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DOE Unsolicited Proposals

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE’s) central point of receipt for all Unsolicited Proposals (USP) is the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) as outlined in the USP Guide link below which includes all DOE Program Research Areas.

The "Guide for the Submission of Unsolicited Proposals" provides more information on the DOE's unsolicited proposal program process.

DOE encourages organizations and individuals to submit self-generated, proposed ideas and technologies that are relevant to DOE's research and development mission.

An unsolicited proposal is an application for support of an idea, method, or approach, which is submitted by an individual, business, or organization based solely on the proposer's initiative rather than in response to a DOE competitive solicitation or funding opportunity announcement (FOA) . Funding of unsolicited proposals is considered a noncompetitive action.

The proposal document should persuade the staff of DOE and other qualified members of the scientific and engineering community who review the proposed work, that the project represents a worthwhile approach to the investigation of an important, timely problem. Each proposal should be self-contained and written with clarity and thoroughness.


At a minimum, your submission shall include the following three (3) separate, clearly identified technical submission criteria sections or it will be returned for re-submittal.  

  1. What do you propose to do and how do you propose to do it (minimum 500-word technical summary; word count excludes all other sections).
  2. Why the idea or technology is beneficial to DOE.
  3. How the idea or technology meets the DOE mission (Reference).  

The Unsolicited proposal submissions must present:

  • Objectives that show the pertinence of the proposed work to DOE
  • Rationale of the approach
  • Methods to be pursued
  • Qualifications of the investigators and the institution (if applicable)
  • Level of funding required to attain the objectives.

A number of regulations relate to criteria governing acceptance and funding of an unsolicited proposal:

  • Title 48 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), Chapter 1, The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 15.6 Unsolicited Proposals
  • Title 48 CFR, Chapter 9, the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR) Subpart 915.6 Unsolicited Proposals; and
  • 2 CFR, Part 200

DOE considers submissions 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 recent, current or pending competitive solicitation or FOA.

For more information on the DOE Unsolicited Proposals Program, please contact Email: DOEUSP@NETL.DOE.GOV