Research within Program Domains is organized by Programs. Programs include a portfolio of projects that have a common scientific theme; projects can range from single PI to large, multi-disciplinary, team-based efforts. Programs are typically closely aligned with sponsor offices, and Program Leads serve as the main Berkeley Lab point of contact for those offices. Scroll down to read about our fourteen Programs.

Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Geophysics

Understanding the impact of fluids injected into the subsurface is essential for a host of activities that have material benefits for society. The long-term mission of the BES Geophysics Program is to improve our ability to monitor and image in space and time where injected fluids migrate and what alterations they make to the Earth’s subsurface.


Research projects in EESA’s Bioenergy Program apply synthetic biology, bioengineering, and microbiology to foster renewable fuel production. Key themes of the Bioenergy Program include: (1) developing novel biofuel pathways in bacteria, (2) exploiting microbial metabolic diversity for biofuel production and lignocellulose deconstruction, and (3) mitigating petroleum souring.

Climate Modeling

This program aims to develop global process-resolving models to help quantify the roles of climate feedbacks in anthropogenic climate change. Abrupt and extreme climate changes from anthropogenic warming pose some of the greatest risks to society and the environment. Understanding of the complex interactions involved with feedbacks is critical.

Coffee bean borer on coffee bean; caffeine chain upper left; bacteria image from beetle gut right. Crop 16:9.

Ecosystems Biology Program

The Ecosystems Biology Program focuses on discovering and understanding the molecular basis of plant, microbial and metazoan interactions, including specific gene functions, species interactions, and community dynamics under a variety of environmental conditions—and developing the advanced technology that enables such understanding.

Geological Carbon Sequestration

Geologic Carbon Sequestration

The Geological Carbon Sequestration Program uses theory along with lab, field, and simulation approaches to investigate processes needed to inform and guide the safe and effective implementation of geologic carbon sequestration.

Geothermal Systems

The Geothermal Systems Program is focused on 1) Developing innovative technologies for identifying and characterizing conventional and hidden natural hydrothermal systems; and 2) Characterizing, developing, and sustaining enhanced geothermal systems, through the use of coupled process models, MEQ monitoring, and laboratory studies.

Stock Image of Oil Field

Hydrocarbon Resources

The Hydrocarbon Resources Program focuses on developing an understanding of the basic concepts and processes governing the storage and nonisothermal flow of hydrocarbons in porous media during production, as well as an understanding of associated coupled processes and phenomena involved in resource development and production.

Nuclear Energy and Waste

The role of the Nuclear Energy and Waste Program is to perform fundamental and applied Earth-sciences-related research concerning the safe, secure, and responsible use of nuclear energy, as well as the safe storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel and waste.

Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

This program’s focus is to understand and explain mechanisms and processes controlling primary production, carbon cycling, and soil biogeochemistry; the impacts of disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems; and ecosystem feedbacks to climate in vulnerable environments. In addition, it seeks to establish and maintain environmental field observatories.