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FY22 CINR Work Scope and DECP FOA Q&As (This document contains questions specific to the FY22 CINR FOA and workscopes, as well as the DECP FOA.)​

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What is the Tracking ID # used in the file names?
Once you have created a new application, scroll down and Save immediately to create the application tracking ID. Scroll back to the top of the page and you will see “Tracking ID: RPA-YEAR-XXXX" This will be the ID# used in naming your files and the number used to return results to applicants.  In addition, the same tracking number from the pre-application will be carried over to any full application that is submitted.  

How do I edit my application if it has already been submitted, but the call has not closed?
You must withdraw your submission by scrolling to the bottom and clicking "Withdraw Submission" button. Then, edit your application and resubmit before the deadline. You will not lose any content.

Are principal investigators (PIs) who receive an award required to submit reports for the duration of the project?
Yes. Reporting is a requirement for all projects and is the responsibility of the lead PI.

The beginning of the section on application restrictions (page 16) states: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FY 2016 - FY 2019 active projects will not be counted toward eligibility restrictions." Does “FY 2016-FY 2019" correspond to the period of performance of projects, or does it refer to the year when a project begins? I have an ongoing NEUP project that is scheduled to end on 9/30/2021. Will this project not be counted toward eligibility restrictions?
The date designation is for the period of performance (e.g., if you have an active project during one of those years).  Therefore, eligibility restrictions are not being enforced on FY 2016 - FY 2019 projects.  To the second question, the current project would not be counted toward eligibility restrictions and would be eligible to apply.​

Where do you get your reviewers?
DOE-NE maintains a database of university professors and industry and lab researchers who are qualified to evaluate proposals in the technical work scopes. They are assigned proposals based on their areas of expertise. We are always looking for additions to this database! Please send your recommendations to

Can you suggest university contacts for potential industry partnering in support of CINR workscopes?
All teaming has to be done by the participants with no federal involvement.  The Nuclear Science and Engineering Sourcebook is a publicly available tool that may be helpful and can be found at​.

Is NEUP an Idaho National Laboratory program?
No, it is not. Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) is a Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) initiative. The NEUP Integration Office (also referred to as the Innovative Nuclear Research Integration Office or INR-IO), located in Idaho Falls, administers the program on behalf of DOE-NE. The INR-IO is staffed by Idaho National Laboratory employees.​

R&D Pre-Applications

Is a letter signed by our institution's Sponsored Projects Office required for the pre-applications, or can the PI submit the pre-application directly?
That depends mostly on the process your institution follows. It would be best to coordinate with your Office of Sponsored Programs to make sure you follow your own protocol. We do not specifically require them for the pre-applications, but a complete and signed SF-424 application form is required for full application submissions.​

Can an individual who is recognized as a Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) for the CINR compete in any capacity?

No.  TPOCs are precluded from participating as a PI (lead PI or co-PI) or as a collaborator in any CINR workscope.

How many pre-applications can be submitted by a university?

As a university PI, you may submit up to 6 total pre-applications (up to a maximum of 3 as lead PI) for the entire CINR FOA solicitation. However, for the NEET workscopes, only 3 applications per institution can be submitted into each workscope. NEET and IRP applications count toward the PI submission limit.

Can multiple applications be submitted to the same workscope?

Yes, applicants can submit multiple applications to the same workscope.

I am jointly employed by a university and a laboratory. Am I able to be a lead PI?

An employee with a joint appointment between a university and a DOE national laboratory can apply through the institute of higher education (IHE) if the institution pays his or her salary and provides his or her benefits. 

I am currently approved and appointed by the Dean as an assistant professor and have a mid-year start date.  I do not officially begin my professorship until that time and would still like to submit a pre-application to NEUP, so that I can receive a full proposal invitation when I am officially a professor.  Are there any issues if I submit a pre-application prior to my official start date? 
There are no issues preventing a pre-application from being submitted in this scenario.  The Dean and Department Chair of the University should be informed of the pre-application submission plans. ​

Can national laboratories submit proposals?
National laboratories can only submit proposals as principal investigators in NSUF-2 workscopes (Appendix B). They can collaborate with universities for proposals submitted to university-led program supporting, mission supporting, or program directed applications but cannot receive more than 20 percent of a project's overall funding.

Is it better if I develop a partnership with others as opposed to proposing as a single institution?
The composition of researchers, whether from a single institution or multiple institutions, should be tied to their relevance in accomplishing the scope of work and achieving the outcomes of your proposal. This should also be clearly described in the pre-application. The FOA also describes requirements for participation by different types of institutions.

Can I add a new collaborator to my team for the full application stage?
PIs can only add new collaborators to their full application with the consent of the Contracting Officer. If you need to change a collaborator, please contact the Integration Office at

There is not a specific location in the pre-application form that indicates whether or not there is going to be a co-PI, but this can be indicated in the full application submission.  Is it possible to indicate co-PIs in the pre-application?
DOE-NE does not differentiate between co-PIs and collaborators.  You can indicate that they are a co-PI in the narrative itself, but you should add the individual(s) to the funded collaborator section in the application form.

Do I need to list the funding amount for each collaborator? If I have several collaborators from the same institution, do I need to add funding for each individual, or for the institution? 

To the best of their ability, PIs need to list funding amounts for each individual collaborator, regardless of the collaborator's affiliation.  

Is it okay to include unfunded collaborators in our proposal? 

Yes, you must include unfunded collaborators in advisory roles or other capacities in which they will make an R&D contribution for your project.  In fact, the identification of all collaborators is required. 

A collaborator is an individual that makes a defined, material contribution that is critical to the success of the project and/or contributing to joint publications. Any individual appearing in the project summary, technical narrative, benefit of collaboration, coordination and management plan, or budget documents should be listed directly on the application form. All collaborators must be added to the application form with complete information. Any individuals that do not meet these criteria should not be listed as collaborators on the application.   ​​

Can post-doctoral fellows be co-investigators on NEUP proposals? 
This is dependent on the institution's rules regarding who can participate.  NEUP does not restrict post-docs from being a co-PI, unless it is disallowed by the institution.  

Can an international post-doctoral fellows at a university be a co-PI on NEUP proposals
The CINR FOA does not prohibit post-docs that are working at U.S. institutions from participating.  The designation as co-PI or participation is regulated at the institutional level.  If this is allowable by the institution that is employing the individual, it shouldn't be an issue.

Is a national laboratory co-PI required for a NEUP project? 
No, a national laboratory co-PI is not required, nor is any other type of co-PI required.  A project can even be led and executed by a single​ faculty member.

Is cost share required for university PIs?
No, university leads do not need to cost share.

Will the national laboratory co-PI be a sub-award (flow through) or directly funded by NEUP, if approved for funding?
The national laboratory PI will not flow-through the university as a sub-award. They will receive funding through DOE directly. The cost of the national laboratory collaborator should be included in the federal request and total funding request for the project. 

If we believe a proposal could be funded under multiple workscopes, should we submit the same proposal twice?
No. If you are unsure where your proposal should be submitted, please contact

What should be included in the publication list? 
A publication list for the lead PI should be included, at a minimum.  A publication list for any co-PI is encouraged, but is not required.  The publication list would be for CINR projects (NEUP, NEET, NSUF).  The list does not need to include any other DOE-NE work.​

It seems like several reviewer comments are generic 'copy-and-paste' responses that don't have anything to do with my application. Why do I get these responses instead of proposal-specific feedback?
Evaluation scores are based upon the criteria outlined in the "Application Review Information" section of the FOA. General explanations of the meaning of each review score are provided by the NEUP Integration Office, not the reviewer. These explanations are generic in nature to give a descriptive explanation of the given score in comparison to other scores. Reviewer comments, specific to the proposal, are provided in addition to the evaluation scoring explanation with the intention of helping the PI improve future applications. Applicants should see general scoring criteria explanations and proposal-specific comments in their pre-application scoring and comment summary.

My pre-application was scored as “Highly Relevant/High Program Priority" yet I was not invited to submit a full proposal. How can a proposal that is scored highly relevant be excluded from the full proposal process?
There are several reasons why a proposal can be scored “Highly Relevant/High Program Priority" and still be excluded from the full proposal process. A proposal can score well in the relevancy review and poorly in a technical review. If this is the case, proposals could be excluded on technical merit. Also, each workscope area defines its own competitive range; therefore, competitive scores will be different for each workscope area. For example, highly competitive workscope areas may only have enough funding to invite a select few applications, leaving several other competitive proposals not invited.

Can NEUP projects budget funds for independent contractors/consultants?
NEUP project funding is allowable for consultants and contractors.  

R&D Full Applications

For Program Supporting research, if our institution decides to contribute cost share, would those funds be on top of the $800,000 from DOE or would those funds need to be included in the $800,000 total federal request? In other words, can we request $800,000 from DOE then contribute $100,000 in cost share making the total project costs $900,000?
Yes. The maximum award ceilings identified in the CINR FOA are based on the requested federal funding amount. An applicant may include cost share that results in a total project cost greater than the maximum award ceiling. 

For the NEUP proposals that include national laboratories, are Field Work Proposals (FWPs) required to be submitted, and if so, at what stage of the proposal process?
The FWP should be included as a pdf file in the "Budget for DOE/NNSA Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) Contractor" section of the online application form. The FWP is due at the time of submission.

I would like my full proposal to be assigned to a different workscope than my pre-application. Is that possible?

No. It is not possible to shift workscopes after the pre application has been submitted. The PI or the submitter is responsible for placement into the correct workscope at the time of pre-application.

What should I label the file names for the subawards so that I can distinguish between them if I have multiple institutions collaborating?
Please use the format specified in the FOA with a slight modification to tell them apart. For example, "'Fiscal Year' CFA Subaward Budget Michigan.xls" This is the format to follow to show the different subtier budgets.

Does NEUP offer "no-cost extensions" on R&D projects that are incomplete and still have unspent money?
Yes, DOE may allow for one no-cost extension for up to 12 months on each R&D project. DOE has established as policy that university PIs who request and receive approved no-cost extensions to existing NE R&D projects will be ineligible to be PIs for new project awards while any no-cost extension remains in effect.

I am collaborating with a national laboratory. In the "Other Eligibility Requirements" section of the FOA it states that a FFRDC contractor (national laboratory) must obtain written authorization from its cognizant contracting officer. Do I need to obtain and include this written authorization in my application?
Yes. The written authorization requirement is an agreement between a FFRDC contractor and their cognizant contracting officer. National laboratory collaborators should be familiar with this requirement and who they need to contact at DOE to obtain this letter. University PI's are required to obtain a copy of the written authorization and include it in the full proposal application.  (The letter does not need to be included in pre-applications.) This is applicable for all national laboratory collaborators, even if they are not receiving funds.

Do references count within the page maximum of the technical narrative?
Yes, reference do count toward page limitations.

Are we allowed to subdivide the budget uniformly across years? For example, could we request $500K in year one, $300K in year two, $200K in year three for NEUP topics wherein the total is $800K?

Yes, you can subdivide the budget in any way that will be beneficial to the project.  For example, some PIs allocate less funding in Year 1 while they recruit graduate students, etc.

If a university proposes to collaborate with two national laboratories, can each national laboratory obtain 20% of the total funding (i.e., 40% of the total budget to the national labs), or do the labs have to share 20% of the total budget between them?

No, the FOA specifically states that the sum total of all funds that go to all national laboratory and industrial partners may not exceed 20% of the total funding request. However, this restriction is not applicable to the NSUF-2 workscopes in Appendix B.

Distinguished Early Career Program (DECP)

It was written that "applicants must be untenured assistant or associate professors on the tenure track" to be eligible for the Distinguished Early Career Program (DECP). Could you please clarify if this is true at the time of proposal submission or at the time of award?

According to page 8 of the FOA, “The PI must be an untenured assistant or associate professor on the tenure track at a U.S. academic institution as of the deadline for the application. The PI must be employed in the eligible position as of the closing date for this FOA.” ​​​

​​I understand that it is not possible to hold both this award and an Early Career Award from the Office of Science (e.g., in Fusion Energy). However, it is allowed to submit proposals to both (with the logic that that it is highly unlikely that both will succeed, and in this event one must be declined)?

Yes, you may submit to multiple agencies but only eligible for one. ​​​

​ The DECP FOA states no co-PI allowed. Can we have collaborators from national labs or industry?

  No co-PIs nor collaborators are allowed.​ ​​​

​​Is a tenured associate professor eligible for the DECP? 

Is a research assistant professor who is not on the tenure-track eligible for the DECP? 

I am in the process of preparing an application for the NEUP DECP award. In looking at the guidelines for the Capabilities, I'm not quite sure how to interpret the guideline: "Necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls, or the ability to obtain them (including, as appropriate, such elements as property control systems, quality assurance measures, and safety programs)." Do you think you could clarify the intent of this guideline and possibly provide an example of a description of this?
It is recommended that the focus be on the infrastructure needs and associated schedule and form a short paragraph addressing how the university already has systems and procedures in place. Your contract lead could likely help with wording on quality assurance, research excellence, etc…​

I am planning to perform some experiments at an FFRDC as part of a Distinguished Early Career application. These are experiments that cannot be performed elsewhere. Should I budget these costs as a sub-contract to the FFRDC, or will DOE award these funds directly through the Field Work Proposal (FWP) process?
Any project funds going to an FFRDC would be provided directly by DOE to the FFRDC via the FWP process. A Field Work Proposal and DOE Contracting Officer Letter of Authorization will be required to be submitted by the applicant.  In addition, funding provided to an FFRDC by DOE should be included in your total budget (i.e. As part of the $625,000).  Upon successful award negotiation, the funding provided to the University (prime awardee) will be the award amount, minus the FFRDC funding (provided directly by DOE).​


Which university research reactors are eligible to submit reactor upgrade applications?
The 24 research reactors fueled by DOE-NE are eligible for reactor upgrade awards. A list is provided in the FOA.

How many GSI applications can I submit?
Each university can submit one GSI application each cycle.  

What is the cost matching requirement for infrastructure applications?
Universities must make a 1:1 dollar match for requests above $250,000 for applications under the General Scientific Infrastructure Support area.

Do GSI applications need to be for one piece of equipment or can multiple pieces of equipment be requested in one application?
There is no restriction on requesting multiple pieces of equipment though applicants should avoid creating a laundry list of unrelated pieces of equipment.

What items need vendor quotes?
Any single item over $5,000 requires a basis of estimate, catalog price, or vendor quote. This should be provided by the vendor or be publicly published. All quotes or pricing must be attached to the application.  

Can reactor upgrade funds be used to reconfigure the building or structure where the reactor is housed?
Building modifications that immediately support the installation and operation of the equipment requested are allowable.

Can items that complement the reactor (radiation detection equipment, measurement equipment, etc.) be proposed in the research reactor area?
Yes, equipment that significantly improves or expands the research, instruction, training capabilities, or operating capabilities related to NE program missions of the research reactor facility are allowable.

Integrated Research Projects

Our proposal will perform a gap analysis to identify nuclear workforce needs. These outcomes will include education certificates, courses, practical experience with nuclear material, and educational outreach. I want to confirm that the outcomes developed by the team are an expected part of a proposed.
Yes, the concept behind the scope is to 1) identify workforce gaps including those in the emerging advanced reactor space which would be supported by data then some recommended outcomes to address the gaps. 2) Provide a pathway to fill identified gaps. The outcomes listed sound like they are in that vein.

Can international partners participate?
Yes, international collaborations are permitted and encouraged. You are correct that all international collaborators cannot be funded by the IRP funds.

What is a suitable time frame into the future for the gap analysis?
There is no specific timeframe designated in the call.

Should the needs of national laboratories and regulators be included in the gap analysis?
Yes, to the extent that those needs are related to nuclear power generation. This is intended to be a national gap analysis that cross-cuts the entire workforce which would include applied research taking place at the labs and academia.

Is the focus on US workforce?
Yes, the focus should be on US workforce.

Should the emphasis of the gap analysis emphasize the inclusion of underrepresented groups?
Inclusion of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups is an important discussion in workforce development and I wouldn’t say it has to be the main emphasis, but the topic should be recognized and addressed.

Can international students at the team universities be funded?
Yes, team participants must be students at a participating U.S. institution or employed at a participating U.S. institution to receive funds as part of any NEUP project.

Should the skill set on the gap analysis focus on nuclear technology needs? For example, general skills for nuclear power generation can include areas outside the nuclear island? Should the gap analysis focus on those skill sets necessary for operation with the nuclear island?
The gap analysis should be as comprehensive as possible, which will include areas and aspects outside the nuclear island and should most definitely include skill sets necessary for operations and maintenance activities within the nuclear island. The scope is open to allow for exploration of all aspects of the nuclear workforce and this scope was written as an IRP to support a project that can deliver a broad and comprehensive gap analysis.

Can IRPs extend beyond 3-years? Can I propose a 5-year project?
IRP project durations are dependent on the specific workscope. With approval, projects can only extend for one 12-month no cost extension​.

Is there a limit to the number of applications I can submit under an IRP?
Yes, applicants can only lead one IRP project. Individuals can collaborate as a Co-PI or collaborator on multiple IRPs projects​.  

I have not submitted my final report for an R&D project that was due December 31, 2020. I’ve talked to my DOE counterpart and he understands the delay. Can I still submit an IRP proposal? If not, is there a way to obtain a waiver or special circumstances approval?
Yes, you can submit an IRP application, but potential awards could be impacted for individuals or institutions who have delinquent reporting, including final reports​.

I currently have two R&D projects and a third one I inherited due to the original PI leaving the University. Would this automatically bar me from applying for an IRP?
Yes, IRP applicants can only have one active CINR R&D project when they apply for an IRP​.

During the pre-proposal stage. Can you submit both a research proposal and an IRP proposal, for which you are the lead PI on for both?
You may choose to submit a pre-application and then not submit a full application. You may not be awarded a full application and an IRP application at the same time, but you could have a pre-application you submit along with an IRP application then you could make a decision on whether to submit the full application or not​.

University Nuclear Leadership Program (Scholarship & Fellowship)

I read the question concerning eligibility of students not in a nuclear engineering program, and I did not see anything concerning any other majors. My university does not offer nuclear engineering to undergraduate students, and only offers a minor, therefore I declared my major to be in mechanical engineering, hoping later to focus in the nuclear field. Also, I cannot declare this minor so early in my college career, so I was wondering if I was still eligible.
Students pursuing nuclear energy-related disciplines such as nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry, health physics, nuclear materials science, radiochemistry, applied nuclear physics, nuclear policy, radiation protection technology, nuclear power technology, nuclear maintenance technology, nuclear engineering technology, computer science, and cybersecurity, etc., are eligible to apply for an UNLP scholarship or fellowship. Please keep in mind that because medical isotopes, fusion, nuclear forensics, or environmental management topics do not fit into the mission of the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, students pursuing studies in these fields are not eligible to apply.

Are internships in industry encouraged for the fellowship requirement?
Industry internships are allowed and approved on a case by case basis, as are other internships at DOE, a DOE national laboratory, or other facility approved by DOE.

What would happen if, after all costs related to the student's fellowship were paid, there were funds remaining? Would the student be given the funds, or would they be returned?
If a Fellow will have unused Cost of Education funds at the end of each academic year, the student can use the money for additional UNLP-approved travel, health insurance (for the fellow only), and/or housing (rent only) for during the fellowship tenure. Funds cannot be utilized for other expenses such as utility costs. The university administrator will need to provide a breakdown of the student's fellowship and how it's being spent so that we can keep track of what is still available. If, at the end of the three-year fellowship, a student still has remaining funds, then the award money will remain with the university and will be applied to future scholarship or fellowship awards. Unused funds do not go to the Fellow.

My school isn't on the list of universities and colleges approved to administer UNLP scholarships and fellowships. Am I still eligible for an award?
Yes, conditionally. Your chosen university must be able to demonstrate a program or field of study related to nuclear energy and must apply and be approved prior to any transfer of funding. For your school to be added to the approved list, it will need to apply to the university Funding Opportunity Announcement on The process takes about six weeks from when the application is received, so it is important that your university submit this as soon as possible. It is preferable that the application on be submitted from someone at the school that has the authority to agree to the terms of the FOA and who can administer the awards without charge.

I am graduating from my undergraduate program this year. I plan on doing a one-year internship in between my undergraduate and graduate studies. Can I apply for the UNLP fellowship this year and defer the award for a year while I do my internship?
No, the UNLP fellowship does not allow deferments for internships or job opportunities. In this case, it is recommended that the applicant apply for a fellowship in the next application cycle, when he/she will be attending school during the next fall semester.

Can the $1,000 research travel allowance given to UNLP fellowship recipients be used for foreign travel?
No. Unfortunately, due to the complications of approving international travel, we cannot support students traveling internationally on our fellowships.

I'm applying for an UNLP fellowship. Will my undergraduate or graduate GPA be used to determine if I meet the 3.5 GPA requirement?
If an applicant has not completed a full semester of graduate study at the time of submission, then the cumulative undergraduate GPA will be used to determine if the applicant has a 3.5 GPA. If the applicant has completed one or more semesters of graduate study (2 semesters maximum), then both the undergraduate and graduate cumulative GPA will be used. They will not be combined and/or averaged. For an applicant to be eligible, they must have a cumulative 3.5 GPA at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. GPAs are not rounded for this requirement.

The RFA states applicants must have a 3.5 GPA to be eligible for an UNLP Fellowship, and a 3.0 GPA for an UNLP Scholarship. I currently have a 3.45 GPA. Are GPAs rounded, taking a 3.45 to a 3.5 GPA?
No, GPAs are not rounded in any way. Applicants must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher to apply for a fellowship and a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher to apply for a scholarship.

When are reference letters due? How should they be submitted?
Reference letters need to be submitted by the application deadline in the system by the letter writer. Be sure to make direct contact with your reference writers as well, as using the "notify" button inside your application, so they are aware that a request will be coming their way. They can either upload their letters through the link that is provided in the automatic email or, if they are having trouble with the system, they can email it to and we can upload it on their behalf. It is recommended that students reach out to their references as early as possible to ensure timely receipt.

I applied for an UNLP fellowship award last year and am applying again this year. Do I need to resubmit transcripts, or do you still have them on file?
If you applied for a fellowship or scholarship last year, then the INR Integration Office should have any applicable transcripts and scores on file; however, just to be sure, please send an email to letting us know that you applied last year and are planning to do so again so we can pull your records to create a new application file. An updated transcript is required for the application.

Are permanent residents eligible to apply for an UNLP scholarship or fellowship?
Yes. Legal permanent residents holding a green card are eligible to apply; however, applicants holding a F1 student visa are not eligible to apply for an UNLP scholarship or fellowship.

Is a college parking pass an eligible expense using the Cost of Education Funds portion of the UNLP Fellowship?

Can an applicant attend a different school than the one listed on their application? 
No. A student must attend the school selected on their application.

Are charges for publications at a technical conference an allowable cost on a fellowship award? 
Yes, publication charges related to fellowship graduate research are allowable charges on a fellowship award.