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Three NREL Scientists Receive Prestigious DOE Early Career Research Funding

Aug. 1, 2019

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has selected three researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to receive significant funding as part of its Early Career Research Program.

The researchers—Davinia Salvachúa Rodriguez, Cara Lubner, and Andriy Zakutayev—will each receive $2.5 million over the next five years to further their respective research efforts.

Read more about what each is working on in the stories below:

The three were among 70 other researchers from institutions across the country named today in an announcement made by the Office of Science. The program limits the funding an opportunity to a researcher who has received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years.

Only two other NREL researchers have been selected for the Early Career Research Program in its 10-year history: Kirstin Alberi (2012) and Adele Tamboli (2016).

A staff scientist, Tamboli received funds to help develop a new class of materials for solar cells and other applications. “Getting this award felt like winning the science lottery to me,” she said. “The topic is something I am super passionate about, and it’s so rare to get five years – and 50% of my time personally – to focus on one thing. Three years in, that excitement has not diminished at all. Maybe more importantly, this has allowed me to build a team of researchers at NREL that I love working with, and who bring their own unique perspectives and insights to this problem, both working towards the original goals of the proposal and taking the research into new, unexpected, and very exciting directions.”

“Supporting our nation’s most talented and creative researchers in their early career years is crucial to building America’s scientific workforce and sustaining America’s culture of innovation,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  “We congratulate these young researchers on their significant accomplishments to date and look forward to their achievements in the years ahead.”