Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: We are considering technology in which the product development is based on a series of our issued patents along with at least one new patent submission. If we participate successfully in your program, do we retain sole ownership of all associated intellectual property? Are there any DOE conditions imposed where others would have the right to license?
Answer 1:

The standard DOE financial assistance intellectual property (IP) provisions applicable to the various types of recipients and sub-recipients are located at  DOE takes rights in "subject inventions" which are inventions that are conceived or first actually reduced to practice under the award. DOE takes no rights in background inventions (i.e., inventions that do not meet the definition of a subject invention).

The provisions for IP developed through the course of an award resulting from this funding opportunity would be handled differently based upon the business type (as detailed in the URL above). The DOE SSL program permits recipients and sub recipients to opt to retain title to subject inventions (through the Bayh-Dole Act [35 USC 200, et seq] for domestic small business and non-profit entities and a class patent waiver for all other types of entities). DOE wants the resultant technology to be applied to the field of SSL by the owner, or through licensing by the owner. However, the Government does retain certain rights in any subject invention, including a Government-use license, march-in rights and a requirement for substantial U.S. manufacturing.

Question 2: If we are under accreditation review, are we still eligible to apply under this FOA?
Answer 2:

Accreditation is not a factor for eligibility under this FOA. Per Section III (A) (2) “For-profit entities, educational institutions, and nonprofits that are incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the law of a particular State or territory of the United States are eligible to apply for funding as a Prime Recipient or Subrecipient.”

Question 3: Our patenting activities on "background inventions" would be running in parallel with new work, such as closely related development work we might propose to conduct in your program. Can we be assured that such improvement inventions, which would share scope with the funded program, wouldn't be considered "subject inventions" just because the inventor also was a principal worker on the award?
Answer 3:

Generally if a continuation in part patent application is filed as a result of work done within the scope of the cooperative agreement, that invention would be considered to be a subject invention and DOE would take rights in it. Practically, if the recipient elects to retain title to the invention, it will be required to substantially manufacture that particular invention to the U.S.

Question 4: Can the SSL Informational Webinar be watched as a recorded video?
Answer 4:

The webinar cannot be watch as a recorded video; however, the slides are available for download through the Exchange system. Please search for the FOA, and the slides will be available for download under the FOA Documents section.

Question 5: In the FOA there is no mention of a budget at the concept paper state. Is budgetary information necessary to include at this point in the application process?
Answer 5:

Budgetary information is not required for the concept paper phase of the application process. The purpose of the concept paper phase is to convey programmatic interest in the proposed project in an effort to help an applicant determine the value (time and expense) of preparing a full application for their approach. Evaluation criteria for the concept paper. are provided in Section IV.C.1 of the FOA and does not include evaluation of budget. Please also be mindful of the page limitation requirements, also found within the FOA.

Question 6: How is the light utilization parameter calculated? What is the difference between general and task utilization parameters?
Answer 6:

There is no standard measurement for light utilization. However, the table for the subtopic (and also in the Research and Development Plan) are meant to demonstrate improved delivery of general (ambient) or task level lumens over today's technology. The applicant must propose and justify target levels that are suitable for their proposed lighting application and show improvement over current state-of-the-art.

Question 7: I am a Canadian citizen. What are the stipulations pertaining to my eligibility under this FOA, as well as eligible partnerships?
Answer 7:

Per Section III(A)(3) of the FOA, "Foreign entities, whether for-profit or otherwise, are eligible to apply for funding under this FOA. Other than as provided in the "Individuals" or "Domestic Entities" sections above, all Prime Recipients receiving funding under this FOA must be incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States. If a foreign entity applies for funding as a Prime Recipient, it must designate in the Full Application a subsidiary or affiliate incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States to be the Prime Recipient. The Full Application must state the nature of the corporate relationship between the entity and domestic subsidiary or affiliate."

Question 8: For the OLED product opportunity, would products related to auto or aircraft applications be responsive to the FOA?
Answer 8:

Generally, this FOA is limited to general illumination applications. However, if the potential applicant feels auto or aircraft has a direct link to benefit general illumination applications, they can detail and defend that in their application. This should be done not just in the full application, but also in the concept paper discussions. As with other technical aspects of the application, it is up to the applicant to make the case and defend their position in the concept paper and full application.

Question 9: When you say, "Come up with your own metrics and defend them", does that mean all of the metrics or do we, at a minimum, have to address the metrics that are listed in the Research Development Plan (RDP)?
Answer 9:

Metrics of the RDP are meant to be general representative metrics/targets and are not always based on actual products. This is due to the many different configurations and approaches across the technology. Rather, they are meant to demonstrate the direction which DOE feels the industry needs to progress. Additionally, the metrics identified are those which the DOE feel are important to solving the specific technology problem (subtopic). It is expected that applicants would address one, multiple, or all of the metrics for a given subtopic depending upon the applicant's approach. Additionally, the applicant would be expected to provide their own metrics and targets deemed critical to achieving the overall goals of their approach. Ultimately, the applicant must propose and defend their metrics and targets in their application.

Question 10: Under Novel Luminaire, it only lists cobrahead and downlight under First Cost. Does that mean the awards are limited to projects that are intended to replace those two luminaire types?
Answer 10:

No. The metrics of the RDP are meant to be representative samples to be used as guides. In this case, the RDP identifies 2 common luminaires and the required cost reduction that would be required for full-scale penetration. However, the applicant may define and defend appropriate metrics for their approach and should compare/contrast to competing technologies for that application space. As a reminder, DOE is not looking for direct replacements under this subtopic, but rather novel luminaires architectures and form factors which take advantage of the unique attributes of LED technology.

Question 11: Is there a floor level of minimum amount required by DOE?
Answer 11:

No. There is no minimum level required by DOE; however, applications will be evaluated based on the reasonableness of the overall budget with respect to the proposed approach.

Question 12: For Subtopic B.6.4 - Novel LED Luminaire Systems - is a demonstration of fully working prototype luminaire with a minimum of 170 lm/W required by the end of the project? The FOA stated "acceptable approaches must detail a path to demonstrate..."
Answer 12:

Yes. It is anticipated that a laboratory prototype would be demonstrated by project end. Being a laboratory prototype, it is allowable to be a rough, unpolished prototype; however, that prototype should clearly demonstrate feasibility of a pathway to a resultant commercial product.

Question 13: Do the registration requirements found on Slide 50 of the SSL Informational Webinar presentation all apply to the concept paper? Or are they just required for the full application?
Answer 13:

The registration requirements listed on Slide 50 must be completed at different times during the application phases. Specifically for the concept paper, you must be registered in Exchange to submit a concept paper and obtain a control number at least 24 hours prior to the concept paper submission deadline. The remaining requirements and registrations must be completed prior to submitting a full application. It is recommended that these registrations be completed sooner than later to allow for any unforeseen technical difficulties during the registration process. Full details on all registration requirements can be found within the FOA.

Question 14: What is the process for requesting waivers for foreign entity participation as a prime recipient and/or waiver for performance of work in the United States? Should these be addressed in the concept paper or just the full application?
Answer 14:

To request a waiver of these requirements, the applicant must submit an explicit waiver request in the Full Application. Appendix C of the FOA lists the necessary information that must be included in a request to waive the requirements.

Question 15: Are there specific forms for the concept paper and full application?
Answer 15:

There are no forms for the concept paper phase. For details on the concept paper content, see Section IV.C. of the FOA. There are forms required for the full application. For details on the content and form of the full application, see Section IV.D. of the FOA.  Many of the required forms are available for download through the FOA Announcement in Exchange within the "Required Application Documents" portion of the announcement page.

Question 16: What is the preferred lumen level for the novel luminaire product?
Answer 16:

There is no specified lumen level output for the novel luminaire. Applicants must propose appropriate light levels for the lighting  application to which they are attempting to address.

Question 17: Does DOE have a preferred luminaire structure, like lightguide, suspended, or anything else?
Answer 17:

No. DOE has not identified preferred structures for this subtopic. Applicants should propose a luminaire that is novel and takes advantage of the unique attributes to the technology. In the evaluation stage, preference will be given to the application space which has the potential to save the most energy (based on installed units or efficiency improvements).

Question 18: What are the testing conditions to achieve the 170 lpw for warm white novel luminaire? Are there any requirements for color rendering index (CRI)?
Answer 18:

As a luminaire, testing should be conducted at actual operating temperature while under normal ambient conditions based on the proposed application space. There are no requirements for CRI. The applicant must propose and defend sufficient color quality metrics for the approach.

Question 19: Who is the FOA Manager?
Answer 19:

We do not provide individual contacts for the FOA. IF you have technical or administrative questions pertaining to this specific FOA, you should contact Questions will be routed to the appropriate individual(s) for response. For issues related to the registration and use of the Exchange system, contact

Question 20: Is there a cost share waiver for universities?
Answer 20:

No. There will be no cost share waivers for universities applying under this FOA. Per the FOA, the cost share variances are as follows:

Topic Areas 1 & 2: 20% of total allowable costs

Topic Areas 3 & 4: 25% of total allowable costs

Topic Areas 5&6: 50% of total allowable costs

Question 21: For manufacturing section M.L.1 - LED Luminaire Manufacturing, does this require that novel manufacturing methods be applied to a novel luminaire, or can it pertain to novel manufacturing methods that bring about greater manufacturing flexibility for existing lamp form factors to be used with existing luminaires (thus bringing about greater LED adoption)?
Answer 21:

Approaches applied to either novel or existing LED luminaires are acceptable for this subtopic.  According to the subtopic description, ideal approaches would benefits multiple products (manufacturing flexibility).

Question 22: Are supplemental graphs, charts, and other data included in the 3-page limit for the Technology Description? or may they add to that length? We currently have 3 pages of textual description, followed by a single page of graphs, charts, and other data.
Answer 22:

Any graphs, charts, and other supporting data ARE included in the page limitations set forth in Section IV.C- Content and Form of the Concept Paper. For the example given, you would need to incorporate the additional data (graphs, charts, etc) into the 3 page limitation for the technology description.

Question 23: When submitting the concept paper, it is asking for Federal and Non Federal Share amounts. Is this required and what is the definition of those terms?
Answer 23:

Federal share is the Federal financial contribution to the overall project value.  Non-federal share, known as cost share, is the financial contribution to the project by the team or other non-Federal sources.  Information regarding cost sharing can be found in section 3.B of the FOA document.  Note that the cost share percentage is determined by the specific area of interest to which the applicant is applying.  


Exchange requires preliminary financial numbers as part of the concept paper submission.   However, this is not a part of the evaluation for the concept papers.  Please provide your best reasonable estimate for the concept paper submission.  Note that a full detailed budget will become part of the full application. 

Question 24: We have recently submitted a concept paper to DE-FOA-0001364. Can we revise the budget at the time of the full submission or will the numbers need to be the same as reflected on the concept paper submission?
Answer 24: The budgetary numbers provided as part of the concept paper are considered a general budget.  You should provide a full and detailed budget as part of your full application submission according to the requirements of the funding opportunity announcement.  It is expected that this budget would change as you fully develop your technical approach, workplan, and team. 
Question 25: The FOA indicates a template for the SOPO can be found in EERE exchange; however, I am having trouble locating it. Can you please point me in the right direction?
Answer 25: The SOPO template was inadvertently excluded with the initial release of the funding opportunity. That has been corrected and the SOPO template is now available under the Required Application Documents of this specific funding opportunity.
Question 26: The general guidelines require us to include proprietary info in our detailed WBS, which I understand can be protected. The FOA indicates the SOPO should be no more than 5 pages, but the Work Plan instructions say the SOPO should contain a more detailed description of tasks. Since the SOPO should not include proprietary info, this seems contradictory. We are providing more detail in the WBS, and a more generic summary in the SOPO. Is this correct?
Answer 26:

The general guidelines do not specifically require the inclusion of proprietary information into the Work Plan.  It must be a determination made by the applicant as to whether the inclusion of this information is necessary to fully convey to the reviewers your knowledge, capabilities, and intentions.  The inclusion or exclusion of proprietary information into the application is entirely up to the applicant. 


Going from less detail to greater detail would be WBS > SOPO > Work Plan


The WBS is the specific tasking or framework to complete an objective often organized by related subtasks or sections.  For example:  Task 3.1.1 - Complete characterization …..  The WBS is the structure you would build your approach upon (after identifying a need).  The SOPO is the contractual language of a resulting award.  It supports the WBS by adding text to it.  The SOPO should be limited to defining what is being done and should not detail why or by whom it is being done.  A SOPO template is available under this opportunity in exchange.  The Work Plan of the application is the full technical discussion of your approach.  It goes beyond the WBS and SOPO by making a case for selection of the application.  The Work Plan discussion would now include the how’s, why’s, who’s, etc. to defend your approach in evaluation according to the evaluation criteria.

Question 27: Is a change to the Lead Institution/Prime Recipient allowed from the Concept Paper to the Full Application
Answer 27:

Yes. You are permitted to change the Lead Institution/Prime Recipient subject to the eligibility requirements of the funding opportunity.