A.  Award Overview

For information on available funding, range of awards anticipated, individual award amounts and expected period of performance refer to the section text provided in the FOA document.

ARPA-E encourages applications stemming from ideas that still require proof-of-concept R&D efforts as well as those for which some proof-of-concept demonstration already exists.

Submissions requiring proof-of-concept R&D can propose a project with the goal of delivering on the program metric at the conclusion of the period of performance. These submissions must contain an appropriate cost and project duration plan that is described in sufficient technical detail to allow reviewers to meaningfully evaluate the proposed project. If awarded, such projects should expect a rigorous go/no-go milestone early in the project associated with the proof-of-concept demonstration.  Alternatively, submissions requiring proof-of-concept R&D can propose a project with the project end deliverable being an extremely creative, but partial solution. However, the Applicants are required to provide a convincing vision how these partial solutions can enable the realization of the program metrics with further development.

Applicants proposing projects for which some initial proof-of-concept demonstration already exists should submit concrete data that supports the probability of success of the proposed project.

ARPA-E will provide support at the highest funding level only for applications with significant technology risk, aggressive timetables, and careful management and mitigation of the associated risks.

ARPA-E will accept only new applications under this FOA.  Applicants may not seek renewal or supplementation of their existing awards through this FOA.

ARPA-E plans to fully fund your negotiated budget at the time of award.

B.  ARPA-E Funding Agreements

Through Cooperative Agreements, Technology Investment Agreements, and similar agreements, ARPA-E provides financial and other support to projects that have the potential to realize ARPA-E’s statutory mission.  ARPA-E does not use such agreements to acquire property or services for the direct benefit or use of the U.S. Government. 

Congress directed ARPA-E to “establish and monitor project milestones, initiate research projects quickly, and just as quickly terminate or restructure projects if such milestones are not achieved.”[2] Accordingly, ARPA-E has substantial involvement in the direction of every Cooperative Agreement, as described in Section II.C below. 

1. Cooperative Agreements

ARPA-E generally uses Cooperative Agreements to provide financial and other support to Prime Recipients.[3]

Cooperative Agreements involve the provision of financial or other support to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute.  Under Cooperative Agreements, the Government and Prime Recipients share responsibility for the direction of projects. 

ARPA-E encourages Prime Recipients to review the Model Cooperative Agreement, which is available at www.arpa-e.energy.gov/technologies/project-guidance/pre-award-guidance/funding-agreements.

2.  Funding Agreements with FFRDCs/DOE Labs, GOGOs, and Federal Instrumentalities

Any Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) involved as a member of a Project Team must provide the information requested in the “FFRDC Lab Authorization” and “Field Work Proposal” section of the Business Assurances & Disclosures Form, which is submitted with the Applicant’s Full Application.

When a FFRDC/DOE Lab (including the National Energy Technology Laboratory or NETL) is the lead organization for a Project Team, ARPA-E executes a funding agreement directly with the FFRDC/DOE Lab and a single, separate Cooperative Agreement with the rest of the Project Team.  Notwithstanding the use of multiple agreements, the FFRDC/DOE Lab is the lead organization for the entire project, including all work performed by the FFRDC/DOE Lab and the rest of the Project Team.

When a FFRDC/DOE Lab is a member of a Project Team, ARPA-E executes a funding agreement directly with the FFRDC/DOE Lab and a single, separate Cooperative Agreement with the rest of the Project Team.  Notwithstanding the use of multiple agreements, the Prime Recipient under the Cooperative Agreement is the lead organization for the entire project, including all work performed by the FFRDC/DOE Lab and the rest of the Project Team.

Funding agreements with DOE/NNSA FFRDCs take the form of Work Authorizations issued to DOE/NNSA FFRDCs through the DOE/NNSA Field Work Proposal system for work performed under Department of Energy Management & Operation Contracts.  Funding agreements with non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs, GOGOs (including NETL), and Federal instrumentalities (e.g., Tennessee Valley Authority) will be consistent with the sponsoring agreement between the U.S. Government and the Laboratory.  Any funding agreement with a FFRDC or GOGO will have similar terms and conditions as ARPA-E’s Model Cooperative Agreement (www.arpa-e.energy.gov/technologies/project-guidance/pre-award-guidance/funding-agreements).

Non-DOE GOGOs and Federal agencies may be proposed to provide support to the project team members on an applicant’s project, through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) or similar agreement. 

3. Technology Investment Agreements

ARPA-E may use its “other transactions” authority under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 or DOE’s “other transactions” authority under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to enter into Technology Investment Agreements (TIAs) with Prime Recipients. 

ARPA-E may negotiate a TIA when it determines that the use of a standard cooperative agreement, grant, or contract is not feasible or appropriate for a project.

A TIA is more flexible than a traditional financial assistance agreement.  In using a TIA, ARPA-E may modify standard Government terms and conditions. See 10 C.F.R. § 603.105 for a description of a TIA. 

In general, TIAs require a cost share of 50%.  See Section III.B.2 of the FOA.

C. Statement of Substantial Involvement

ARPA-E is substantially involved in the direction of projects from inception to completion.  For the purposes of an ARPA-E project, substantial involvement means:

  • Project Teams must adhere to ARPA-E’s agency-specific and programmatic requirements.
  • ARPA-E may intervene at any time in the conduct or performance of work under an award.
  • ARPA-E does not limit its involvement to the administrative requirements of an award.  Instead, ARPA-E has substantial involvement in the direction and redirection of the technical aspects of the project as a whole.
  • During award negotiations, ARPA-E Program Directors and Prime Recipients mutually establish an aggressive schedule of quantitative milestones and deliverables that must be met every quarter.  In addition, ARPA-E will negotiate and establish “Go/No-Go” milestones for each project.  If the Prime Recipient fails to achieve any of the “Go/No-Go” milestones or technical milestones and deliverables as determined by the ARPA-E Contracting Officer, ARPA-E may – at its discretion - renegotiate the statement of project objectives or schedule of technical milestones and deliverables for the project.  In the alternative, ARPA-E may suspend or terminate the award in accordance with 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.338 and 200.339.
  • ARPA-E may provide guidance and/or assistance to the Prime Recipient to accelerate the commercial deployment of ARPA-E-funded technologies. Guidance and assistance provided by ARPA-E may include coordination with other Government agencies and nonprofits to provide mentoring and networking opportunities for Prime Recipients.  ARPA-E may also organize and sponsor events to educate Prime Recipients about key barriers to the deployment of their ARPA-E-funded technologies.  In addition, ARPA-E may establish collaborations with private and public entities to provide continued support for the development and deployment of ARPA-E-funded technologies.


[2] U.S. Congress, Conference Report to accompany the 21st Century Competitiveness Act of 2007, H. Rpt. 110-289 at 171-172 (Aug. 1, 2007).

[3] The Prime Recipient is the signatory to the funding agreement with ARPA-E.