The initial ARPA-E FOA will be to seek out, select, and fund R&D projects with well formed plans to develop a transformational concept or breakthrough technology that could make a significant contribution towards attainment of the President’s energy goals, if and when successfully deployed. ARPA-E will begin by issuing a FOA that is narrowly focused on transformational R&D, but intentionally broad on applications and technologies, seeking to embrace a full range of concepts potentially covering all aspects of ARPA-E’s mission. The intent is to harness the creativity of all sectors of the American science and technology community in support of the President’s energy goals and stimulate the pursuit of new and innovative technical opportunities that can spur great leaps forward toward those goals. It is anticipated that most awards will be in the range of $2M to $5M for the base period of performance. Some may be as low as $0.5M or as high as $10M. Efforts selected under this solicitation will be limited to no more than 36 months of performance, but there is a strong preference for a period of performance of no more than 24 months. ARPA-E will welcome submissions from any type of capable technology research and development entity. Work funded under this solicitation must not duplicate, but may complement and potentially enrich the existing portfolio of energy-related strategic research and applied technology R&D.
In addition to the initial FOA, ARPA-E will work to form 8-12 programs which will be focused on topic areas with specific technical goals. In order to form these programs, ARPA-E intends to issue a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit program area ideas from the public and/or hold 2-3 regional workshops to discuss potential program areas with industry and academics. Once specific program areas are formed, ARPA-E intends to issue focused program area solicitations to address specific technical goals.
In addition to the R&D awards, funding will be used to provide federal employees, facilities, and other support activities necessary to implement and execute the Recovery Act plan in support of ARPA-E. These activities include developing and issuing solicitation documents (e.g., Funding Opportunity Announcements), conducting program merit reviews, negotiating and awarding new awards, and monitoring awards to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective project management and financial oversight.
The Recovery Act authorizes ARPA-E the flexibility to award grants, cooperative agreements, Technology Investment Agreements (TIAs), and contracts. This range of available funding mechanisms will allow APRA-E to better fund worthwhile research projects across different types of institutions which may include universities, research foundations, non-profits, the private sector, and collaborations. The lead entity and 90% of the work performed, however, must be located in the United States.
For ARPA-E’s initial FOA, cooperative agreements and TIAs are the most likely instruments to be used because of the need for substantial Government interaction during the performance of the research and development (R&D) project.
The minimum criteria for funding are that the proposal supports the development and commercialization of a promising transformational new energy technology. This new technology shall, upon deployment, permit a reduction of energy imports, facilitate a reduction of energy emissions, or improve the energy efficiency of all economic sections; while simultaneously ensuring that the United States maintains a technological lead in the industries based on advanced energy technologies.