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Letter of Intent Guidance for ARM-EMSL FICUS Program

Updated: December 2021 

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required prior to submitting a full proposal, to facilitate planning of the peer-review process, ensure alignment of proposals to ARM and EMSL missions and capabilities, and assist users in building strong proposals. LOIs are reviewed by members of each facility’s scientific staff and management. 

Researchers preparing LOIs are encouraged to contact scientific staff to discuss research goals and resource needs. For help identifying the appropriate contacts, see the proposal call announcement.  

Required Information 

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

  • Categorization details (research category; EMSL Science Area and 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  

Once you initiate a new LOI, you can navigate through the entire form to view all required information and additional guidance. 

Proposed Research Description 

The detailed description of your proposed research will be uploaded to the LOI form as a PDF file. Instructions for formatting and content of the Proposed Research document are given below. These guidelines are updated periodically 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 

  • 2 page limit for Project Description (details below). Pagination is required  
  • 11 point fonts (or larger for headings). Captions, symbols, and 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-spaced lines recommended 
  • 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. 

Project Description 

Describe your research plan for using ARM and EMSL resources (maximum of 2 pages). Any references or visual materials must be included in the 2-page limit. References are not required. 

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 must 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 (~ 250 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), providing concise and unambiguous details. 
  • Mission Relevance (~100 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.  
  • Approach or Work Plan (~500 words). Describe the work to be conducted with ARM and EMSL. Include a brief description of the estimated resource needs for your proposal and how the data produced will be used. Include any preliminary data, background measurements, or tests completed that validate the approach (include references where relevant). Provide information regarding the sampling strategy and mode of sample analysis required to meet science goals such as:
    • Suitable sampling location(s) selected from those listed in the call. 
    • Most appropriate weather conditions (e.g. clear or cloudy) and season of the year. 
    • Whether fixed-altitude or profiles would be more appropriate for your science goals.  
    • Whether flights are needed at multiple times during the day. 
    • Approximate number of separate flights or profiles required. 
    • Aerosol information required and associated analysis requested (this will also have a bearing on the sample mass required for a valid sample). 
    • Any specific supplementary ARM measurements critical to accompany the tethered balloon samples. 


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

Appendix 1: EMSL Resources (required) 

Using the  template provided (see Related Documents), please identify the high-level list of capabilities that you are considering in your research. This list allows management and instrument staff to get an idea of the information that would be needed for a full proposal. 

Appendix 2: Active Collaborators List (required) 

To help EMSL avoid conflicts of interest on our Proposal Review Panels, please attach a list of active collaborators for the PI and co-PI(s) from the past 2 years, and other individuals who may represent a conflict of interest (template available - see Related Documents). In addition to research project collaborators, the list must include co-authors with whom you've actively interacted, co-editors, advisors and advisees, and financial affiliations, all from the past 2 years. 

Participation in very large collaborative effort 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 reasonable person familiar with your relationship. You may substitute a list from a recent NSF, DOE, or other proposal that meets the spirit of this request, though lists of more than 100 collaborators (per investigator) should be shortened to include only the closest collaborators. Please use your best judgment in these cases. 


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

For technical and scientific questions: Refer to the proposal call announcement for scientific contacts.