Skip to main content

Letter of Intent Guidance for the EMSL-JGI FICUS Program

Updated: December 2023

A letter of intent (LOI) is required for some proposal calls before submitting a full proposal. LOIs must be submitted electronically through the EMSL User Portal (NEXUS). The deadline for the EMSL-JGI FICUS LOI submission is March 7, 2024; 5 P.M. Pacific Standard Time.

Initiate a new LOI by logging into the EMSL User Portal and clicking “Submit a Proposal/LOI” in the left-hand navigation bar. The form will guide you to enter details about the proposal, participants, funding, resources, and samples. You can navigate through the entire form to view all the required information and additional guidance. Review the entire form well in advance of the submission deadline to make sure that you have enough time to compile the required information. Entries must be saved as they are entered; the portal will not automatically save. Please note that these guidelines are updated periodically, and requirements may change from year to year.

There are two steps to completing the LOI submission: (1) submitting the required information on the portal and (2) preparing and uploading a PDF of the proposed research (strictly use the template provided).

1. Required Information

The following information must be entered into the online form in the EMSL User Portal when prompted:

  • Proposal Type -> Open Call -> FICUS Research -> FICUS EMSL-JGI
  • Select one of the following as relevant to your proposal: Biofuels, biomaterials, and bioproducts; Hydro-biogeochemistry; Interorganismal interactions; Novel applications of molecular techniques
  • Click Start New Letter of Intent
  • Please select one of the following EMSL Science Area that best fits your proposed research. Please do not select ‘Other’
    • Environmental Transformations and Interactions
    • Functional and Systems Biology
    • Computation, Analytics, and Modeling
  • Requested Start Date: 10/01/2024
  • Primary Research Category
  • Title
  • Abstract (approximately 500 words)
  • Proposed Research (uploaded PDF document; Strictly use the Proposed Research Document Template below)
  • Participant Details (name, profession, email, institution, ORCID iD, etc.)
  • Funding
  • Samples/Equipment
  • Terms

2. Proposed Research Document

Download and complete the FY 25 FICUS JGI-EMSL Program standardized LOI template. These responses should be written at a level appropriate for someone familiar with your general area of research who is not necessarily an expert on the specific topic. References are not required, and no graphics should be included in the LOI form. Please fill out the LOI form in Word and save it as a PDF file to be uploaded in the Proposed Research Document field. The form includes the following sections:

  • Title. 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.
  • Scientific Questions and Specific Objectives (~250 words). Describe the scientific question(s) being addressed. 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, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology), providing concise and unambiguous details.
  • Mission Relevance (~100 words). Clearly explain how your research addresses DOE’s mission, and describe the value/impact of its economic or societal importance.
  • Significance (~200 words). Describe (1) the anticipated importance or significance of the results to be obtained and (2) how the data will be used and by which scientific community(ies).
  • Approach or Work Plan (~500 words). Describe the work to be conducted, including the estimated resource needs and how the data produced will be used. Include any preliminary data, background measurements, or tests completed that validate the approach. Address the strategy for preparing and delivering samples to the facilities, providing an approximate timeline. Refer to the JGI sample preparation requirements for details on the quantity and quality of material required for each JGI product type.
  • Types of Resources Needed and Numbers of Samples Expected. Using the template provided, identify a high-level list of capabilities as relevant at eBERlight (APS), CSMB, EMSL, JGI, and NEON that you are considering for your research approach. At minimum, your proposal should request resources from two facilities and be inclusive of EMSL and/or JGI. Also include the numbers of samples being planned if applicable. This list allows management and scientific staff to get an idea of the information that would be needed for a full proposal. You will have the ability to add/remove resources during final proposal submission. If you are proposing to use the HFIR BIO-SANS through CSMB, additional sample detail information is asked in the template and required for a technical feasibility review.
  • NEON Letter of Support: If you are proposing to use soils from the NEON Biorepository, you must also include a letter of support from NEON for the specific samples in your LOI. The PDF version of the letter must be appended to your Project Description PDF file. For more information about the available samples, visit

Note: The turnaround time for the letter of support is typically two weeks.

  • Active Collaborators List. Provide a list of active collaborators and individuals who may represent a conflict of interest for the PI and co-PI(s) from the past 2 years. Conflicts of interest are not required for participants identified as “Team Members.” In addition to research project collaborators, the list must include coauthors with whom you've actively interacted, coeditors, advisors and advisees, and financial affiliations, all from the past 2 years. Participation in very large collaborative efforts with an individual does not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest. Identify those who would have a personal interest in this proposal or whose unbiased judgment would be questioned by a person reasonably familiar with your relationship. Lists of more than 100 collaborators (per investigator) should be shortened to include only the closest collaborators.
  • Suggested Reviewers (optional). Proposers may include a list of suggested reviewers who they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and who are not recent collaborators/coauthors.

The completed LOI template (plus a NEON letter of support, if applicable) must be uploaded as a single PDF file to the “Proposed Research” field in the EMSL User Portal.

For general questions: EMSL User Program Services,, 509-371-6003

For technical and scientific questions, refer to the proposal call announcement for scientific contacts at each partnering facility.