Frequently Asked Questions


NOTE: The DFO call is closed now and is no longer accepting applications.



ELIGIBILITY

Are businesses incorporated in U.S. territories eligible to receive funding?

Business incorporated in the any of the 50 states, U.S. territories, or possessions qualify. This includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Republic of Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the District of Columbia.


Can businesses that are currently working with DOE national labs apply to the DFO?

Funding cannot be used to extend the scope of work on existing projects at DOE national labs. However, as long as there is no overlap with the scope of an existing agreement, companies are eligible to receive funding in addition to previous or ongoing projects with a participating lab.


REGISTRATION AND APPLICATION

When are applications due? 

10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

January 31, 2018


Can I include confidential or proprietary information in my DFO?

Do not include any trade secrets, confidential, or proprietary information in the application or in supporting documentation (including resumes). The federal government is not liable for the disclosure or use of any information contained in the application or in supporting document (including CVs).


What happens if a submitted application exceeds the 20-page limit?

Anything beyond the 20-page limit will be truncated. The remaining document will be provided to the review panel.


Do references count toward the page limit? How about vitas?

References do count toward the page limit of the application; however, since project team vitas will be a separate upload, they will not count toward this requirement.


Who will be evaluating the applications? Who will be making award selections?

Applications will be reviewed by the FCIC leadership team consisting of subject matter experts from industry and national laboratories. Applications should be written for a highly technical review panel.


How do I edit my application if it’s submitted, but the call has not closed?

You must withdraw your submission by scrolling to the bottom of the application and clicking the “Withdraw Submission” button. Edit your application and resubmit before the deadline. 


Are national laboratories allowed to propose as the lead organization for an FCIC application?

Yes, as the laboratories will be receiving the money and accountable for administering the agreement.


Is there a language requirement for the application submission?

Yes. All proposals must be written in English for submission and review. 


COST SHARE AND BUDGET

How can I account for the 30% cost share? Is cash the only method?

Cost share can be provided through a variety of methods, including cash or in-kind efforts. In-kind contributions can include a number of costs directly related to the execution of the work scope (e.g., staff salaries, equipment, shipping, travel, subcontracting, cost of material, product manufacturing, etc.). 


Is the 30% cost share required up front?

Cost share is calculated at the beginning of the agreement. If required, the participating DOE national lab(s) will provide an incremental payment schedule for cash-in cost share.


Can funding be taken from other federal awards, such as Small Business Innovation Research funding, to be used as an in-kind contribution?

Federal funding, even if from another agency, cannot be used as cost share. For example, if DOE is providing funding to develop a device, the cost incurred to develop that device is not allowed as cost share on the project. 


How should I calculate cost share?

Company cost share must be at least 30% of the total project cost (i.e., company cost/(company cost + federal cost) > 30%). If selected, cost share will be confirmed during the negotiation stage when the budget for the voucher is developed with a DOE national lab. Please describe the types of cost share your company can provide, including a range of cost share values by item. Note: Federally funded awards may not be used to provide cost share. 


STATEMENT OF WORK

What is the anticipated award amount and duration?

The scope of work for each project depends heavily on the technology area and implementing lab. In general, project awards will range from $500,000 to $2 Million with a period of performance of 12-18 months. FCIC reserves the right to make more, fewer, or even no awards in each topic area depending on funding availability and/or the quality of the applications.


What is the page limit for the DFO Statement of Objectives?

The Statement of Objectives can be up to 20 pages, including references. Applications can be shorter than 20 pages. Team vitas are not counted toward this page limit, as they are a separate upload in the system.


SCHEDULE

If rejected, will names be automatically reentered or do businesses need to reapply?

If additional opportunity funds become available, a business must resubmit for consideration.


What is the expected start date for awards?

It is anticipated that projects will start work on April 1, 2018; however, this start date is subject to change.


OTHER QUESTIONS

What if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions, send an email to fcic@inl.gov.


How will funding be allocated/distributed?

All funding will be allocated/distributed to the participating national laboratories on the awarded proposals.


Where can applicable documents, such as templates, be found for the FCIC Directed Funding Opportunity?

Templates and other applicable documents for the FCIC Directed Funding Opportunity can be found here on the FCIC website. Under "News & Opportunities," select "Directed Funding Opportunity." The funding opportunity itself can also be found here. 

Questions regarding the submission process should be directed to fcic@inl.gov. 


Who should interested applicants reach out to with specific questions regarding the Directed Funding Opportunity? Where can that information be found?

Applicants can find contact information for the FCIC consortium leads, partner laboratory project leads, and the leadership team under the "About Us" section of the website.


For Topic Area 2, “Biomass Preprocessing, Feed-handling, and Conversion Process Integration,” the DFO appears to restrict eligible feedstocks to corn stover and loblolly pine. Is this interpretation accurate?

Topic Area 2 is not restrictive to corn stover and loblolly pine. The application must, however, somehow relate how the results can be translated to benefit these two processes using the listed feedstocks.


Is an NDA required prior to receiving award funding? 

Yes, NDAs will be required to receive award funding; however, if there is not enough time for industrial partners to sign NDAs prior to the application deadline, that application will still be reviewed. 


If the equipment manufacture offers to run their equipment at their facility.  Would this effort qualify as cost share?

Yes, as long as it support the proposal.


Can DFO funds be used to purchase equipment from an equipment manufacturer and use a provided discount towards the industry cost share requirement?  In such case would the equipment supplier be considered as a collaborating institution (as indicated in the Summary Slide)?

A discount from market value can count towards the in-kind cost share. If a company provides equipment or services at a discount or at no cost, the market value of the services or equipment along with any associated costs would qualify as cost share.


If the project requires input from an outside contractor, can the award pay for that?

UPDATED GUIDANCE: If the proposal gets selected and cost share requirements have been met, funds can be used through subcontract for external R&D collaboration and industry partner service, such as universities collaboration, testing at external facility, equipment, material and technical service, etc. For all funds not being spent at the national lab, a justification should be provided and will be subject to review/negotiation.


In reference to Section 3, Impact and Benefit, is a preliminary techno-economic analysis expected for the application phase?

A preliminary techno-economic analysis could be helpful to discuss project impact and benefit, but it is not mandated.


Can a proposal address more than one topic area or are separate proposals required for each topic?

A proposal can address more than one topic area, but applicants need to identify the major topic area in their online application. The application will be scored based on its technical quality and how well the topics are integrated.