23 July 2009

ARPA-E Update

Of course this author hopes that ARPA-E will live up to its mandate, and do something ambitious like space solar power, but we'll be watching closely to see what it does select. Here is an update:

Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy



Issued on: July 8, 2009

High Interest in ARPA-E’s Initial Funding Opportunity for Transformational Energy Technology

ARPA-E Begins Review of 3,500 Potentially Transformational R&D Proposals

Washington, DC – The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) completed the submission stage of its first Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) released April 27th, 2009. ARPA-E has received approximately 3,500 concept papers for the $150 million available as part of this FOA (DE-FOA-0000065).

The large number of submissions – “Concept Papers” - for ARPA-E’s initial FOA outstripped the expectations of industry observers and highlights America’s capacity for Energy technology innovation that can be applied to transformational research and development (R&D).

ARPA-E’s first solicitation is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The announcement is primarily aimed at prospective applicants who already have a relatively well-formed R&D plan for a transformational concept or new technology that can make a significant contribution if and when successfully deployed. Submitters of the most meritorious Concept Papers will be encouraged to submit Full Proposals. ARPA-E expects to provide responses to Concept Paper applicants by the end of the last week in July on whether a Concept is likely to form a basis of a successful Full Proposal. The deadline for Full Proposals is expected to be the end of August.

ARPA-E is currently planning future solicitations as part of its ongoing mission to fund and support transformational energy-related technology research and development.

For more information about ARPA-E, including updated FAQs, please visit http://arpa-e.energy.gov/.



Q. When and how will ARPA-E provide responses to applicants who applied for the recent ARPA-E Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000065)?

A. ARPA-E expects to provide responses to Concept Paper applicants by the end of the last week in July on whether a Concept is likely to form a basis of a successful Full Proposal. The deadline for Full Proposals is expected to be the end of August. ARPA-E expects to email both the administrative point of contact and the technical point of contact that the applicant provided on the cover page of their concept paper.

Q. How many concept papers has ARPA-E received in response to the recent ARPA-E Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000065)?

A. ARPA-E has received approximately 3,500 concept papers for the $150 million available.

Q. What is the format of the Full Application for Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000065?

A. The FOA gives detailed requirements on what must be in a Full Application. Additionally, ARPA-E anticipates making some minor modifications to the FOA later in July. These modifications will include minor changes to the format and requirements of the Full Application. Modifications will be posted on our website (http://arpa-e.energy.gov/keydocs.html)

Q. Can I discuss my concept paper with an ARPA-E Program Manager?

A. No. In order to ensure a fair and equitable process, ARPA-E will not discuss concept paper or full applications with applicants.

Q. How do I access the attachments?

A. The complete application package is at the FedConnect web site; www.FedConnect.net - go to "Search Public Opportunities" and click on it. On the next screen under "Search Criteria" there is a drop down box. Select "Reference Number". Type in the blank box: DE-FOA-0000065, under "Advanced Options". Click on the "Search" button and you will have access to all the documentation. As alternatives you can go to: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/keydocs.html for a complete set of documents or phone FedConnect at 1.800.899.6665

Q. How do I submit a concept paper?

A. ARPA-E is not accepting new submissions at this time. ARPA-E has completed the initial steps of its first FOA and will be accepting proposals again in the near future.

Q. Is my idea what ARPA-E is looking for?

A. We will not make a pre-determination on if your proposals fit within ARPA-E. The decision to submit a concept paper is yours to make. However, there are some important points in the FOA that show what we are interested in funding. The proposed technology should have the potential to be a transformational idea. It must make a SIGNIFICANT impact on the President's energy goals and ARPA-E mission areas. Please take a look at the Merit Review Criteria for concept papers (Section V of the FOA) and assess if you have a strong case given our criteria. Please also review the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) appendix. There is a strong expectation that ARPA-E funded projects will advance technology readiness from lower to higher levels over the course of your proposed project.

Some information from the FOA:

"Under this announcement, ARPA-E will achieve these goals by funding energy technology projects that (1) translate scientific discoveries and cutting-edge inventions into technological innovations and (2) accelerate transformational technological advances in areas that industry by itself is not likely to undertake because of high technical or financial risk.

Transformational technologies are by definition technologies that disrupt the status quo. They are not merely better than current technologies, they are significantly better. Often, a technology is considered transformational when it so outperforms current approaches that it causes an industry to shift its technology base to the new technology.

Transformational energy technologies are those that have the potential to create new paradigms in how energy is produced, transmitted, used, and/or stored. Such advances are characterized by a clear view of a desired outcome, an understanding of the barriers that intervene, and innovative pathways toward a new frontier. They have the potential to radically change understanding of important energy-related concepts or to lead to the creation of new energy-related fields. As breakthroughs, they often depend on technical approaches that are novel, emergent, integrative, or enabling, and fall outside the established constructs of existing mission-directed or discipline-oriented R&D programs.

Under this FOA, ARPA-E is seeking R&D applications for technologies that, when in wide-spread use, will make substantial, significant, quantitative contributions to these national goals and ARPA-E Mission Areas."

Q. Is cost sharing a requirement?

A. Yes, the recipient must provide cost share of at least 20% of the total allowable costs for R&D projects of an applied nature.

Q. May I use prior costs incurred towards fulfilling my cost sharing requirement?

A. No, please see Appendix 2 for the applicable regulatory citations.

Q. What is a Technology Investment Agreement?

A. A Technology Investment Agreement is a special type of assistance instrument used to increase the involvement of commercial firms in the Department's programs. A Technology Investment Agreement offers more flexibility for tailoring requirements perhaps most importantly, intellectual property terms, than other award instruments. The implementing regulations (and additional information) can be found at 10 CFR 603.

Q. We are an entity of the United States owned by a foreign company. Am I eligible to participate in ARPA-E?

A. The lead organization that will enter into the agreement with ARPA-E must be a U.S. entity. Foreign entities (entities that are directly or indirectly owned or controlled by a foreign company or government) may only participate as part of collaboration, consortium, or other teaming arrangement, and may not lead the team.

A minimum of 90% of the work, as defined by total project costs, must be performed on U.S. soil, which includes the United States proper and its territories.

If a foreign entity participates in the proposed R&D project, no more than 25% of the ARPA-E funds may be expended by the combination of all foreign entities on the project (excluding equipment that is not available in the United States). This restriction applies to the combined performance of the foreign entities, regardless of whether the work is performed in the United States or a foreign location.

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