Published March, 2013
EMSL has made significant changes to the proposal program for fiscal year 2013, including reducing the number of proposal options and instituting review cycles for General proposals. Researchers are strongly urged to carefully review the proposal options and review process before submitting a new proposal. If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact User Support.
A variety of proposal options are available based on research needs to facilitate user access and ensure EMSL's capabilities are used to address cutting-edge science questions. Most research conducted at EMSL is nonproprietary, with results disseminated to the scientific community through publications in the open literature or conference presentations and papers. Authors of nonproprietary proposals may retain rights to intellectual property (IP) resulting from the use of EMSL, but the government is granted a nonexclusive license to use the IP.
In addition to learning about active or planned calls and the types of proposals described below, researchers are encouraged to read more about the process for Submitting a Proposal for Fiscal Year 2013. Whether new to EMSL or a returning user, please contact the appropriate Capability Lead(s) to discuss your resource needs before beginning any proposal. The Capability Leads will advise you regarding the feasibility and approach of your project plan and about opportunities for integrating other capabilities to strengthen your proposal. Contact information for the Capability Leads is available on EMSL's capability pages.
All proposals must be submitted through EMSL's User Portal and should adhere to the current year's published Proposal Guidance. For researchers developing full proposals for the Joint Call for Exploratory Collaborations Between EMSL and the Joint Genome Institute, the details regarding proposal format and the submittal process are unique to this Call. Returning applicants to either user facility should closely review this information before starting. If you have questions on or difficulties with the submission process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call User Support at 509-371-6003.
Active and Planned Calls for Proposals
The annual Call for Proposals provides opportunities for researchers to request access to EMSL resources for multiple years. Each year, it is designed to direct user activity through EMSL's science themes toward specific environmental molecular scientific challenges that address topics of societal importance. Although user proposals requesting one year of access or less may be submitted at any time, preference is given to user proposals submitted in response to the annual Call. The 2013 Call for Proposals is now closed.
SUPPLEMENTAL CALL FOR EXPLORATORY COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN EMSL AND DOE-JGI
A joint Call for Exploratory Collaborations between EMSL and the Joint Genome Institute is open until April 8. This Call solicits pilot projects that integrate the resources of both EMSL and DOE-JGI in topics related to biofuels production and carbon cycling. Letters of Intent are due April 8, with full proposals due May 27 for submitters whose letters of intent are approved. Proposals submitted against this Call will follow a proposal format and review process separate from Science Theme or General proposals.
Types of User Proposals
EMSL offers four types of user proposals: General and Scientific Partner, which can be submitted at any time throughout the year, and Science Theme and Research Campaign, which are offered only during the annual Call for Proposals.
General proposals provide an opportunity for researchers to expand a previous proof-of-principle experiment or gain data useful in submitting a proposal during the annual Call. The scope of a General proposal can vary from a single, focused experiment to a multi-resource set of studies, and may include Requests for special consideration. Proposals may be submitted to EMSL at any time throughout the year, but will be reviewed by Proposal Review Panels (PRP) on established cycles throughout the year. In addition, researchers should be aware that General proposals are valid only for the fiscal year in which they are accepted. For example, proposals accepted in December 2013 are valid up to September 30, 2014.
General proposals are evaluated two times a year by the PRP most closely related to the research topic to ensure fair opportunity through a competitive process. To be considered for acceptance, the proposal score given by the PRP must meet or exceed the minimum established for the current fiscal year. For fiscal year 2014, the cut-off score is 4.20. Authors should be aware that additional requirements exist if you are Resubmitting a Proposal that was previously rejected by the review panel. If the proposal was not accepted due to funding limitations, no additional requirements exist for your proposal package. Proposals received after the review cycle deadline will be held until the next cycle.
|Proposal Review Panel Meeting||Deadline for Submission|
|October||September 15 (Deadline extended to October 15 for 2013)|
Requests for special consideration
On the proposal form, researchers can identify circumstances that may warrant special consideration, such as restricting data for protection of intellectual property (IP), rapid access to meet an urgent deadline for a grant application, or requesting use of non-EMSL resources. These proposals will be exempted from the review cycle above and evaluated on an expedited case-by-case basis (usually 1-2 weeks). Those that do not meet the standards below will compete for resources in the next available review cycle.
- Researchers who are providing funding for staff support or identifying a proprietary proposal must provide a contract mechanism (charge code or subcontract number) to cover associated labor and/or instrument time depending on the restriction of data. These projects will be accepted provided they do not take resources away from nonproprietary competitive research (i.e., highly subscribed resources are not eligible for requests under this category), and are valid for up to one year. Proposals containing proprietary information will be reviewed under restricted protocols to maintain confidentiality. For non-federally funded proprietary work, the U.S. Department of Energy requires payment for full-cost recovery of the facilities used, which includes, but is not limited to, labor, equipment usage, consumables, materials, and EMSL staff travel.
- Requests for rapid access are accepted on a limited basis and provide 30 days access, beginning with the start of the experiment. To qualify, requests must clearly demonstrate one of the following:
- rapid turnaround of data is required for a specific deadline (e.g., response to requested data for finalizing thesis work or paper publication, or preliminary data needed for proposal preparation). The author must provide the working deadline.
- a proof-of-principle experiment is required to be able to proceed with the development of a full proposal. A proof-of-principle experiment is considered a short duration experiment that demonstrates the feasibility of an approach or the utility of a specific measurement methodology. The author must provide sufficient detail of the results expected to convince reviewers that a proof-of-principle is required and not simply a small-scale experiment that would not meet the review requirements of a larger proposal.
- Requests to use resources that are owned or co-owned by non-EMSL programs must provide sufficient information for a safety review of laboratory activity but are not expected to adhere to the Proposal Guidance for length or formatting. These resource-owner projects are valid until the end of the fiscal year in which they're accepted with two extensions (total of three years ending September 30).
Scientific Partner proposals are submitted by individuals or groups who wish to partner scientifically with EMSL staff to enhance an existing capability or develop and build unique new capabilities that enhance EMSL's user program. Capability development efforts that support environmental molecular sciences and which utilize collaborative multidisciplinary teams, pooled or leveraged resources, unique operating environments, or other resources which may be beyond those available to individual researchers or teams are encouraged. Scientific Partner proposals are intended to leverage expertise, capability, and resources that maximize impact for EMSL, the scientific partner, and future users. In return for co-development, EMSL's scientific partner users may have priority access to the new capability for a negotiated and specified period (subject to EMSL Advisory Committees review and approval). Proposals may be in response to a specific call or submitted at any time. The award and timing of EMSL Scientific Partner Projects are contingent upon EMSL strategic needs and the availability of EMSL resources.
A 1-2 page Letter of Intent (LOI) is used to initiate a dialog with EMSL's Chief Technology Officer on suitability, interest, and strategic need for the capability. A Scientific Partner user is encouraged to work with appropriate EMSL Capability Leads or other technical contacts in preparing the Letter of Intent, which should include initial discussion of need, approach, resources, scientific partner contributions, impact, and proposed team.
An LOI may be submitted by a scientific partner user at any time to email@example.com, and will be reviewed by a panel consisting of the Chief Technology Officer, the Chief Science Officer, the Associate Director for Scientific Resources, the Associate Director for Molecular Science Computing, and the Lead Scientists. Review criteria will include strategic alignment, user/scientific impact and need, and resource and time requirements. Interaction, deliberation, and refinement of concepts with the Committee and/or EMSL staff should be expected during the LOI review process. Upon review and approval, the Chief Technology Officer or delegate will contact the scientific partner user and request a full proposal, along with specific needs, considerations, or contacts to be addressed.
Full Scientific Partner Proposals (6-page maximum) are to be submitted to the EMSL User Portal, and should address scientific merit, uniqueness, and complement/fit of the proposed capability to current EMSL capabilities, Science Themes, and other strategy elements. Proposals should also detail the resource split/sharing between EMSL and partner resources.
Scientific Partner users with approved proposals will be required to submit summaries of the work performed. For projects open for one year or less, the summaries are due when the project closes. For all others, summaries are due each year based on the date established by the Chief Technology Officer. Summaries should include a brief introduction of the project, a description of the results to date, a list of any publications, awards, or recognition resulting from the project, and (for multiple year projects) a detailed justification for any changes to the resources outlined in the original proposal. Periodic reviews of Scientific Partner Projects are also required and reviews will be done at least annually for each project; the Chief Technology Officer will call and direct such reviews.
Science Themes help define and direct the development of key capabilities and collections of growing user activity associated with environmental molecular scientific challenges that address topics of societal importance. Proposals are encouraged that address the focused topics of the Call by coupling experiments with theory, modeling, or simulation; innovatively crossing multiple science themes; or are computationally intensive requiring large-scale parallel calculations that scale efficiently with both the number of processors and size of problem. The bulk of EMSL resources are allocated to these proposals.
Please note: Science Theme proposal policies have changed. These proposals will be valid for two years provided the annual summary and extension request demonstrate sufficient progress toward the stated goals. A select number of proposal authors may be invited to submit project plans to extend the work for a third year.
Research campaigns are large-scale efforts that require significant expertise and resources from multiple institutions to address a specific topic or problem of interest to EMSL. Letters of Intent are solicited through EMSLs annual Call for Proposals and selected authors will be invited to work with EMSL staff to develop more fully a project plan to be submitted as a full proposal. Research campaigns can be valid for multiple years and will be based on the selected proposal and project plan.