The Energy Department‘s national laboratories have invested a combined $542 million in laboratory-directed research and development programs during fiscal 2015, which accounted for 4.2 percent of their budgets for that year, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
A DOE policy allows its federally funded research facilities to allocate up to six percent of their total annual operating and capital funds to LDRD initiatives, GAO said Friday.
The agency said contractors run national laboratories to perform studies in the national nuclear security, environmental, scientific and energy areas for DOE and other federal agencies.
GAO found during an audit that DOE’s funding limit for LDRD programs is higher than the funding caps the Defense Department has set for two similar programs at DoD.
DoD can invest up to 3 percent of its basic research budget in R&D programs authorized under the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act‘s Section 219 and up to 2.5 percent of that money in In-House Laboratory Independent Research initiatives, the report states.