5 Items

overhead image of Brookhaven National Laboratory

©2016 Landsat / Copernicus, used with permission

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Department of Energy National Laboratories

| November 2017

This report recommends policies and actions to improve the return on investment the U.S. government makes in sponsoring research and development (R&D) at the Department of Energy's (DOE) seventeen National Laboratories ("Labs"). While the Labs make a unique and significant contribution to all of the Department of Energy's missions, the authors develop the idea that for the Labs to fully support DOE's energy transformation goals, their R&D management practices need to be updated to better reflect current research into innovation systems and management. They also highlight the necessity of Lab interactions with industry in order to impact the nation's energy infrastructure investment, which is, for the most part, privately held.

Crew members of the Energy Observer, a former race boat turned into a autonomous navigation with hydrogen, clean the solar panels of the boat in Paris


Journal Article - Nature

Six Principles for Public Energy Innovation Programs

As the window of opportunity to avert dangerous climate change closes, the authors argue that we urgently need to take stock of government initiatives that accelerate innovation in energy technologies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. What works and why?

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How to Fix the National Laboratories

"The Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Laboratories are a core engine of the U.S. national innovation system but one in urgent need of a tune-up if the United States is to meet the pressing challenges of energy security and climate change mitigation. The next administration and Congress must modernize the policy framework shaping the National Labs to allow them to more effectively drive the innovation necessary to meet energy policy priorities."

Scientists at DOE's Sandia National Labs.

Sandia Labs/DOE

Journal Article - Nature Energy

The Pressing Energy Innovation Challenge of the US National Laboratories

Accelerating the development and deployment of energy technologies is a pressing challenge. Doing so will require policy reform that improves the efficacy of public research organizations and strengthens the links between public and private innovators. With their US$14 billion annual budget and unique mandates, the US National Laboratories have the potential to critically advance energy innovation, yet reviews of their performance find several areas of weak organizational design. This article discusses the challenges the National Laboratories face in engaging the private sector, increasing their contributions to transformative research, and developing culture and management practices to better support innovation. The authors also offer recommendations for how policymakers can address these challenges.


Securing America's Future: Realizing the Potential of the DOE National Laboratories

The Federal Government has many tools at its disposal to advance energy technology innovation. It can signal markets, for example, through energy tax and regulatory policy ("market pull"), and it can advance research, development, and deployment of energy technologies ("technology push"). Both of these kinds of tools can be effective, but the most effective policy portfolio balances a combination of these policies.