For the past twenty-five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's ability to stay ahead of the curve of evolving threats has been possible in large part because of the LDRD Program, which serves as the incubator for “new ideas.”
The Program was established by Congress in 1991 to maintain the technical health and vitality of the Department of Energy’s national laboratories and is the most important tool we have for ensuring that the Laboratory maintains the world-class technical expertise needed to effectively bridge the gap between current capabilities and ideas that are beyond the planning horizon of our sponsors.
Through LDRD we foster innovation, scientific discovery, technical advancement, and career development. A high-priority goal of the Program is to advance the frontiers of basic science in support of DOE and the Laboratory missions. As a result, LDRD-funded projects help us maintain foundational expertise in core scientific and engineering disciplines and make essential contributions to the Laboratory’s national security missions in stockpile stewardship, biosecurity, cybersecurity, energy and climate, high-performance computing, and others. In fact, many current Livermore programs trace their roots to research that began under LDRD sponsorship. For example, the LDRD Program invested in research advancing biosecurity and biodetection long before they became recognized as indispensable to national security.
By almost any measure, the LDRD Program has been a tremendous success. Projects funded by the Program have led to prestigious national and international awards and produced influential scientific papers. Roughly half of Livermore’s patents and R&D 100 awards stem from LDRD investments. Perhaps most importantly, the LDRD Program has been a major vehicle for attracting, training, and retaining talented new technical staff, who enable the Laboratory to pursue its goal of “Science and Technology on a Mission.”