Is your small business looking to apply for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding at the Department of Energy (DOE)? If yes, you will want to start working on a Department of Energy Letter of Intent (LOI) due December 17, 2021. Let’s look at the steps in the LOI submission.

The small business reviews and identifies an appropriate DOE topic number and subtopic from the DOE funding opportunity announcement (FOA). The small business prepares a technical abstract that provides a “technical” description of the proposed technology and its application.

Applicants are strongly cautioned not to include any proprietary information. You will want to be succinct in your writing as you only get two pages and 500 words. You can use photos, figures, and tables to help convey the innovation. Note that any words used to caption the images, figures, or tables do not count toward the 500-word maximum.

Your small business will submit the LOI through the Office of Science Portfolio Analysis and Management System (PAMS).  In addition to a PDF of your technical abstract, you will need to provide your company name and contact information, the principal investigator (PI) name and contact, and the name(s) of any subcontractor(s) or consultant(s).

DOE uses the LOI to assign reviewers with appropriate technical backgrounds to evaluate and score the Phase I proposals. They also use the PI and subcontractor/consultant information to avoid potential conflicts of interest. If your PI is from the University of Wyoming Department of Chemical Engineering, DOE won’t use reviewers from the same university and department to evaluate your Phase I proposal submission.

Additionally, DOE Topic Managers will also review the technical abstract for responsiveness to the topic/subtopic. If the agency determines the LOI is non-responsive, they contact the small business asking the team to look for a better topics/subtopics fit. They will also encourage them to review the topic references and contact the DOE topic manager. While the non-responsive notice will not prevent the small business from submitting a Phase I proposal, it is better to pivot now when your time investment is low. Thus ensuring your proposed project meets the agency’s expectations.

Contact the Wyoming SBDC Network to find the resources needed to help you with the LOI process and subsequent Phase I proposal to the DOE by clicking here.

About the Author: Kelly has experience in technology transfer, intellectual property, data rights, indirect cost calculations, federal SBIR and STTR grants and contracts, and other small business topics related to innovation and research. Kelly loves working with existing small businesses to help them discover their innovative edge and working with startups that are taking the next big thing to market.


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