Proposal Opportunities

EMSL provides access to its expertise, instruments and facilities through several different mechanisms, all designed to ensure we're accelerating solutions for national energy and environmental challenges.

EMSL offers three types of user proposals, described below, including Annual Call, General and Scientific Partner. Preference is given to user proposals submitted in response to announced calls for proposals, although General proposals requesting one year of access or less may be submitted at any time during the year. Annual Calls are advertised through a variety of methods including notices on our website, alerts in the User Portal, EMSL Announcements and social media.

Annual Call for Proposals
Annual Calls are usually issued in mid-December to early February and may include options to focus on Science Theme topics, team on larger research campaigns, or use multiple facilities (e.g., the JGI-EMSL Collaborative Science Initiative). Proposals are encouraged that couple experiments with theory, modeling or simulation, and access is granted beginning October 1 following award decisions.  Details of the Annual Call and any special requirements for the different options offered are provided in the Call announcement.

Learn more about Annual Calls and their various types and details.

General 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 can vary from a single, focused experiment to a multi-resource set of studies, and may include requests for special consideration. 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. 

Learn more about general proposals, their twice-a-year deadline for submission, and requests that can be made for special consideration.

Scientific Partner Proposals
These types of calls accommodate users or groups of users who wish to partner with staff at EMSL to improve an existing capability or develop and build new or unique capabilities that enhance EMSL’s user program. Scientific Partner proposals may be submitted at any time throughout the year 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. A full proposal may be requested pending review and approval of a Letter of Intent and awarded for a period of time contingent upon strategic needs and resource availability at EMSL.

Learn more about partner proposals.

Proprietary or Non-proprietary?
Although a limited amount of access may be available for research that restricts information or intellectual property, 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.

Researchers are strongly urged to carefully review the proposal options and review process before submitting a new proposal. If you have any questions regarding EMSL's proposal opportunities, please contact User Support.

Tips for Proposals

  • Contact the appropriate Capability Lead to discuss resource requirements before submitting a proposal. They can help determine the technical feasibility and approach and suggest ways to strengthen your proposal by integrating additional capabilities.
  • All proposals must be submitted via the User Portal. Proposals should adhere to the current year's published Proposal Guidance for the applicable proposal type. Requirements may differ from previous years.
  • Understand EMSL’s science priorities and science themes.