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H.R. 2961: Department of Energy BIO Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 4, 2021 (Introduced).



1st Session

H. R. 2961


May 4, 2021

(for himself and Mr. Lucas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology


To provide for advanced biological and environmental research and development capabilities and infrastructure at the Department of Energy, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Department of Energy Biological Innovation Opportunities Act or the Department of Energy BIO Act.


Amendments to biological and environmental research program


In general

Section 977(f) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16317) is amended to read as follows:


Bioenergy Research Centers


In general

In carrying out activities under subsection (a), the Director shall select and establish up to four bioenergy research centers to conduct basic and fundamental research in plant and microbial systems biology, bio imaging and analysis, and genomics to inform the production of fuels, chemicals from sustainable biomass resources, and to facilitate the translation of basic research results to industry.



The Director shall select centers under paragraph (1) on a competitive, merit-reviewed basis. The Director shall consider applications from National Laboratories, multi-institutional collaborations, and other appropriate entities.



A center established under this subsection shall receive support for a period of not more than 5 years, subject to the availability of appropriations.


Existing centers

The Director may select a center for participation under this subsection that is in existence, or undergoing a renewal process, on the date of enactment of the Department of Energy BIO Act. Such center shall be eligible to receive support for the duration the 5-year period beginning on the date of establishment of such center.



Upon the expiration of any period of support of a center under this subsection, the Director may renew support for the center, on a merit-reviewed basis, for a period of not more than 5 years.



Consistent with the existing authorities of the Department, the Director may terminate an underperforming center for cause during the performance period.



User facilities

Section 306 of the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act (42 U.S.C. 18644) is amended by adding at the end the following:


Biological and environmental research user facilities


In general

The Director shall carry out a program for the development, construction, operation, and maintenance of user facilities to enhance the collection and analysis of observational data related to complex biological, earth, and environmental systems.


Facility requirements

To the maximum extent practicable, the user facilities developed, constructed, operated, or maintained under paragraph (1) shall include—


distributed field research and observation platforms for understanding earth system processes;


instruments and modeling resources for understanding the physical, chemical, and cellular processes of biological and environmental systems;


integrated high-throughput sequencing, DNA design and synthesis, metabolomics and computational analysis; and


such other facilities as the Director considers appropriate, consistent with section 209 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7139).


Existing facilities

In carrying out the program established in paragraph (1), the Director is encouraged to evaluate the capabilities of existing user facilities and, to the maximum extent practicable, invest in modernization of those capabilities to address emerging research priorities.