The Dept. of Energy has issued the topics for its FY 2019 Phase I Release 2 topics. The solicitation opens Nov. 26, Letters of Intent are due Dec. 17 and proposals are due Feb. 4, 2019. The following DOE program offices are participating:

  • Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
  • Office of Electricity
  • Office of Environmental Management
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Office of Fossil Energy
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences
  • Office of High Energy Physics
  • Office of Nuclear Energy

If you’re considering a DOE proposal, you may be wondering:

How do I know if DOE is interested in my idea?

The answer is incredibly easy: Ask the relevant Program Manager. The best time to do this is AFTER the topics have been released, and BEFORE the FOA is released (Nov. 26) … in a word, NOW. After the FOA is released, Program Managers have many restrictions on contact, so don’t wait!

What do you need to do before talking to the Program Manager?

  1. Review the topics once they are published.
  2. Identify the topic(s) and subtopic(s) that best match your idea/innovation. You can find the email of the relevant Program Manager at the end of each topic and subtopic.
  3. Prepare an Executive Summary and send to the Program Managers of each of the topics that you identified as potentially matching your innovation.
  4. Email your Executive Summary to the Program Manager(s) directly and ask the following questions:
    • Based on the attached Executive Summary, does my innovation match the goals of DOE for this topic?
    • If yes, ask: What are the DOE priorities for this topic area? Do you see these priorities changing in the future? What are the most relevant applications for DOE (especially those that may not be obvious from the topic description)? Has anything changed in priorities since the topic was developed?
    • If not, ask if they can suggest other topics within DOE?

What to include in your Executive Summary
Your Executive Summary should be fairly brief, and no longer than one page. Use your Executive Summary as a basis for the Abstract that will be part of your Letter of Intent. Include:

  1. Problem Statement / Competition
    • What is the problem being addressed? (Tip: use keywords from the topic description)
    • What are the currently-available solutions?
    • What is the main direct competition?
  2. Technology/Innovation
    • What is the specific product/service to be developed?
    • How will your approach solve the problem and how is it innovative?
    • What technical hurdles remain to be overcome?
  3. Company/Team (including any experience with previous SBIR awards)
    • What is the makeup of the company/team (including number of part-time and full-time employees)?
    • What is the revenue history, if any, for the past three years?
    • Have any team members previously taken similar products/services to market?
  4. Market Opportunity, Value Proposition, & Customers
    • Describe the anticipated target market and potential customer.
    • What customer needs does your innovation address?

You’ve got less than a month to contact Program Managers and get answers to important questions, so it’s time to get organized and set priorities. If BBCetc can help, contact us!


Jerry Hollister is a Principal Consultant at BBCetc and a serial DOE SBIR/STTR awardee.