E with Focus on Exascale, AI, and QIS and Other Administration Priorities

In our continuing series following the Biden Administration’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget request, we now turn to the Department of Energy. The two key parts of DOE that are of concern to the computing community are the Office of Science (SC), home to most of the agency’s basic research support, and ARPA-E, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Regular readers will notice that something is missing in this year’s request: ARPA-Climate, or ARPA-C. Last year, President Biden recommended the establishment of this new ARPA program at DOE to focus on climate change research. That didn’t get much traction in Congress and was never funded; it appears that the Biden Administration will not continue to pursue this as a priority. Instead, they are focusing their climate research efforts in ARPA-E. Elsewhere in DOE’s request you’ll see the general Biden Administration themes and priorities of focusing on climate change, health and pandemic readiness programs, scientific innovation for national competitiveness, and racial equity efforts.

The President’s FY23 request for DOE SC is $7.80 billion; which is an increase of $320 million, or 4.3 percent, compared to the approved FY22 Omnibus level of $7.48 billion. The increase goes to, “Administration priorities including basic research on climate change and clean energy, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and biopreparedness.” The Office of Science is also continuing its RENEW (Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce) program, doubling the initiative to, “expand targeted efforts to increase participation and retention of underrepresented groups in SC research activities,” and, “to ensure a future science workforce that is creative, innovative, and capable of meeting the nation’s needs via proactive stewardship of talent with diverse ideas and backgrounds.” The request will support, “ongoing investments in priority areas including microelectronics, critical materials, exascale computing, fundamental science to transform manufacturing, 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 appear to fare less well, but its only appearances. The program would be funded at $1.07 billion, which is an increase of $30 million, or 2.9 percent, over last year. As with last year’s request, and the FY22 Omnibus mark, the Exascale Computing Project line-item is reduced heavily (-54 percent) due to construction projects nearing completion; meanwhile, all other subaccounts, including the research ones, get a healthy increase of 9.4 percent, generally. The increases to ASCR’s research will:

“advance science and U.S. competitiveness through investments in computational research, applied mathematics, and computer science, as well as development and operation of multiple, large, high performance and leadership computing user facilities and high performance networking. The efforts prioritize basic research in applied mathematics and computer science with emphasis on the challenges of data intensive science, including AI and ML, and future computing technologies.”

The Office of Science is also standing up three new initiatives: Energy Earthshots; Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR); and Accelerate Innovations in Emerging Technologies (Accelerate). The Energy Earthshots is a climate research program which will, “bring together multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary teams to address key research challenges at the interface between basic research and applied research and development activities.” The FAIR initiative, “will support a directed effort to fund clean energy, climate, and related activities at minority serving institutions (MSIs), including historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs);” the program’s goal is to, “increase research capacity and support faculty at HBCUs and other MSIs by funding core research relevant to the SC mission at these institutions.” Finally, the Accelerate program, “aims to drive scientific discovery for sustainable production of new technologies across the innovation continuum, to train a STEM workforce to support industries of the future, and to meet the nation’s needs for abundant clean energy, a sustainable environment, and national security.”

As for ARPA-E the agency would see a healthy increase. Under the President’s plan ARPA-E would receive $700 million, an increase of $250 million over last year, or 56 percent. As mentioned above, the Biden Administration is proposing to expand ARPA-E’s scope to, “include R&D on climate adaptation and resilience innovations.”

FY21 FY22 FY23 PBR $ Change % Change
DOE SC Total $7.03B $7.48B $7.80B +$320M +4.3%
ASCR $1.02B $1.04B $1.07B +$30M +2.9%
ARPA-E $427M $450M $700M +$250M +56%

The Department of Energy’s budget is now in Congress’ hands, and we’ll continue to track its progress. Please keep checking back for more updates and additional information.

Department of Energy FY 2023 Request: Increases for ASCR and ARPA-E with Focus on Exascale, AI, and QIS and Other Administration Priorities