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Energy Department Selects NREL Scientist for Exclusive Award

May 5, 2016

Scientist Adele Tamboli of the Energy Department's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been awarded additional funding as part of a select group of scientists in the early stage of their careers.

The recognition comes from the DOE's Office of Science, which chose 49 scientists to receive significant funding for research as part of DOE's Early Career Research Program. Of the 49 scientists, 22 work at DOE national laboratories and 27 are with U.S. universities. The selectees for fiscal year 2016 were chosen based on peer review of about 720 proposals.

"I'm very excited to have been selected for this award, and am looking forward to getting started on the work," said Tamboli, who joined NREL in January 2014. She is also a Research Assistant Professor at the Colorado School of Mines. "I am also incredibly grateful to my colleagues, and especially the students, who have contributed to preliminary experiments and developing the concepts that led to this award. I look forward to continuing these fruitful collaborations as the project progresses."

Tamboli is part of NREL's High Efficiency Crystalline PV research group, and her work focuses on photovoltaic materials and devices. The research she proposed for the Early Career Research Program centers on developing a new class of III-V analog phosphide and nitride materials, which may have applications in extremely efficient but inexpensive photovoltaics as well as into platforms for improved lasers and optical computing. Two examples of these materials, ZnSiP2 and ZnSnN2, have been the subject of preliminary research by Tamboli and colleagues, and already proven to be promising materials for photovoltaic applications.

"The research we're doing at NREL has so many positive implications for the future," NREL Director Martin Keller said. "It's exciting and encouraging to see one of our researchers being selected for additional funding and support from the Energy Department."

Under the program, researchers based at the national laboratories will receive $500,000 a year to cover salary plus research expenses. The research grants are planned for five years. University-based researchers will receive at least $150,000 per year to cover summer salary and research expenses.

"We invest in promising young researchers early in their careers to support lifelong discovery science to fuel the nation's innovation system," DOE Office of Science Director Cherry Murray said. "We are proud of the accomplishments these young scientists already have made, and look forward to following their achievements in years to come."

To be eligible for the award, a researcher must be a full-time employee at an Energy Department national laboratory, or an untenured, tenure-track assistant or associate professor at a U.S. college or university, who received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years.

Tamboli earned her B.S. from Harvey Mudd Collge in 2004, her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2009, and was a postdoc at California Institute of Technology from 2009-2011.

Research topics are required to fall within one of the Office of Science's six major program offices:

  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research
  • Basic Energy Sciences
  • Biological and Environmental Research
  • Fusion Energy Sciences
  • High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Physics

A list of the 49 awardees, their institutions, and titles of research projects is available on the Early Career Research Program website.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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