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III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

This FOA is open to U.S. universities, national laboratories, industry and individuals.

1. Individuals

U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply for funding in their individual capacity as a Standalone Applicant,[4]  as the lead for a Project Team,[5] or as a member of a Project Team.  However, ARPA-E will only award funding to an entity formed by the Applicant.

2. Domestic Entities

For-profit entities, educational institutions, and nonprofits[6] that are incorporated in the United States, including U.S. territories, are eligible to apply for funding as a Standalone Applicant, as the lead organization for a Project Team, or as a member of a Project Team.

FFRDCs/DOE Labs are eligible to apply for funding as the lead organization for a Project Team or as a member of a Project Team that includes institutions of higher education, companies, research foundations, or trade and industry research collaborations, but not as a Standalone Applicant.

State, local, and tribal government entities are eligible to apply for funding as a member of a Project Team, but not as a Standalone Applicant or as the lead organization for a Project Team.

Federal agencies and instrumentalities (other than DOE) are eligible to apply for funding as a member of a Project Team, but not as a Standalone Applicant or as the lead organization for a Project Team.

3. Foreign Entities

U.S. incorporated subsidiaries of foreign entities, whether for-profit or otherwise, are eligible to apply for funding under this FOA as a Standalone Applicant, as the lead organization for a Project Team, or as a member of a Project Team, subject to the requirements in 2 Code of the Federal Regulation (CFR) 910.124, which includes requirements that the entity’s participation in this FOA’s Program be in the economic interest of the U.S.  The Full Application must state the nature of the corporate relationship between the foreign entity and domestic subsidiary or affiliate.

Entities not incorporated in the U.S., whether for-profit or otherwise, are not eligible to apply for funding, but may be proposed by an Applicant as a member of a Project Team.

All work under an ARPA-E award must be performed in the U.S.  The Applicants may request a waiver of this requirement in the Business Assurances & Disclosures Form, which is submitted with the Full Application and can be found at https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/. Please refer to the Business Assurances & Disclosures Form for guidance on the content and form of the request.

4. Consortium Entities

Consortia, which may include domestic and foreign entities, must designate one member of the consortium as the consortium representative to the Project Team.  The consortium representative must be incorporated in the United States.  The eligibility of the consortium will be determined by reference to the eligibility of the consortium representative under Section III.A of the FOA.  Each consortium must have an internal governance structure and a written set of internal rules.  Upon request, the consortium entity must provide a written description of its internal governance structure and its internal rules to the Contracting Officer (ARPA-E-CO@hq.doe.gov).

Unincorporated consortia must provide the Contracting Officer with a collaboration agreement, commonly referred to as the articles of collaboration, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of each consortium member. This collaboration agreement binds the individual consortium members together and shall include the consortium's:

  • Management structure;
  • Method of making payments to consortium members;
  • Means of ensuring and overseeing members' efforts on the project;
  • Provisions for members' cost sharing contributions; and
  • Provisions for ownership and rights in intellectual property developed previously or under the agreement.

B. Cost Sharing[7]

Applicants are bound by the cost share proposed in their Full Applications.

1. Base Cost Share Requirement

ARPA-E generally uses Cooperative Agreements to provide financial and other support to Prime Recipients (see Section II.B.1 of the FOA). Under a Cooperative Agreement or Grant, the Prime Recipient must provide at least 20% of the Total Project Cost[8] as cost share, except as provided in Sections III.B.2 or III.B.3 below.[9] 

2. Increased Cost Share Requirement

Large businesses are strongly encouraged to provide more than 20% of the Total Project Cost as cost share.  ARPA-E may consider the amount of cost share proposed when selecting applications for award negotiations (see Section V.B.1 of the FOA).

Under a Technology Investment Agreement, the Prime Recipient must provide at least 50% of the Total Project Cost as cost share.  ARPA-E may reduce this minimum cost share requirement, as appropriate.

3. Reduced Cost Share Requirement

ARPA-E has reduced the minimum cost share requirement for the following types of projects:

  • A domestic educational institution or domestic nonprofit applying as a Standalone Applicant is required to provide at least 5% of the Total Project Cost as cost share.
  • Small businesses – or consortia of small businesses - will provide 0% cost share from the outset of the project through the first 12 months of the project (hereinafter the “Cost Share Grace Period”).[10]  If the project is continued beyond the Cost Share Grace Period, then at least 10% of the Total Project Cost (including the costs incurred during the Cost Share Grace Period) will be required as cost share over the remaining period of performance.
  • Project Teams where a small business is the lead organization and small businesses perform greater than or equal to 80%, but less than 100%, of the total work under the funding agreement (as measured by the Total Project Cost) the Project Team are entitled to the same cost share reduction and Cost Share Grace Period as provided above to Standalone small businesses or consortia of small businesses.[11]
  • Project Teams composed exclusively of domestic educational institutions, domestic nonprofits, and/or FFRDCs are required to provide at least 5% of the Total Project Cost as cost share. 
  • Project Teams where domestic educational institutions, domestic nonprofits, small businesses, and/or FFRDCs perform greater than or equal to 80%,  of the total work under the funding agreement (as measured by the Total Project Cost) are required to provide at least 10% of the Total Project Cost as cost share. However, any entity (such as a large business) receiving patent rights under a class waiver, or other patent waiver, that is part of a Project Team receiving this reduction must continue to meet the statutory minimum cost share requirement (20%) for its portion of the Total Project Cost.
  • Projects that do not meet any of the above criteria are subject to the minimum cost share requirements described in Sections III.B.1 and III.B.2 of the FOA.

4.  Legal Responsibility

Although the cost share requirement applies to the Project Team as a whole, the funding agreement makes the Prime Recipient legally responsible for paying the entire cost share.  The Prime Recipient’s cost share obligation is expressed in the funding agreement as a static amount in U.S. dollars (cost share amount) and as a percentage of the Total Project Cost (cost share percentage).  If the funding agreement is terminated prior to the end of the  period of performance, the Prime Recipient is required to contribute at least the cost share percentage of total expenditures incurred through the date of termination. 

The Prime Recipient is solely responsible for managing cost share contributions by the Project Team and enforcing cost share obligations assumed by Project Team members in subawards or related agreements.

5. Cost Share Allocation

Each Project Team is free to determine how much each Project Team member will contribute towards the cost share requirement.  The amount contributed by individual Project Team members may vary, as long as the cost share requirement for the project as a whole is met. 

6. Cost Share Types and Allowability

Every cost share contribution must be allowable under the applicable Federal cost principles, as described in Section IV.G.1 of the FOA. 

Project Teams may provide cost share in the form of cash or in-kind contributions.  Cash contributions may be provided by the Prime Recipient or Subrecipients.  Allowable in-kind contributions include but are not limited to personnel costs, indirect costs, facilities and administrative costs, rental value of buildings or equipment, and the value of a service, other resource, or third party in-kind contribution.  Project Teams may use funding or property received from state or local governments to meet the cost share requirement, so long as the funding or property was not provided to the state or local government by the Federal Government.

The Prime Recipient may not use the following sources to meet its cost share obligations:

  • Revenues or royalties from the prospective operation of an activity beyond the period of performance;
  • Proceeds from the prospective sale of an asset of an activity;
  • Federal funding or property (e.g., Federal grants, equipment owned by the Federal Government); or
  • Expenditures that were reimbursed under a separate Federal program.

In addition, Project Teams may not use independent research and development (IR&D) funds[12] to meet their cost share obligations under cooperative agreements.  However, Project Teams may use IR&D funds to meet their cost share obligations under Technology investment Agreements.

Project Teams may not use the same cash or in-kind contributions to meet cost share requirements for more than one project or program. 

Cost share contributions must be specified in the project budget, verifiable from the Prime Recipient’s records, and necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of the project.  Every cost share contribution must be reviewed and approved in advance by the Contracting Officer and incorporated into the project budget before the expenditures are incurred. 

Applicants may wish to refer to 2 C.F.R. Parts 200 and 910, and 10 C.F.R Part 603 for additional guidance on cost sharing, specifically 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.306 and 910.130,  and 10 C.F.R. §§ 603.525-555.  

7. Cost Share Contributions by FFRDCs and GOGOs

Because FFRDCs are funded by the Federal Government, costs incurred by FFRDCs generally may not be used to meet the cost share requirement.  FFRDCs may contribute cost share only if the contributions are paid directly from the contractor’s Management Fee or a non-Federal source.

Because GOGOs/Federal Agencies are funded by the Federal Government, GOGOs/Federal Agencies may not provide cost share for the proposed project.  However, the GOGO/Agency costs would be included in Total Project Costs for purposes of calculating the cost-sharing requirements of the applicant.

8. Cost Share Verification

Upon selection for award negotiations, Applicants are required to provide information and documentation regarding their cost share contributions.  Please refer to Section VI.B.3 of the FOA for guidance on the requisite cost share information and documentation.

C. Other

1. Compliant Criteria

Full Applications are deemed compliant if:

  • The Applicant submitted a compliant and responsive Concept Paper;
  • The Applicant meets the eligibility requirements in Section III.A of the FOA;
  • The Full Application complies with the content and form requirements in Section IV.D of the FOA; and
  • The Applicant entered all required information, successfully uploaded all required documents, and clicked the “Submit” button in ARPA-E eXCHANGE by the deadline stated in the FOA. 

Full Applications found to be noncompliant may not be merit reviewed or considered for award. ARPA-E may not review or consider noncompliant Full Applications, including Full Applications submitted through other means, Full Applications submitted after the applicable deadline, and incomplete Full Applications.  A Full Application is incomplete if it does not include required information and documents, such as Forms SF-424 and SF-424A.  ARPA-E will not extend the submission deadline for Applicants that fail to submit required information and documents due to server/connection congestion.      

Replies to Reviewer Comments are deemed compliant if:

  • The Applicant successfully uploads its response to ARPA-E eXCHANGE by the deadline stated in the FOA; and 
  • The Replies to Reviewer Comments comply with the content and form requirements of Section IV.E of the FOA.

ARPA-E will not review or consider noncompliant Replies to Reviewer Comments, including Replies submitted through other means and Replies submitted after the applicable deadline.  ARPA-E will not extend the submission deadline for Applicants that fail to submit required information due to server/connection congestion.  ARPA-E will review and consider each compliant and responsive Full Application, even if no Reply is submitted or if the Reply is found to be noncompliant.  

2.  Responsiveness Criteria

ARPA-E performs a preliminary technical review of Concept Papers and Full Applications. 

The following types of submissions may be deemed nonresponsive and may not be reviewed or considered:

  • Submissions that fall outside the technical parameters specified in this FOA.
  • Submissions that have been submitted in response to other currently issued ARPA-E FOAs.
  • Submissions that are not scientifically distinct from applications submitted in response to other currently issued ARPA-E FOAs.
  • Submissions for basic research aimed solely at discovery and/or fundamental knowledge generation.
  • Submissions for large-scale demonstration projects of existing technologies.
  • Submissions for proposed technologies that represent incremental improvements to existing technologies.
  • Submissions for proposed technologies that are not based on sound scientific principles (e.g., violates a law of thermodynamics).
  • Submissions for proposed technologies that are not transformational, as described in Section I.A of the FOA. 
  • Submissions for proposed technologies that do not have the potential to become disruptive in nature, as described in Section I.A of the FOA.  Technologies must be scalable such that they could be disruptive with sufficient technical progress.
  • Submissions that are not distinct in scientific approach or objective from activities currently supported by or actively under consideration for funding by any other office within Department of Energy.
  • Submissions that are not distinct in scientific approach or objective from activities currently supported by or actively under consideration for funding by other government agencies or the private sector.   
  • Submissions that describe a technology but do not propose a R&D plan that allows ARPA-E to evaluate the submission under the applicable merit review criteria provided in Section V.A of the FOA.

3. Limitation on Number of Submissions

ARPA-E is not limiting the number of submissions from Applicants.  Applicants may submit more than one application to this FOA, provided that each application is scientifically distinct. 



[4] A Standalone Applicant is an Applicant that applies for funding on its own, not as part of a Project Team.

[5] The term “Project Team” is used to mean any entity with multiple players working collaboratively and could encompass anything from an existing organization to an ad hoc teaming arrangement.  A Project Team consists of the Prime Recipient, Subrecipients, and others performing or otherwise supporting work under an ARPA-E funding agreement.  

[6] Nonprofit organizations described in section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that engaged in lobbying activities after December 31, 1995 are not eligible to apply for funding as a Prime Recipient or Subrecipient.

[7] Please refer to Section VI.B.3-4 of the FOA for guidance on cost share payments and reporting.

[8] The Total Project Cost is the sum of the Prime Recipient share and the Federal Government share of total allowable costs.  The Federal Government share generally includes costs incurred by GOGOs and FFRDCs. 

[9] Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109-58, sec. 988.

[10] Small businesses are generally defined as domestically incorporated entities that meet the criteria established by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) “Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes” (NAICS) (http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-size-standards).  Applicants that are small businesses will be required to certify in the Business Assurances & Disclosures Form that their organization meets the SBA’s definition of a small business under at least one NAICS code. 

[11] See the information provided in previous footnote.

[12] As defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation Subsection 31.205-18.