To fulfill its missions, LLNL must continually invest in the science and technology that form the foundation of its signature capabilities.
The LDRD Program, which was established by Congress at DOE national laboratories in 1991, is LLNL's most important single resource for fostering excellence in science and technology for today's needs and tomorrow's challenges.
According to its Congressional mandate,1 the purpose of LDRD is to foster excellence in science and technology that (1) supports the DOE/NNSA and LLNL missions and strategic vision, (2) ensures the technical vitality of the Laboratory, (3) attracts and maintains the most qualified scientists and engineers and allows scientific and technical staff to enhance their skills and expertise, (4) helps meet evolving DOE/NNSA and national security needs, and (5) enables scientific collaborations with academia, industry, and other government laboratories.
By enabling LLNL to fund creative fundamental and applied research activities in areas aligned with its missions, the LDRD Program develops and extends the Laboratory's intellectual foundations and maintains its vitality as a premier research institution. The present scientific and technical strengths of LLNL are, in large part, a product of LDRD investment choices in the past.
The value of LDRD to DOE as well as to the country has been clearly articulated. According to a National Academy of Sciences report to DOE in 2012, “A crucial part of the Laboratories’ ability to conduct their missions is derived from Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD), the primary source for internally directed R&D funding. Among its other benefits, LDRD provides a major resource for supporting and training staff at each Laboratory.”2 The DOE 2014 report to Congress notes “The LDRD Program provides the laboratories with the opportunity and flexibility to establish and maintain an environment that encourages and supports creativity and innovation, and contributes to their long-term viability. LDRD allows the Department's laboratories to position themselves to advance our national security mission and respond to our Nation’s future research needs.”3
At LLNL in 2015, Laboratory Director William Goldstein and Deputy Director for Science and Technology Patricia Falcone were responsible for the LDRD Program. Execution of the program was delegated to the Senior Advisor to the Director Rokaya Al Ayat. The LDRD Program at LLNL is in compliance with DOE Order 413.2B and other relevant DOE orders and guidelines.
1U.S. Department of Energy Order 413.2B, Laboratory Directed Research and Development (Retrieved October 21, 2015).
2Managing for High-Quality Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories (retrieved October 21, 2015).