Joint BioEnergy Institute Receives Department of Energy Award

Thursday, July 20, 2017

SACRAMENTO – This Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the Joint BioEnergy Institute, led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, would be one of four recipients of a $40 million DOE award for bioenergy and bioproducts research. State funding for bioenergy research, which Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) worked to secure in last year’s budget, was instrumental in demonstrating the state’s commitment to the Institute and making it a more competitive applicant. 


“I am pleased to have championed this application. The Joint BioEnergy Institute is a reflection of California’s scientific excellence and a worthy recipient of this award,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “This week, we passed a Cap & Trade extension that will reinforce California’s ambitious environmental goals. Research produced by institutions like the JBEI is critical to producing the innovative tools to reach those goals.”


The Joint BioEnergy Institute was established a decade ago by the DOE’s Office of Science and since its creation, has produced over 600 peer-reviewed publications, 86 licenses, and 23 patents.  The Institute is led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has been a global scientific powerhouse for decades, producing thirteen Nobel Laureates and fifteen National Medal of Science recipients, and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact.  


The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory depends on funding from a variety of federal and state sources including the US Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. Last year, Assemblymember Bloom, as Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Resources & Transportation, played a critical role in securing $3 million in the 2016-2017 Budget for biofuel and bioenergy research at the lab.  


This week’s announcement is a welcome moment of good news as the scientific community grapples with potential losses of billions of dollars in federal funding for research. President Donald Trump’s 2018 Budget is set to cut $3.1 billion from energy research programs at the Department of Energy, an 18% reduction from last year’s funding. Trump also plans to cut millions from health research, imperiling countless research institutions around the country.


“As we celebrate this week’s news, we must also remain vigilant,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “With federal cuts to scientific researching looming, it is our responsibility to both fight efforts to strip our research institutions of their funding and seek ways to bolster them at the state-level.”


Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.