"We're looking to combine deep scientific thinking with a young person's perspective," says Marie Mapes, a physical chemist who is overseeing the new fellowship program along with her regular duties in EERE's Solar Energy Technologies Program. "And we thought postdocs would be the best way to do it."
-From an interview in Science Magazine
The new postdoctoral program described in the article, that Marie (my wife) is working with, will fund researchers to not only work with top scientists, but also encourage them to spend 20% of their time working on their own projects. The 20% idea comes from the tech industry, which has had some of the biggest growth of any industry.
I also think the postdoctoral program is a good idea based on research I was working on as an RA on in graduate school. In general the research found that post-docs were one of the best ways to improve university production of patents (a sign for technological progress).