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MONet Summer Soil Sampling Call

Submit Proposal

The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) is seeking proposal submissions for summer 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 summer and send their samples to EMSL for analysis. EMSL staff 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 spectrometry; 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 summer 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 

Proposal Submission: February 14, 2023, to April 1, 2024 

Decision Notice: May 2024 

Sampling Period: June 2024 to August 2024 

Soil Function Call decision notices will be communicated from

Proposal Types and Sample Submission 

Small and large research teams are invited to submit proposals to the summer soil sampling call. Small project teams can submit a “Small Scope” Soil Function proposal for a maximum of 9 sample sets, while large project teams can submit 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 of proposal submission. 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. 

* Please note that request forms for summer sampling are different from the spring call. Download the updated summer soil sampling request forms for Small Scope and Large Scope projects.

  Small Scope Large Scope
Sample Sets


Limited to sampling  in one US state 


Sampling can span multiple US 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 (see technical criteria for details) 
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 

Regulatory compliance must be in place before physical soil sampling. To help comply with federal, state, and local environmental protection regulations, EMSL will perform many steps required for environmental compliance in collaboration with the PI. Review the steps in the Environmental and Regulatory Compliance process below. 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. Proposals with a long compliance review may not fit the approval timeline of the specific requested quarterly call.   


MONet Environmental Regulatory Workflow: Key steps in the MONet Environmental and Regulatory Compliance process