Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

A DOE Office of Science User Facility

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Guidance for Letters of Intent: FY2020 FICUS Research with JGI and EMSL

Published January 2019

LOIs are due March 20, 2019 at 11:00 PM (PDT) .

Requirements have changed, so applicants should closely review the current guidance below for submitting a Letter of Intent to the Call for FY2020 FICUS Research with JGI and EMSL.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) for FICUS Research with JGI and EMSL is required to allow EMSL and JGI to plan for appropriate reviewers and ensure full proposals will address DOE mission areas and the focus of the Call. LOIs will be reviewed by members of both EMSL and JGI scientific staff and management. Decisions will be sent to authors by April 5.

LOIs must be submitted electronically through EMSL's User Portal. The Proposal Planning document [pdf] will walk you through the details needed to complete the web-based proposal form in the User Portal and help you track your progress. Templates and links recommended for use are highlighted below and are also available for easy access under the Additional Information box on the right. Details regarding the LOI format, attachments, and submittal process are unique to this Call, and applicants to either user facility should closely review this information before starting. Conforming to these instructions will be strictly enforced, and LOIs that are not consistent with these instructions will be returned without review.

Please NoteWhile anyone can write and submit the Letter of Intent on behalf of the research team, postdocs and students may not serve as primary investigators in order to maintain a longer-term point of contact at the institution for the proposal life-cycle.


Call for Proposals Issued:                        January 9

 Letters of Intent Due:                               March 20

 Invitation of Proposals:                            April 5

 Full Proposals Due:                                 May 5

 Technical and Scientific Review:             June 19

 Decision notices sent:                             July 31

 Projects start:                                          October 2019


  • Pagination is required
  • 11 point fonts (or larger for headings), Times New Roman (recommended). Captions, symbols, and special characters can have a font size of less than 11 points.
  • 1 inch margins
  • No more than 5 lines of text within a vertical space of one inch.
  • Single-spaced (recommended); double-spaced is accepted but must meet established page limits.
  • Single-column format for text
  • Adobe (.pdf) file format


  • Co-Investigator. Currently, only a single co-investigator can be identified on the electronic proposal form, but you may list all co-investigators in your Project Description.
  • ORCID iD. For submission of an LOI or full proposal, an ORCID iD is required for the PI and co-PI only (individuals designated on the Participants page of the electronic proposal form with gold and silver stars). You do not need to have iDs for any of the other team members.
    • For new authors, you will be asked to link an ORCID iD when you create your User Portal account.
    • For returning authors who have not yet linked their ORCID iDs, instructions can be found on the Portal homepage.


Describe your research plan for using JGI and EMSL resources. A separate abstract will be required as part of the web-based proposal form and should not be repeated in your Project Description.

Remember to write the Project Description for your LOI at a level appropriate for someone familiar with the general area of your research, but not necessarily an expert on the specific topic. To assist in targeting your research description, be sure to read the review criteria for EMSL and JGI.

The Project Description must include the following sections:

  • Title (255 characters or less). The project title must be brief, scientifically or technically valid, intelligible to a scientifically or technically literate reader, and suitable for use in the public press.
  • Relevant Categories: Please identify one or more categories that are relevant to the proposal:

     [ ] Bacteria/archaea

     [ ] Fluorescence activated cell sorting / Microbial single cell

     [ ] Metagenome/metatranscriptome

     [ ] Fungi

     [ ] Algae

     [ ] Plant

     [ ] Synthesis

     [ ] Metabolomics

     [ ] Other (describe)

  • Specific Aims (generally 3000 characters or less). State the specific objectives of the research proposed (e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology), providing concise and unambiguous details.
  • Mission (generally 3000 characters or less). Clearly describe the relevance of this project to the BER or DOE mission areas and its economic or societal importance.
  • Background/Introduction (approximately 3000 characters or less). Briefly describe 1) the scientific question(s) being addressed, 2) the anticipated importance or significance of results to be obtained, especially as related to EMSL and JGI missions, and 3) how the data will be used and by which scientific community.
  • Approach (approximately 4000 characters). Briefly describe the estimated resource needs for your proposal and how the data produced will be used. Please keep in mind the DOE JGI sequencing, synthesis and metabolomics sample limits under this Call when developing your Letter of Intent, and include any preliminary data, background measurements, or tests completed that validate the approach (include references where relevant). Please address the strategy for preparing and delivering samples to both EMSL and JGI, providing approximate shipping dates to each facility. Please refer to the JGI sample preparation requirements for details on quantity and quality of material required for each JGI product type.
  • Regulatory compliance. Please provide a brief description of how you are addressing requirements that may be imposed by local, national, or international regulation for the use of any genetic resource (for example, regulations issued under the Convention on Biological Diversity Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing). This requirement applies whether the use is for non-profit or for-project activity.
  • Appendix 1Active Collaborator List (required). To help avoid conflicts of interest on our Proposal Review Panel, please attach a list of active collaborations [Word] (see example below) that the PI and co-PI(s) have had in the past 3 years. In addition to research projects, collaborations might include co-authors with whom you've actively interacted, co-editors, advisors or advisees or financial affiliations with an institution or individual. You may substitute a list from a recent NSF, DOE, or other proposal that meets the spirit of this request. Lists in excess of 100 collaborators (per investigator) can be shortened to include only the closest collaborators.


For general LOI or full proposal inquiries –  
Terry Law (emsl@pnnl.gov, 509-371-6003)
Christa Pennacchio (jgi-jira+pmosupport@lbl.gov)

For EMSL inquiries – Mary Lipton
(mary.lipton@pnnl.gov, 509-371-6589)

For Joint Genome Institute inquiries – Susannah Tringe
(SGTringe@lbl.gov, 925-296-5813)