Our Motivation and Strategy

ESnet is motivated to fulfill the research mission of DOE by enabling scientists to push the boundaries of discovery. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE SC) is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, with a budget of $5.39B in fiscal year 2017. A key component of the DOE mission is the operation of the National Laboratories and their scientific facilities - these form a critical foundation for scientific research both at the Labs and at universities nationwide, extending in many cases to international collaborations. The importance of networking increases every year, due to the revolution in experimental instruments and increased computational output that is transforming many scientific disciplines.

Today, a small number of large collaborations (for example, those associated with the Large Hadron Collider) are adept at exploiting networks in the service of discovery. However, the majority of scientific collaborations still struggle with using these resources. The resulting “capability gap” represents a significant and unnecessary drain on the productivity of US science.

In response to this challenge, ESnet created the Science Engagement Team to engage emerging “data-intensive” science communities. The work of this team cannot be fully successful without partners at the national and global scale. This is because 80% of data flows on the ESnet network terminate at a university or facility outside the DOE complex. This pattern is likely the result of DOE and National Science Foundation (NSF) funding models, which enable thousands of university-based scientists to use DOE facilities (including beamlines, genome sequencers, supercomputers) for their research.


ESnet’s vision to create an environment where scientific discovery is completely unconstrained by geography cannot be accomplished by the ESnet alone. A combination of partner national, regional and campus networks must seamlessly operate together with ESnet to link the globally distributed experimental sites, computing and storage facilities, and scientists at their home institutions for truly effective data transfer. All components of this data ecosystem must be operating at peak performance from the end-to-end, from workstation-to-workstation, to ensure that research activities are making progress, and scientists remain un-burdened and unaware of the underlying network infrastructure supporting them.

ESnet Science Engagement Team focuses specifically on the optimization of “last mile” network performance (beyond the border of campus or Lab). The team works with the campus and regional IT partners to upgrade the network architecture directly supporting the experimental and supercomputing facilities where DOE researchers require fast egress and ingress of data.

The Science Engagement Team’s Strategic Framework is built on key areas of focus:

  1. Educate and advocate for investments in the systems, software and design that comprise the Science DMZ model including: well-tuned data transfer nodes driven by effective, user-friendly data-transfer software and perfSONAR networking monitoring services.
  2. Lead Requirements Reviews with DOE scientists to understand current and future data needs that inform ESnet service and network capacity strategies.
  3. Provide direct consultations with IT staff to provide hands-on opportunities to learn how to build and operate science-optimized network systems.
  4. Maintain a rich, well curated Knowledge base for IT professionals who require quick help in solving network problems.
  5. Build collaborations across myriad stakeholder organizations with the goal of helping to build an “army” of science engagement practitioners to extend improvements in data transfers to science teams and their home institutions around the world.
  6. Create and offer training in the form of programs and workshops for improving the relationship between engineering & scientific communities where traditionally there have been disconnects.

How we can help

Our team has significant experience in working with science collaborations to develop proactive solutions to data mobility issues. If you are interested in speaking with one of our network engineering experts to discuss your challenges, please contact our team at