Congress established the LDRD program at the DOE national laboratories in 1991 to foster excellence in science and technology and to ensure the laboratories are technically vital and prepared to meet today's needs and tomorrow's challenges. LDRD achieves this by supporting high-risk, potentially high-payoff research and development projects. At LLNL, this program provides the most significant resource for internally directed scientific and technical investments.
According to DOE Order 413.2C, the LDRD Program serves to
Toward these ends, LDRD funds leading-edge research and development while helping to recruit, train, and mentor top talent in new and emerging fields, typically including, for example, 50% of the Laboratory's postdoctoral researchers, many of whom become career employees who are internationally respected in their fields (see "Awards and Recognition"). LDRD both supports the basic research that is instrumental in enhancing the core competencies of the Laboratory and applies those competencies in novel ways to achieve national security mission goals, often forming the foundation of new programs. Furthermore, with its emphasis on creative science and novel methods, LDRD research often leads to inspired collaborations, intellectual property, and technical innovations that are transferred to industry. (For examples, see "Long-Term Impacts of LDRD Investments.") Altogether, Livermore's technical strength and agility, as well as its status as a premier research institution are, in large part, a product of LDRD investment choices.
LLNL director William Goldstein and deputy director for science and technology Patricia Falcone were responsible for the Livermore LDRD program in 2018. Execution of the program was delegated to LDRD program director, Doug Rotman. The LDRD program at Livermore complies fully with DOE Order 413.2C and relevant DOE orders and guidelines.