Skip to main content

MONet Fall Soil Sampling Call 

Call opens June 3, 2024

The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) is seeking proposal submissions for fall soil sampling contributions to EMSL’s Molecular Observation Network (MONet). Through this call, approved principal investigators (PIs) and their teams will collect soil samples during the fall and send their samples to EMSL for analysis. EMSL scientists will analyze soil cores using standardized workflows and generate a suite of advanced data products. These data products include high-resolution compositional parameters of organic matter, measured using EMSL’s high-field Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometer; soil pore network parameters, measured using X-ray computed tomography (XCT); and annotated metagenome sequences, provided through a partnership with the Joint Genome Institute (JGI). A list of all Soil Function Call data types is available for review

We invite fall submissions from most ecoregions and land usage types, excluding water-saturated soil to 30 cm depth and/or overlying water or frozen soils. Small scope proposals will be evaluated based on the guidance in the call, environmental compliance, and the validation of geographic field site locations.  Large scope proposals also require additional technical review. An ecoregion table and an Excel spreadsheet version of the ecoregions are available for review. Proposal submissions that are not completed in entirety will be automatically rejected. PIs can only have one MONet project per year. 

Proposals will be prioritized for acceptance in the chronological order in which they are received (proposals received first that pass review will be awarded first). The exception to this policy will be proposals that require exceptionally long environmental compliance review

Proposal Submission and Timelines 

Fall 2024 Sampling: 

  • Proposal Submission: June 3, 2024, to July 2, 2024 

  • Decision Notice: Mid-August 2024 

  • Sampling Period: September 2024 to November 2024 

Soil Function Call decision notices will be communicated from

Review the full proposal calendar.

Proposal Types and Sample Submission 

Research teams are invited to submit either a “Small Scope” Soil Function proposal for a maximum of 9 sample sets or a “Large Scope” proposal for 24 sample sets. 

One sample set consists of 6 cores. This includes 

  • one 30 cm deep core for soil biogeochemical measurements (i.e., DNA, FTICR) 

    • top and bottom 10 cm segments will be analyzed 
  • one 30 cm deep core for physical measurements (i.e., XCT) 

  • four 10 cm deep cores to account for soil heterogeneity. 

Submitted proposals must collect at least a portion of the requested samples during the corresponding quarter’s sampling period. All submitters are encouraged to indicate if open data resources (i.e., ancillary data complementary to the Soil Function Call data types) exist for their respective research sites. 

  Small Scope Large Scope 
Sample Sets


Limited to sampling in one U.S. state 


Sampling can span multiple U.S. states 

Eligible Dates for Sample Collection  Same quarter as call + subsequent 3 quarters  Same quarter as call + subsequent 3 quarters 
Anticipated Number of Projects per Year  17 to 25 projects 
(3 to 7 each quarter, except for winter) 
1 to 2 projects
Qualifying Criteria  Aligns with call guidance 
(no inundated or frozen soil) 
Requires open sharing of complementary data collected by the PI in publicly available and accessible repositories 
Call Closing Date  Closing date stated for the applicable quarter or as soon as the number of approved proposals exceeds the quarterly allocation, whichever occurs first  Closing date stated for the applicable quarter 
Proposal Documentation  Request form 
  1. Request form 

  1. Letter of support from the lead organization/network 

  1. Evidence of funded project (executive summary in a public domain) 

  1. Evidence of funding status 

  1. Complementary data resources 


* Proposal authors should contact us at in advance of submission if you are planning to prepare a large scope proposal. 

Environmental Compliance 

Because of PNNL’s contractual relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy, compliance with Federal, state, and local environmental regulations must be completed prior to approval of any application. EMSL will perform an environmental compliance review in collaboration with the PI. Proposals with a long compliance review may not fit the approval timeline of the specific requested quarterly call.  

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Request Form

One aspect of federal regulatory compliance requires consultation with the SHPO prior to approval. Although formal consultation is the responsibility of PNNL, the process can be time consuming. In some states, however, state residents may be able to request SHPO guidance directly with a relatively small effort in order to facilitate PNNL’s formal consultation. For this call, we are piloting a new approach asking PIs to consider submitting a form to their state’s SHPO requesting guidance on compliance for participation in the MONet project. We have provided a template of the form, a list of state SHPO contacts, and step-by-step instructions. The SHPO contacts document will be updated as we learn more about which states are open to providing users guidance. It is recommended that this form be submitted by June 3 in order to email any guidance from the SHPO to for PNNL compliance staff to review. Proposals will be reviewed consistent with policies stated above regardless of participation in this pilot.  

Soil Function Request Form

We ask PIs to please provide complete and accurate documentation and respond to compliance team requests as quickly as possible to help ensure a timely process. Please note that an access agreement needs to be appended to the request form for each landowner. An access agreement is a formal letter or permit indicating explicit access granted to the PI to sample soil by a manager/supervisor of their field sites. Failure to do so will result in an automatic proposal rejection.

Examples of access agreements


Key Steps in the MONet Environmental and Regulatory Compliance Process

Submit a MONet Sampling Proposal