The Role of Chemistry within the U.S. Department of Energy: A Program Manager’s Perspective

11/19/2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Chris Bradley

The Role of Chemistry within the U.S. Department of Energy: A Program Manager’s Perspective

Chris Bradley

Program Manager, Catalysis Science

Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy


The U.S. Department of Energy is an annual $30+ billion dollar cabinet level agency which serves a multitude of roles, including support of basic science, maintenance of the nuclear weapons stockpile, and stewardship duties related to the environmental impact of nuclear technologies. The Office of Science at DOE specifically supports a range of fundamental science and applied activities as well as construction and upkeep of large scale instrumentation utilized across the biological and physical science communities.

My role as a program manager lies within Basic Energy Sciences in the Office of Science, which enables early stage research in a range of chemical and materials science disciplines. The seminar will outline the various components and missions of the DOE offices, with particular focus on Catalysis Science and the role of chemistry and chemical engineering in the field. Additionally, opportunities for a range of scientists to utilize DOE research programs and facilities will be highlighted. 



I was born and grew up in Southeastern Kentucky, graduating from Rockcastle County High School in 1997. I graduated from UK with B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biology in 2001. From there, I attended Cornell and worked with Paul Chirik on the synthesis and functionalization of early metal dinitrogen complexes. After graduating in 2006 with a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry, I worked as a postdoctoral associate with Don Tilley at UC Berkeley on synthesis and catalytic applications of functionalized silicone nanoparticles. My independent academic career started at Texas Tech (2008-2012) where my group explored accessing low oxidation state cobalt complexes for catalytic C-H bond functionalization. I then moved to Mount St. Mary’s University, a small undergraduate institution in Maryland, in 2012. There I continued working with undergraduates on the preparation of cobalt complexes for small molecule activation. As an independent researcher, I was fortunate to receive support from various research, education, and instrument grants through NSF at both institutions, as well as funding from various private foundations (Welch Foundation, ACS PRF, etc.). In 2017, I transitioned from a teaching and research role to become a Program Manager in the Catalysis Science Program at DOE. I currently co-manage a program that recommends ~$45 million annually in awards which fund basic research across DOE national lab and university lab programs. In my spare time, I follow UK sports teams and serve in the official capacity of “swim team dad driver”. 

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