Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Energy Grants Without a Notice of Funding Availability? It's Possible.

Funding from the government is not something you can request by snapping your fingers and asking. It tends to be very much a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” thing: the government puts out a NOFA (notice of funding availability), saying what they want done, by whom, etc., and if you fit their criteria as a group that can accomplish what the government wants, you apply for the grant. But there is a category of funding in the federal Department of Energy that breaks those rules. Under certain circumstances, DOE accepts unsolicited proposals, ones that don’t come from a NOFA, and spring from the inventor or business in question to perform a task or develop a technology the feds haven’t thought of yet. So if your company has a truly ground-breaking technology to develop and take to market in the field of energy, in which the Department of Energy has an interest, this could be your chance.

According to the Department of Energy:
DOE considers proposals in all areas of energy and energy-related research and development with emphasis on long-term, high-risk, high-payoff technologies. DOE may accept an unsolicited proposal if it:
Demonstrates a unique and innovative concept or a unique capability of the submitter
Offers a concept or service not otherwise available to the Federal government
Does not resemble the substance of a pending competitive solicitation.

Furthermore, noncompetitive solicitations must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• Be necessary to the completion of, or be a continuation or renewal of, an activity already funded by the Department of Energy.
• Be conducted with the applicant's resources or resources donated by a third party
• Be awarded to a unit of government for an activity related to a government function
• Be awarded to an applicant with exclusive domestic capacity to perform the activity successfully
• Implement an agreement between the United States and a foreign government to fund a foreign applicant
• Be restricted by time constraints associated with public health, safety, welfare, or national security
• Be awarded for an unsolicited proposal
• Be determined to be in the public interest.

This is called “noncompetitive funding,” because it doesn’t come out of the competitive funding process of NOFA, and can only be done under narrow circumstances outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations Here are the guidelines for submitting an unsolicited proposal.

The contact person in DOE for unsolicited proposals is:

John N. Augustine
Unsolicited Proposal Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy
E-mail: DOEUSP@netl.doe.gov

No comments: