Proposal Submittal & Review Schedule
|Solicitation period opens||2/8/2023|
|Proposal due date||3/6/2023|
Call closes at 4 p.m. Mountain Time
|Selection review completed||5/5/2023|
The NSUF mission is to facilitate the advancement of nuclear science and technology by providing nuclear energy researchers with access to world-class capabilities at no cost to the researcher. This mission is enabled by a consortium of partners that make available state-of-the-art experimental irradiation testing, post irradiation examination, and INL high performance computing as well as technical and scientific assistance for the design and execution of projects. Access to NSUF capabilities is granted through competitive proposal processes.
The Rapid Turnaround Experiment (RTE) award process offers an avenue for researchers to perform irradiation effects studies of limited scope on nuclear fuels and materials of interest utilizing NSUF facilities. Completion of RTE projects is expected within 9 months of award. Prospective researchers are strongly encouraged to request samples from the NSUF Nuclear Fuels and Materials Library.
RTE proposals are typically solicited and awarded three times per year. They are reviewed and evaluated for technical merit, relevancy, and feasibility. The number of awards is dependent on the availability of funding. Further explanation of the review process can be found at RTE Technical Review Process. Proposals must support the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy mission.
NSUF will give special consideration to Principal Investigators from Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). For an institution listed in the directory, the NSUF will add five points to the proposal’s average technical score. For additional information on MSIs refer to the information below.
LEARN MORE ABOUT RTE RESEARCH AREAS OF INTEREST »
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RTE REVIEW PROCESS »
Rules for Proposal Submission
Completion Report Criteria
A satisfactory completion report will contain the following:
If the applicant has two active RTE projects, submission of a completion report for one of the active projects must be completed at least two weeks before a call closes to allow for time for review (approval may require iteration). Upon approval, the completion report will be posted on the NSUF website under the applicant’s project, where it will be accessible to the public. The completion report can be uploaded as Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF documents. An example of a satisfactory completion report is available here.
Users will be allowed to prepare, but not submit, a proposal that would create a third RTE project prior to approval of a completion report that closes an active RTE project. On beginning preparation of the proposal, users will be informed that submission of the proposal will not be allowed until a completion report is approved.
Failure to meet any of the above rules will result in disqualification of the proposal.
The included guidelines are designed to help researchers develop a proposal that can be executed within the RTE schedule and budget. Applicants should work with each facility representative (NSUF Partner Institutions - NSUF (inl.gov)) to ensure that their proposed work (scope, number of specimens, etc.) can be accomplished within the RTE guidelines for that facility. The guidelines are based on the average cost of instrument time at each facility, on a typical work week, and on the assumption that only one instrument is used each day.
Estimated Facility Access Guidelines:
Up to 3 Weeks
Up to 2 Weeks
Up to 1 Week
Up to 3 Days
Proposals that request irradiation and PIE should assumeapproximately one week of access time at the irradiation facility and one weekat the PIE facility to remain within the suggested RTE guidelines.
Neutron irradiation experiments that require the use of ATR, TREAT, HFIR or MITR in core positions do not qualify for an RTE award due to expense and duration of project.
A cost estimate will be developed based on the requested scope. This cost estimate will be used in evaluation of the proposal. Controlling costs and scope among all proposals helps to ensure that the projects can be completed within nine months from award and helps to maintain fairness for all applicants.
Failure to follow the guidelines, as well as excessively scoped proposals, may render your proposal “not feasible” based on costs alone. Proposals that utilize multiple facilities may result in an estimate that cannot be accommodated within the bounds of a RTE and thus deem the proposal “not feasible.” Principal investigators will receive project specific feedback if the proposal was not recommended for award when deemed “not feasible”.
To maintain the goal of the rapid user facility access program, the progress of awarded RTEs will be periodically monitored by NSUF staff. Any projects that are not making satisfactory progress or have exceeded nine months from the date of award will be subject to cancellation.
Upon completion a PI will be asked to submit a satisfactory completion report. A satisfactory completion report will contain the following: (1) A summary of both the work completed and the data obtained and (2) a description of the potential impact to the state-of-knowledge. The completion report can be uploaded as a Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF document.
After submittal, a completion report will be reviewed by the NSUF Program Office staff. If the report is determined to be satisfactory, the project status will be changed to complete. If the report is deemed unsatisfactory, the report will be returned to the PI with comments that will need to be addressed prior to resubmission.
After approval, the completion report will go through a classification and export control review for external release. Once the completion report is approved for external release, it will be posted on the NSUF website under the PI’s project, where it will be accessible to the public.
Applicants will be allowed to prepare, but not submit, a proposal that if awarded would create a third active RTE project for a PI. On initiation of the proposal, applicants will be informed that submission of the proposal will not be allowed until a completion report for one of the active projects is approved. Completion reports must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the close of the call to allow time for review. Applicants are encouraged to submit completion reports well in advance of the close of a RTE call as iteration may be required prior to approval.
An example of a satisfactory completion report is available at this link.
Information on Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) can be found at: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/edlite-minorityinst-list.html. This information predominately covers institutions that have been awarded grants through the Department of Education and does not currently include all institutions that may meet the definition of an MSI.
Also, a consolidated list of MSIs based on 2020 U.S. Department of Education data, as compiled by Rutgers University, is provided for your convenience at the following link: https://cmsi.gse.rutgers.edu/content/msi-directory. The Department of Energy does not validate the comprehensiveness of the list on this site.
During the recommendation process, NSUF will review each RTE proposal to see if the Principal Investigator (PI) is from an institution listed in the United States Department of Education directory. For those on the MSI list, five points will be manually added to the average technical score on the recommendation spreadsheet and duly noted in the recommendation provided to the NSUF Federal Program Manager.
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