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Letter of Intent Guidance

Updated May 2024

This guidance applies to the Large-Scale EMSL Research call, EMSL-ARM FICUS call, and Exploratory Research call. 

A letter of intent (LOI) is required for some proposal calls before submitting a full proposal. All LOIs must be submitted electronically through the EMSL User Portal. Applicants should read the following guidance carefully. Failure to comply with the requirements will result in proposals being returned without review. 

Initiate a new LOI by logging into the EMSL User Portal and clicking “Submit a Proposal/LOI” in the left-hand navigation bar. The portal will guide you to enter details about the proposal, participants, funding, resources, and samples. You can navigate through each step to view all the required information and additional guidance. Review the entire form well in advance of the submission deadline to make sure you have enough time to compile the required information. Please note that these guidelines are updated periodically, and requirements may change from year to year. 

There are two steps to complete the LOI submission: 

1. Enter the required information in the EMSL User Portal 

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

  • Proposal Type (Open Calls > Call Name > EMSL Science Area) 

  • Primary Research Category (drop-down options provided) 

  • Title 

  • Abstract (approximately 500 words) 

  • Proposed Research (uploaded PDF file; see Proposed Research document section below) 

  • Participant Details (name, profession, email, institution, ORCID iD, etc.) 

  • Funding for Each Participant 

  • Samples/Equipment 

2. Prepare and upload the Proposed Research document 

Download and complete the standardized LOI form. 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. No references or figures should be included in the LOI form. 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. 

  • Specific Aims (100-word limit). State the specific objectives of the research proposed (e.g., 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-word limit). Clearly explain how your research addresses EMSL’s mission (and, if relevant, ARM’s mission) and advances the science pertinent to DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program and describe the value/impact of its economic or societal importance. 

  • Approach or Work Plan (300-word limit). Describe the work to be conducted at EMSL (and, if relevant, with ARM), including a sample description, an estimate of the number of samples, a description of any unique characteristics (e.g., transgenic biological material, dilute solution or environmental samples containing contaminants, soil or ground waters collected from the Hanford Site, etc.), and the types of analyses to be performed at EMSL. If your research includes computation, provide an estimate of the computational resources needed, a description of the software involved, and a description of the team's experience with the computational methods and software. 

  • Expected Sample Sets and Resources. Fill out the table provided in the template with a high-level overview of the expected sample sets, including the specific instruments and highlighted capabilities being utilized. 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 and to provide detailed sample numbers. 

  • 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 reasonable person familiar with your relationship. 

  • 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 form must be uploaded as a PDF file to the “Proposed Research” section in the EMSL User Portal.