Funding Opportunity: DOE Releases Solicitation Environmental Systems Research

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – November 21, 2017

The Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) soliciting proposals from single investigators or multi-investigator teams to conduct research on environmental systems science. This program is managed by BER’s Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD), which supports research aimed at advancing DOE’s Earth system predictive capabilities.

The Office of Science has been slow to issue funding solicitations over the last year, but the release of this and another FOAs indicates that DOE is working through the backlog of pending FOA approvals. These approvals have been delayed by the extra layer of review imposed by the Administration on new FOAs and the lack of high-level political appointees at DOE to oversee the process. However, the Senate’s recent confirmation of Paul Dabbar to be Under Secretary for Science should help to relieve the backlog, and it is expected that additional FOAs from BER and other offices within the Office of Science will be released over the coming months.

BER’s Environmental System Science (ESS) program focuses on improving DOE’s ability to predict fluctuations in terrestrial and subsurface ecosystems. This FOA is specifically centered on ESS’ Terrestrial Ecosystem Science activity, which seeks to advance modelling capabilities for terrestrial systems.

Through this FOA, BER is soliciting proposals that improve DOE’s quantitative and predictive understanding of terrestrial ecosystems across both high-latitude and coastal areas. Proposed projects should employ a systems-level approach to analyzing terrestrial ecosystems at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Priority consideration will be given to proposals that incorporate and combine measurement, experimentation, modeling, and/or synthesis to improve “quantitative and predictive understanding of terrestrial ecosystems spanning a continuum from the bedrock through vegetation to the atmospheric interface.” Particular emphasis should be placed on the following three science areas: interactions between above- and below-ground processes and traits; terrestrial-aquatic interfaces; and natural disturbance.

Utilization of or collaboration with relevant user facilities is encouraged. If appropriate, applicants should also connect their proposals to the Energy Exascale Earth System Model and the Community Land Model being developed by DOE.

Total Funding and Award Size: DOE expects to allocate a total of $5 million for 5-10 awards. “Full-size” projects will receive $100,000-$1 million over three years while “high-risk”, exploratory projects will receive $100,000-$300,000 over one or two years.

Performance Period: DOE intends for awards to be made for one-three years.

Eligibility: This FOA is open to all categories of institutions except for Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). National Laboratories may submit as project team members as long as their portion of the project does not exceed 10 percent of the proposed project budget.

Cost Sharing: No cost sharing is required.

Important Deadlines:

  • Pre-applications due – December 20, 2017

• Encourage/Discourage Notification – January 5, 2018

  • Full Applications due – March 1, 2018

Source and Additional Information: