Publication date: April 2021
Suggested citation: U.S. DOE. 2021. Biological Systems Science Division Strategic Plan, DOE/SC-0205, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (genomicscience.energy.gov/2021bssdstrategicplan/).
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The biological sciences continue to advance at a breathtaking pace. With roots in natural history and plant science, the impacts of biological research are pervasive in our modern lives, providing significant benefits in a range of economic sectors including agriculture, medicine, and energy. A recent confluence of technological advances promises to dramatically accelerate the ability to manipulate biological processes for productive uses. These transformative advances include genome editing and high-throughput DNA synthesis technologies that enable reconfiguration of genomic content, vastly improved computational capabilities, increased availability of immense amounts of omics-derived data, and the development of novel analytical solutions (e.g., artificial intelligence and machine learning). With these tools, the biobased economy holds promise for transforming our lives in remarkable ways.
BSSD-supported research is at the nexus of many of the defining frontiers of plant science, agricultural sustainability, synthetic biology, biobased materials, and environmental microbiome science. In addition, the Division tightly integrates this portfolio of scientific research projects at national laboratories and universities with support for world-leading user facilities, computational community resources, and research centers. Consequently, BSSD is well positioned to tackle exciting, emerging challenges and develop next-generation technological solutions that will unlock the promise of an innovative, resilient, and sustainable U.S. bioeconomy.
BSSD seeks to provide the necessary fundamental science to understand, predict, manipulate, and design biological systems that underpin innovations for bioenergy and bioproduct production and enhance our understanding of natural, DOE-relevant environmental processes.
Bioenergy Research: Provide the basic science needed to convert renewable biomass to a range of fuels, chemicals, and other bioproducts in support of a burgeoning bioeconomy.
Biosystems Design: Advance fundamental understanding of genome biology and develop the genome-scale engineering technologies needed to design, build, and control plants and microbes for desired beneficial purposes.
Environmental Microbiome Research: Develop a process-level understanding of microbiome function and be able to predict ecosystem impacts on the cycling of materials (carbon, nutrients, and contaminants) in the environment.
Enabling Capabilities: Support the development of computational and instrumental platforms to enable broader integration and analysis of large-scale complex data within BER’s multidisciplinary research efforts.
User Facility Integration: Build unique, best-in-class capabilities within Office of Science user facilities (including JGI, EMSL, and DOE’s light and neutron sources) to enhance the multidisciplinary Bioenergy Research, Biosystems Design, and Environmental Microbiome Research supported by the Division.