ASM Requests Increased FY25 Funding for DOE Office of Science

April 25, 2024

Testimony Prepared by the American Society for Microbiology
Submitted for the Record to the United States House of Representatives
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

April 25, 2024
Submitted on behalf of: Amalia Corby, Federal Affairs Director American Society for Microbiology

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) urges Congress to increase funding for the DOE Office of Science to $9.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2025. This is consistent with the Energy Sciences Coalition, of which ASM is a member. The Biden Administration's FY25 Budget Request proposed $945.225 million for the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program within DOE Office of Science. ASM requests that Congress allocates at least $945.225 million for the BER program for FY25. We also request funding of $93.565 million for the Joint Genome Institute, in line with the FY25 President's Budget Request, to include sustained investments for the National Microbiome Data Collaborative. We also support the allocation of $120 million for the Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs) and robust investments in the Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) within BER.

ASM appreciates the opportunity to submit outside witness testimony for the Fiscal Year 2025 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Established in 1899, ASM is the home for microbial scientists from around the globe to connect, learn, discover and prepare for the future. ASM is one of the oldest and largest single life science societies with 36,000 members in the U.S. and around the world, whose mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. We connect with millions of experts and harness their science to serve humanity to solve the world's most pressing problems, including climate change and antimicrobial resistance.
The DOE Office of Science is a leader in research for the advancement of science and technology innovation, including advancing critical industries of the future. The BER program within the Office of Science supports research into scalable engineering and environmental mechanisms that use microbes to solve energy and environmental problems and to meet challenges we face in the 21st century. This includes understanding the systems biology of plants and microbes as they respond to and modify their environments in a changing climate. As well as harnessing microbes to enhance future energy technologies in the growing bioeconomy.

Funding from the DOE Office of Science through the National Laboratories, universities and other programs has generated some of our most economically important innovations and is the primary driver of basic research. This includes critical areas of genome-scale, quantitative analysis of microbial research. Research support from the DOE Office of Science has enabled scientists to use microbes to solve energy and environmental problems and to bring those solutions to scale by developing empirical, computational and mechanistic modeling tools.

We appreciate that Congress has authorized the Office of Science to fund Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC), which support research into viable and sustainable domestic biofuel and bioproducts industries. Each of the centers is led by a DOE national laboratory or university and takes an innovative approach to improving and scaling up advanced biofuel and bioproduct production processes. BRCs conduct fundamental research in plant and microbial systems biology, biological imaging analysis and genomics. As well as accelerating research and development of advanced biofuels, bioenergy materials, products that are produced from a variety of regionally diverse feedstocks and facilitating the translation of research results to industry. Sustained funding will allow existing and additional centers to continue the development of viable and sustainable domestic biofuels and bioproducts derived from non-food plant biomass, such as poplar, switchgrass and sorghum. This research will lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions, bring jobs to rural areas and boost our energy security.

DOE-Funded Microbiome Research Spurs Innovation

Increased investments for the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) will lead to more effective analysis of microbiome data and better coordination of multidisciplinary microbiome research across the federal government. The JGI advances genomics research by providing researchers and scientists across the country with access to the latest generation of genome sequencing and analysis capabilities. High-throughput DNA sequencing underpins modern systems biology research, providing fundamental biological data on the genetic potential encoded within the genomes of organisms and groups of organisms. Understanding the genome of plants and microbes is the starting point to understanding any biological system and drives scientific discoveries required to develop innovative technologies and products that drive the economy, including the growing bioeconomy.

As noted in the Interagency Strategic Plan for Microbiome Research, microbiome data is “Big Data,” which requires consistent and reliable database and resource coordination to facilitate data collection, analysis, interoperability and data sharing. The collection of microbiome data has grown exponentially in the 21st century. The standardization and sharing of microbiome data which meet principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability (FAIR) is increasingly important for scientific collaboration and discovery. The NMDC is aimed at empowering this type of microbiome research and data sharing. Spearheaded by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in partnership with Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest national laboratories, the NMDC is leveraging DOE’s existing data-science resources and high-performance computing systems to develop a framework that facilitates more efficient use of microbiome data for applications in energy, environment, health and agriculture.

ASM Urges Congress to fund Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE)

In its stewardship of innovation at DOE’s National Laboratories and universities, the Office of Science is a critical partner in advancing areas of national need including artificial intelligence, growing the bioeconomy and microbiome research. The BER Directorate at DOE explores the frontiers of genome-enabled biology, deepens our understanding of physical and biogeochemical Earth processes and enables innovation and discovery through their user-facilities. Funding is crucial for the continuation of research for existing programs within the BER, including initiatives such as BRaVE and the National Virtual Biotechnology Lab (NVBL).


Our nation’s ability to make significant advances in solving energy and environmental problems depends on advances in the microbial sciences. This will only be possible if Congress continues its commitment to robust and sustained funding increases for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science at $9.5 billion in FY25. This would include at least $945.225 million for the BER program and $93.565 million for the Joint Genome Institute, including sustained investments for the National Microbiome Data Collaborative. We also support the allocation of $120 million for the Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs) and robust investment for the Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) within BER.

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.