Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) is essential; providing a means to maintain scientific and technical vitality by funding highly innovative, high-risk, potentially high-value research and development (R&D). INL's diverse LDRD portfolio explores scientific and engineering concepts — including advanced reactor modeling, nuclear waste reduction and fuel recycling — to develop DOE-NE’s needs. INL's LDRD research stimulates exploration at the forefront of cybersecurity, electric grid reliability and wireless technology.  The forward-looking nature of the lab's R&D strengthens the DOE mission by advancing hybrid energy systems and evolving energy security needs.

FY 2014 Awards and Recognition


LDRD funding is at the core of INL's Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE).  In 2014, MOOSE became available as open-source software and won a prestigious R&D 100 Award.  MOOSE also won the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Far West Award for Outstanding Commercialization Success (projects 13-097, 11-061, 10-017)

Moose team members (from left) John W. Peterson, Jason Miller, Cody Permann, Derek Gaston, David Andrs and Andrew Slaughter

Michael Tonks

The computational materials scientist was honored with the 2014 Young Leader Professional Development Award by the Structural Materials Division of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society.  Mike also earned INL's 2014 Laboratory Director's Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement.  He is principal investigator on an LDRD project related to microstructural modeling of nuclear fuel performance (project 13-032)

Catherine Riddle

The nuclear science and technology researcher was honored by the DOE 2014 Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards Program.  She won first place in the "Competition for Students who Attend Universities with less than $600 Million in 2012 R&D Expenditures."  The award was for the LDRD project that supported her doctoral dissertation work (project 11-005).

Piyush Sabharwall

The staff scientist received the American Nuclear Society Young Members Excellence Award, which recognizes an early-career nuclear scientist who demonstrates outstanding technical and leadership abilities.  Piyush's research focuses on developing new technology for very high-temperature nuclear reactors (projects 12-045, 13-107).


Transforming industrial control systems to be threat-resilient is the goal of INL's Instrumentation, Controls and Intelligent Systems (ICIS) Distinctive Signature, a multidisciplinary team of researchers that thrives on a focused research strategy of LDRD projects.  In 2014, the ICIS team at INL received an IEEE Region 6 Director's Special Award "For Leadership in the Development and Advancement of Research in the New Field of Resilient, Cyber-Physical Systems" (project 14-103) 

Hai Huang

The lead subsurface computational scientist develops models to better understand the physics of fractures and fluids in tight rock formations.  His team's models have gained significant interest from the oil and gas industry and resulted in growing funding opportunities from both DOE programs and industry (project 12-113).

Cristian Rabiti

The LDRD researcher was selected as one of two recipients of INL's Science & Technology Deputy Laboratory Director Human Capital Awards.  The award honors "those who go the extra mile in supporting interns, undergraduate and graduate student development, and postdoctoral training... to hep recruit the best" (project 14-075)

Leigh Martin

The radiochemist was one of 10 people named by the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce in 2014 as "Distinguished Under 40" for being a dynamic, groundbreaking investigator and mentor.  He was also selected as one of two recipients of INL's Science & Technology Deputy Laboratory Director Human Capital Awards (projects 14-044, 13-033)

Bruce Mincher

The INL Nuclear Science & Technology Fellow was one of three people selected to receive an Idaho Academy of Science achievement award for 2014.  Bruce earned the Distinguished Scientist/Engineer award as an expert in actinide solvent extraction, radiochemical separations, radionuclide behavior in the environment and radiation chemistry of organic compounds (project 11-006).