Kristin Persson, a brown-haired person wearing a black turtleneck, smiles at her desk. Jennifer Doudna and James Nunez in a laboratory

Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, a professor at UC Berkeley and faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab, is co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “the development of a method for genome editing.”

In 2008, Doudna’s nascent research on CRISPR RNA strands and the Cas1 protein was funded by an LDRD program award through her Berkeley Lab affiliation.

Saul Perlmutter with Bill Nye in front of a multiscreen.

An LDRD grant in 1996 provided the critical resources for Saul Perlmutter to prove his theory that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. Perlmutter won the Nobel Prize in Physics 2011.

Dark-haired scientist in the center of the frame looks toward the camera. They are standing behind the clear glass of an encased automated lab.

Researchers are building a new kind of automated lab that uses robots guided by artificial intelligence to accelerate the development of useful new materials. Work on A-Lab began in 2020, and the project later received funding from the LDRD Program.

Nichole Hanus, a person with medium-length dark brown hair wearing a dark teal sweater with a gold necklace, photographed indoors against a dark gray background.

"This LDRD funding allows me to work with policymakers and stakeholders to develop energy equity metrics that will inform a just energy transition."

Arun Persaud, a person with short dark hair wearing a red collared shirt, photographed outdoors against a green bush.

“We are exploring new ways to measure carbon in soil. For our project we combine expertise from two divisions to develop a new instrument that has the potential to solve the problem of measuring and verification of carbon in acre-sized fields at scale.”

Dan Wang, a dark-haired person wearing black glasses and a pink sweater, poses for a headshot in front of a plant.

“This LDRD funding will advance high-speed controls for complex laser and accelerator systems that are beyond the capacity of traditional control methods. This development is made possible by adapting machine learning algorithms to Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) hardware.”

Three scientists working together in a laboratory. Two scientists looking at a plate sample. Two scientists perform work on the laser table where the petawatt laser is split into two beamlines. Two scientists with long hair standing at a lab bench top inspecting a petri-dish Scientist wearing face covering working in a lab. Scientist at a lab bench working on a laptop.

The LDRD program is the single most important tool Berkeley Lab has to set strategic research directions and is considered to be the Lab’s “seed funds for the future.” LDRD has been a critical component in the support of high-potential projects across the Lab, helping to grow them from proof of principle projects to fully mature — and DOE-funded — programs.