Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number DE-FOA-0002785: Exploratory Topics (SBIR/STTR)
To obtain a copy of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) please go to the ARPA-E website at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov. To apply to this FOA, Applicants must register with and submit application materials through ARPA-E eXCHANGE (https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Registration.aspx). For detailed guidance on using ARPA-E eXCHANGE, please refer to the ARPA-E eXCHANGE User Guide (https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/Manuals.aspx). ARPA-E will not review or consider concept papers submitted through other means. For problems with ARPA-E eXCHANGE, email ExchangeHelp@hq.doe.gov (with FOA name and number in the subject line). Questions about this FOA? Check the Frequently Asked Questions available at http://arpa-e.energy.gov/faq. For questions that have not already been answered, email ARPA-E-CO@hq.doe.gov. Agency Overview: The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), an organization within the Department of Energy (DOE), is chartered by Congress in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-69), as amended by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358), as further amended by the Energy Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-260) to: “(A) to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through the development of energy technologies that— (i) reduce imports of energy from foreign sources; (ii) reduce energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; (iii) improve the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; (iv) provide transformative solutions to improve the management, clean-up, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; and (v) improve the resilience, reliability, and security of infrastructure to produce, deliver, and store energy; and (B) to ensure that the United States maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.” ARPA-E issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under its authorizing statute codified at 42 U.S.C. § 16538. The FOA and any awards made under this FOA are subject to 2 C.F.R. Part 200 as supplemented by 2 C.F.R. Part 910. ARPA-E funds research on and the development of transformative science and technology solutions to address the energy and environmental missions of the Department. The agency focuses on technologies that can be meaningfully advanced with a modest investment over a defined period of time in order to catalyze the translation from scientific discovery to early-stage technology. For the latest news and information about ARPA-E, its programs and the research projects currently supported, see: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/. ARPA-E funds transformational research. Existing energy technologies generally progress on established “learning curves” where refinements to a technology and the economies of scale that accrue as manufacturing and distribution develop drive down the cost/performance metric in a gradual fashion. This continual improvement of a technology is important to its increased commercial deployment and is appropriately the focus of the private sector or the applied technology offices within DOE. By contrast, ARPA-E supports transformative research that has the potential to create fundamentally new learning curves. ARPA-E technology projects typically start with cost/performance estimates well above the level of an incumbent technology. Given the high risk inherent in these projects, many will fail to progress, but some may succeed in generating a new learning curve with a projected cost/performance metric that is significantly lower than that of the incumbent technology. ARPA-E funds technology with the potential to be disruptive in the marketplace. The mere creation of a new learning curve does not ensure market penetration. Rather, the ultimate value of a technology is determined by the marketplace, and impactful technologies ultimately become disruptive – that is, they are widely adopted and displace existing technologies from the marketplace or create entirely new markets. ARPA-E understands that definitive proof of market disruption takes time, particularly for energy technologies. Therefore, ARPA-E funds the development of technologies that, if technically successful, have clear disruptive potential, e.g., by demonstrating capability for manufacturing at competitive cost and deployment at scale. ARPA-E funds applied research and development. The Office of Management and Budget defines “applied research” as an “original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge…directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective” and defines “experimental development” as “creative and systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience, which is directed at producing new products or processes or improving existing products or processes.” (http://science.energy.gov/). Office of Science national scientific user facilities (http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/) are open to all researchers, including ARPA-E Applicants and awardees. These facilities provide advanced tools of modern science including accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, light sources and neutron sources, as well as facilities for studying the nanoworld, the environment, and the atmosphere. Projects focused on early-stage R&D for the improvement of technology along defined roadmaps may be more appropriate for support through the DOE applied energy offices including: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (http://www.eere.energy.gov/), the Office of Fossil Energy (http://fossil.energy.gov/), the Office of Nuclear Energy (http://www.energy.gov/ne/office-nuclear-energy), and the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (http://energy.gov/oe/office-electricity-delivery-and-energy-reliability). Applicants interested in receiving financial assistance for basic research (defined by the Office of Management and Budget as “experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts”) should contact the DOE’s Office of Science (http://science.energy.gov/). Office of Science national scientific user facilities (http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/) are open to all researchers, including ARPA-E Applicants and awardees. These facilities provide advanced tools of modern science including accelerators, colliders, supercomputers, light sources and neutron sources, as well as facilities for studying the nanoworld, the environment, and the atmosphere. Projects focused on early-stage R&D for the improvement of technology along defined roadmaps may be more appropriate for support through the DOE applied energy offices including: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (http://www.eere.energy.gov/), the Office of Fossil Energy (http://fossil.energy.gov/), the Office of Nuclear Energy (http://www.energy.gov/ne/office-nuclear-energy), and the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (http://energy.gov/oe/office-electricity-delivery-and-energy-reliability). SBIR/STTR Program Overview: The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are Government-wide programs authorized under Section 9 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. § 638). The objectives of the SBIR program are to (1) stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, (2) strengthen the role of Small Business Concerns in meeting Federal R&D needs, (3) increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R&D activities, (4) foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned Small Business Concerns, and (5) improve the return on investment from Federally funded research and economic benefits to the Nation. The objective of the STTR program is to stimulate cooperative partnerships of ideas and technologies between Small Business Concerns and partnering Research Institutions through Federally funded R&D activities. ARPA-E administers a joint SBIR/STTR program in accordance with the Small Business Act and the SBIR and STTR Policy Directive issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). ARPA-E provides SBIR/STTR funding in three phases (Phase I, Phase II, and Phase IIS). Program Overview: This announcement is purposely broad in scope, and will cover a wide range of topics to encourage the submission of the most innovative and unconventional ideas in energy technology. The objective of this solicitation is to support high-risk R&D leading to the development of potentially disruptive new technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications. Topics under this FOA will explore new areas of technology development that, if successful, could establish new program areas for ARPA-E, or complement the current portfolio of ARPA-E programs. Applications to this solicitation must have the potential for high impact — if successful, it could create a new class or new trajectory for an energy technology, with the potential to make a significant impact on ARPA-E’s Mission Areas (see Section I.A). Awards under this program may take the form of analyses or exploratory research that provides the agency with information useful for the subsequent development of focused technology programs. Alternatively, awards may support proof-of-concept research for a particular new technology, either in an area not currently supported by the agency or as a potential enhancement to an ongoing focused technology program. Exploratory Topics Overview: This FOA will only accept applications in prespecified Exploratory Topics. Specific areas of interest and relevant deadlines will be posted on the ARPA-E eXCHANGE website (https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov). For your convenience you can subscribe to the ARPA-E mailing list to receive ARPA-E newsletters and news alerts, as well as updates on when new Exploratory Topics are posted.Each Exploratory Topic announcement will be visible on ARPA-E eXCHANGE as a supporting FOA document. Exploratory Topic details will only be visible in eXCHANGE while the notice is accepting applications. Once the topic deadline has passed the notice will be taken down and ARPA-E will no longer be accepting applications in that area. ARPA-E will only review applications that are responsive to the Exploratory Topic(s) open at the time the application is submitted.