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Proposal Guidance for ARM-EMSL FICUS Program

Updated December 2021 

This guidance is for authors who have been invited to submit a full proposal for FICUS research with ARM and EMSL, following review of their Letter of Intent.   

Researchers preparing proposals are encouraged to contact or continue discussions with ARM and EMSL scientific staff regarding their research goals and resource needs. For help identifying the appropriate contacts, see the contacts identified in the proposal call announcement.  

Proposals must be submitted electronically through EMSL's User Portal

Required Information 

The list below summarizes the information required for a proposal submission, to be entered into the online form in the User Portal.  

  • Categorization details (research category; EMSL IRP) 
  • Requested start date 
  • Title and abstract 
  • Proposed research description (uploaded PDF document; instructions below) 
  • Participant details (name, institution, ORCID ID, etc) 
  • Funding sources 
  • Samples and equipment  

The online form will be pre-populated with information you provided in your LOI but will contain a new section for detailed information about requested EMSL resources. All previously entered information from the LOI can be modified if needed before submitting your proposal.   

Proposed Research Description 

The detailed description of your proposed research will be uploaded to the proposal form as a PDF file. Instructions for formatting and content of the Proposed Research document are given below. These guidelines are updated annually and requirements may change from year to year. Note that all required appendices must be combined with the Proposed Research description in a single PDF file. 

Document Formatting  

  • 6-page limit. Pagination is required.  
  • 11-point fonts (or larger for headings). Captions, symbols, special characters, can have a font of less than 11 points.  
  • 1-inch margins  
  • No more than 5 lines of text within a vertical space of one inch  
  • Single-column format for text  
  • Adobe (.pdf) file format  

Title and Abstract 

A title and abstract for your project will be requested through the online form. The abstract does not need to be included in the Project Description PDF. Titles and abstracts of successful non-proprietary projects will appear on the EMSL website and be shared with the Department of Energy Office of Science. 

Proposed Research Project Description  

Describe your research plan for using ARM and EMSL resources (maximum of 6 pages). Suggested word counts are given for each section.   

The Project Description 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.   

The Project Description should include 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.  
  • Specific Aims (~400 words). 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).  
  • Mission Relevance (~400 words).  Clearly explain how your research addresses specific mission areas and advances the science pertinent to DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research, as well as ARM and EMSL missions, and/or describe the value/impact of its economic or societal importance.   
  • Background (~400 words). Provide a concise discussion of previous work to make clear what the research problem is, why you want to do this particular study, exactly what has been accomplished, and demonstrate why the studies need to be continued.  
  • Approach or Work Plan (~1200 to 1500 words). Describe the work to be conducted with ARM and EMSL in the first year of the project, along with any preliminary, background measurements, or tests completed that validate the approach (include references where relevant and attach the full citations as an addendum). If your proposal is accepted, EMSL and ARM staff will work with you to define your needs in detail based on current capabilities. Include expected contributions from EMSL or ARM beyond the logistics needed to utilize the resources. Address the strategy for collecting, preparing, and delivering samples at each facility. Identify which team member will be doing each portion of the work plan and demonstrate why your project requires ARM and EMSL resources and cannot be done elsewhere.  
  • Computing Approach (Required if Tahoma compute cycles are requested. 1-page maximum; does not count towards the 6-page limit). Using the Computing Resources Template (see Related Documents), provide details about the proposed computational method or approach, the software or code to be used, and details about the requested computing resources, file storage, and staff support needed.   


As part of the Project Description PDF file, include the following appendices in the order listed below. 

Appendix 1: List of References (required)  

Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication. If the document is available electronically, the website address also should be identified. Proposers must be especially careful to follow accepted scholarly practices in providing citations for source materials relied upon when preparing any section of the proposal. While there is no established page limitation for the references, this section must include bibliographic citations only and must not be used to provide parenthetical information outside of the 6-page Project Description.  

Appendix 2: CVs (required)  

Attach abbreviated CVs (2-page maximum each) for the PI and each of the co-PIs to support the review of the team's qualifications for the research proposed.  

Appendix 3: ARM Resources (required)  

Identify the resources (e.g., facilities, instrumentation, logistical support, guest instrument support, special instrument scanning strategies, enhanced soundings, data products, etc.) being requested from the ARM Facility. Please note that the ARM Facility does not purchase equipment in support of individual field campaigns or upgrade infrastructure other than its own.   

EMSL resource requests will be entered through the online proposal form.  

Appendix 4: ARM Data Management Plan (required, one-page maximum) 

Clearly indicate what data products will be submitted to the ARM Data Archive. For collaborative purposes, indicate the collaborating agency’s data policy and how data will be shared with the ARM community.  

Note: Routine ARM data are available to all participants from the ARM Data Archive on a free and open basis as they become available, while data and documentation from PI/guest instrument deployments must be submitted to the ARM Data Archive no later than 6 months after the end of the campaign.  

Appendix 5: Active Collaborator List (required)   

Provide a list of active collaborations that the PI and co-PI(s) have had in the past 2 years, using the Active Collaborators Template (see Related Documents). This may be identical to the list provided in the LOI.  


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