Funding Opportunity: DOE JGI Emerging Technologies Opportunity Program (ETOP)
The DOE JGI is a genome science user facility focused on providing scientists access to state-of-the-art large-scale genomic technologies to address important energy and environmental problems. A core philosophy of the DOE JGI is that our suite of technical and analytical capabilities needs to evolve continuously in order to maximally enable our users' science. This occurs by building new scientific capabilities at the DOE JGI itself, and by enlisting partners to develop and provide specialized and critical capabilities that complement the activities in its Walnut Creek facility.
This solicitation of applications for funding through the DOE JGI Emerging Technologies Opportunity Program (ETOP) invites the scientific community to partner with the DOE JGI to provide its users with an evolving set of world-class genomic capabilities. The long-term scientific vision of the DOE JGI and some of the capabilities needed to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in this vision are described in the "DOE JGI 10-Year Strategic Vision" document and the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program "DOE JGI Strategic Planning for the Genomic Sciences Workshop Report". The new capabilities that we expect to support through the ETOP are those that are aligned with the DOE JGI strategic vision. As outlined in the strategic vision document, this would include (but not be limited to) projects such as the development of:
- high-throughput functional genomic capabilities
- microfluidic molecular biology approaches
- cost-effective, efficient and scalable means for isolating high quality DNA and RNA from fungi, microbes and plants
- functional characterization of microbes and microbial communities, including non-destructive functional characterization of single cells
- large scale microbial phenotyping
The objectives of the ETOP are to identify and fund new and existing DOE JGI partners to develop promising projects focused on new technical capabilities that could be provided to users. Successful pilot-scale projects may be expanded as needed to meet future user demand. This will establish a process for ETOP partners to develop or provide specialized or advanced versions of needed capabilities, obviating the need for them to be developed at the DOE JGI.
Potential applicants are encouraged to review the DOE JGI web site for the general activities and directions of the Institute as it operates as a large scale genomic science user facility. For specific questions, please contact the DOE JGI Deputy Director of Programs, Jim Bristow , or the DOE JGI Deputy Director of Genomic Technologies, Len Pennacchio.
DOE National Laboratory and academic institutions are encouraged to apply. The intent of this program is solely targeted at exploring capabilities that may eventually be made available to DOE JGI Users through their establishment at the DOE JGI, or directly via the DOE JGI partner. It is not the intent of this program to fund commercial technology development outside the DOE JGI partnership.
Beginning in FY13, the DOE JGI anticipates making available up to $1.5 million per year for the program through the funding of 3-5 projects for up to three years. At the end of the project period, the projects will be evaluated for longer-term funding. It is hoped that several of these pilot projects will mature sufficiently and be aligned with DOE JGI strategic needs so that justification exists for funding further development or establishing the developed new capability as a service to the Institute's users. Projects will be evaluated at 8 months into each year of funding and evidence of adequate progress will be required for continued support. Assuming technical success and continued DOE JGI need, discussions will be initiated on establishing a relationship between the developer/provider and the DOE JGI for continued support and interaction. This potential relationship would be commensurate with DOE JGI funding and the provider's contributions, and may develop into a formal and sustained partnership.
Potential applicants must electronically submit a brief pre-application through the DOE JGI's proposal submission system. Pre-proposals need to be received by December 15, 2012. Invitations to submit full proposals will be communicated to the applicants by January 25, 2013. The pre-application should consist of a cover sheet and up to two pages of narrative that:
- identifies the particular need or opportunity the application addresses and how it is linked to activities or future directions described in the DOE JGI 10-year Strategic Vision
- states the technical objectives of the project,
- identifies the proposed team members and their expertise and role in the project.
The intent of the pre-application is to save time and effort by helping the applicants prepare a formal application that is appropriate to this call. Pre-applications that propose activities deemed inappropriate or unresponsive will be discouraged. The pre-application should identify in the cover sheet the title of the project, institution or organization, name of PI, telephone, email and fax number. No budget information should be included in pre-applications.
Pre-proposals for the ETOP that meet the criteria for the program as assessed by the DOE JGI Strategic Management team (Director, Deputy Director of Scientific Programs, Deputy Director of Genomic Technologies, and Deputy Director of Operations) will be asked to submit a full application.
Full proposals must be submitted by February 27, 2013. Proposals must follow the content and formatting guidelines described below.
Applications must be prepared using 11pt or larger font size (except figures, tables and legends), standard paper size (8.5" x 11) and one-half inch margins.
Project Abstract (limit 1/2 page)
Provide a concise overview of the project, including its significance, its relation to DOE JGI strategic directions, technological approaches, and anticipated outcomes.
Project Narrative (limit 6 pages)
The narrative should include overall project goals and provide:
- a clear and concise description of technical applications to be developed
- a detailed justification for the proposed project as it relates to present or future needed capabilities of the DOE JGI as a next-generation genomic science user facility
- a description of preliminary work that demonstrates general technical feasibility and provides evidence of the project team's capabilities to successfully carry out the proposed studies
- an indication which personnel are responsible for specific activities, including a description of the project teams' relevant background and track record
- a high-level discussion of issues of intellectual property and potential long-term interactions with the DOE JGI
- a timeline for major activities and milestones in the proposed project
Project Management Plan
The proposers must identify a management and communications structure that enables an effective collaboration of scientists involved in the proposed work and appropriate individuals at the DOE JGI. Communication with the DOE JGI prior to project submission will help ensure that submitted projects are aligned with the appropriate DOE JGI programs.
Appendix 1 - Biographical sketch for project PI and senior personnel. No more than 3 pages per investigator/staff, including education, training, research and professional experience, relevant publications and synergistic activities. Standard formats (NIH, DOE or NSF biographical sketches) will be accepted.
Appendix 2 - Facilities and other resources. Provide a brief description of the relevant facilities and resources available to the applicant that will facilitate a successful outcome of the proposed work.
Appendix 3 - Research related budget and budget justification. A budget template will be provided upon invitation to submit a full proposal.
Full proposals will be reviewed primarily based on scientific and technical relevance for DOE JGI strategic directions. Successful proposals will offer to develop new capabilities or provide existing capabilities not currently offered by the DOE JGI, and which have the potential to advance the interpretation and use of genome sequence information to enable the science of DOE JGI users.
Additional review criteria will include 1) scientific and technical merit of the project, 2) appropriateness of the proposed approach and methods, 3) track record and predicted competency of the applicant for carrying out the proposed studies, 4) adequacy of institutional resources, and 5) reasonableness and appropriateness of the requested budget.
To assess scientific and technical merit, specific questions that will be asked about the project include: a) Do the applicants propose an innovative method to advance the interpretation of genomic information? b) Is the technology scalable to "high throughput"? c) How broadly applicable is the technology to a variety of organisms and sample types? 3) What is the form of the data output and how will it be integrated with other data types produced by the DOE JGI?
Full proposals will first be reviewed by the DOE JGI Senior Management Team (Director, Scientific Program Deputy Director, Genomic Technologies Deputy Director, and the Heads of the Prokaryote Super-Program and Eukaryote Super-Program). The team will generate a written review of each proposal, including a discussion of why specific proposals are being prioritized, and develop a rank-ordered list of proposals. These reviews will be shared with the DOE JGI Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for their evaluation and written input. The DOE JGI Director, following input from DOE program managers, will decide which of the highest ranking proposals to fund. Funding decisions will be made by April 30, 2013. Once funding decisions have been made, the DOE JGI will work with selected institutions to have formal contracts/funding agreements in place by June 15, 2013. Issues of intellectual property, and possible long-term interactions as DOE JGI "partners" will be addressed and resolved at this time.