2014 Call for EMSL Science Theme Research
EMSL's 2014 Call for Science Theme Proposals is now closed. Award decisions will be made by July 31, 2014 and approved proposals will be granted access to EMSL resources beginning October 1, 2014.
All Related Links
- User Portal
- 2014 Call for Proposals
- 2014 Proposal Guidance
- 2014 Proposal Review Criteria
- Guidance for Letters of Intent to JGI-EMSL Collaborative Science Call
- Guidance for Full Proposals to JGI-EMSL Collaborative Science Call (Invited Only)
- 2014 Proposal Planning
- 2014 Proposal Summary/Extension
- Previous Calls
- External Peer Reviewers
- Fellowships and Awards
Science Theme Research
EMSL's 2014 Call for Science Theme proposals is open for high-impact user research focused on selected topics in environmental molecular science. Accepted 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 lead investigators may be invited to submit project plans to extend the work for a third year.
Access to use EMSL capabilities is highly competitive, and requirements change, so please read the Proposal Guidance for Fiscal Year 2014 for detailed information regarding content that should be included in your submission. Proposals will be evaluated on a total of five review criteria, following the Proposal Review process, and those that do not adhere to the guidance will not be considered.
The Call for Science Theme proposals focuses on cutting-edge research activities that will advance scientific understanding within the specific topics listed below. Proposals are preferred that describe molecular-scale research that transforms our understanding of key phenomena of any of these specific topics, by coupling laboratory investigations of synthetic or natural materials/systems with modeling, simulation, or theory.
Proposals that significantly advance scientific innovation through integration of multiple EMSL instruments or via highly productive collaborative teams with different expertise (multi-institution, multi-disciplinary) are encouraged. Prospective users are strongly advised to contact the relevant Science Theme Lead or Capability Lead Science Theme Lead or Capability Lead to discuss proposal ideas and possible research collaborations with EMSL and PNNL staff. Prospective users interested in coupling experimental and computational approaches should contact the Molecular Science Computing Lead.
In addition, newer capabilities offer prospective users the possibility of new or unique experiments. Details about these and all of EMSL's capabilities are available on the capabilities web page, and include a variety of in-situ probes for NMR; advanced electron microscopy in EMSL's Quiet Wing space; super resolution fluorescence microscopy for live cells; high-resolution mass spectrometers; a new Radiochemistry Annex; nonlinear optics (sum frequency generation), a 3.4 petaflop supercomputer, NanoSIMS, Atom Probe Tomography, and Imaging XPS.
Focused Topics by Science Theme
Atmospheric Aerosol Systems
The Atmospheric Aerosol Systems (AAS) Science Theme focuses on molecular scale understanding of atmospheric aerosols that will improve the representation of aerosols in earth system models and thereby increase the accuracy of climate predictions. This understanding requires the knowledge of biological, chemical and physical processes controlling atmospheric aerosol sources, as well as dynamic processes such as formation, growth, aging, and their composition, structure, optical properties and cloud activation. AAS research includes all forms of atmospheric aerosols and sources (e.g., mineral dust, sea-salt, sulfate, black carbon, organics), with an emphasis on determining the molecular-scale processes that control biogenic organic emissions and formation of secondary organic aerosol and the fundamental properties and evolution of organic aerosols that have the greatest impact on atmospheric radiation and climate.
Proposals requiring multiple analytical techniques, or that combine observational and modeling approaches, to address the following focus areas are especially encouraged:
- Identifying the specific molecules within organic aerosols responsible for absorption of light (i.e., brown carbon) and characterization of the processes responsible for their formation, aging and optical properties.
- Characterization of the molecular-scale processes by which aerosol particles control ice nucleation and crystal formation in mixed-phase and ice clouds.
- Comprehensive characterization of fundamental properties of organic aerosols (phase, viscosity, morphology, mixing state and volatility) including chemical speciation of secondary organic aerosols to enable quantitative analyses of the relative contribution of various precursors and sources.
- Development of fundamental molecular-level understanding of processes responsible for observed anthropogenic-biogenic interactions that enhance secondary organic aerosol production.
- Novel approaches for characterizing the molecular-scale processes controlling biogenic organic emissions including their response to climate change and ecosystem stress.
Biosystem Dynamics and Design
The Biosystem Dynamics and Design (BDD) Science Theme focuses on intra and inter-cellular complexes and dynamic processes in microbes, fungi, and plants. By gaining a detailed understanding of how biological systems respond to and modify their environment, EMSL users can improve strategies for modifying and manipulating plants, fungi and microbes to advance systems biology for bioenergy and biorenewables.
Proposals that combine computational and dynamic approaches to elucidate biodesign principles are encouraged, especially in the following areas as they relate to the production of biofuels and other chemicals, and environmental processes of relevance to DOE:
- Molecular spatial and temporal characterization and high-performance computational simulation of compartments and biological pathways in natural or engineered plant, fungal and microbial systems.
- Transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic analyses of natural or engineered plant, fungal and microbial systems.
- Characterization of biological polymers (e.g. lignin, cellulose, hemicelluloses, chitin, others) of relevance to biofuel or biofuel precursor production from plant biomass.
- Structural and functional analyses of transmembrane proteins and processes impacting genotype to phenotype translations.
Energy Materials and Processes
The Energy Materials and Processes (EMP) Science Theme focuses on the dynamic transformation mechanisms and physical and chemical properties, especially at critical interfaces, in catalysts and energy materials that are needed to design new systems for sustainable energy applications. By facilitating the development and rapid dissemination of critical molecular-level information along with predictive modeling of interfaces and their unique properties EMSL helps enable the design and development of practical, efficient, environmentally benign and economic energy storage and energy conversion systems.
Proposals focused on establishing fundamental and predictive understanding in the following areas are especially encouraged:
- Understanding the dynamic transformation mechanisms and physical and chemical properties in energy storage systems, especially using advanced experimental and/or theoretical tools to:
- Determine interfacial processes that drive over potentials that limit the efficiency of battery systems
- Identify the molecular processes that control the overall power, lifetimes or degrade performance of energy systems
- Explore new concepts and phenomena for energy harvest, conversion and storage.
- Establishing the fundamental predictive understanding needed to design new catalysts to enhance the production and quality of biofuels and renewable chemicals and:
- Understand the critical molecular-level controls of (bio)catalysis and the relationship of molecular to mesoscale processes
- Use advanced computational and/or in situ experimental tools to accelerate understanding of critical material characteristics and molecular processes that will enable new approaches to catalysis design
Terrestrial and Subsurface Ecosystems
The Terrestrial and Subsurface Ecosystems (TSE) Science Theme focuses on the fluxes of nutrients, metabolites, and contaminants in heterogeneous terrestrial and subsurface environments across multiple scales. By providing a mechanistic understanding of chemical reactivity in solution and at interfaces in soils and the subsurface, and linking those processes via pore-scale hydrological models, EMSL users can improve strategies for sustainable solutions to contaminant attenuation, remediation, and carbon storage.
Proposals that demonstrate an integrated modeling, simulation and experimental approach are particularly encouraged in the following research areas:
- Development of molecular-scale mechanistic understanding of the role of physical, geochemical, and biological processes in the persistence of soil C below ground, especially in the area of root/rhizosphere interactions with bulk soil.
- Development of a mechanistic understanding of the molecular- to pore-scale processes that control the fate and transport behavior of carbon, nutrients (e.g. N and P) and trace metal contaminants in terrestrial and subsurface environments.
- Fundamental investigations of the role of diffusive and advective hydrologic transport in the creation of biogeochemical gradients that lead to chemical heterogeneity at the pore- to core-scale in terrestrial and subsurface ecosystems.
- Fundamental investigations of the environmental interfacial chemistry of radionuclides including surface complexation, redox reactions, and colloid and chelate formation that impact the reactivity of contaminants under terrestrial and subsurface conditions. Proposals in this area with strong experimental and computational chemistry components are preferred.
This Science Theme Call favors proposals that target the specific topics above. However, limited resources may be given to exceptional proposals that do not fit within the Call's themes. Users are reminded that opportunities for General proposals are available outside of the Science Theme Call, although only limited resources are available for such smaller projects.
Researchers interested in learning more about EMSL and specific instruments can view a dozen different instruments in four of EMSL's laboratories through a panning 360-degree virtual tour. The tour includes lab and instrument overviews available through text, images, video and web pages. It features EMSL's surface science instruments, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, ion mobility mass spectrometers, and cell isolation and surface analysis tools. Recent sustainability projects, such as a solar array, also are highlighted.
Questions regarding EMSL's user program or specifics related to the Calls for Proposals or General proposal cycles may be directed to the contacts listed below.