2022 Funding Opportunity

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO)-funded Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium is overseeing a funding opportunity for industry and academic partners to utilize ABF capabilities.

This funding opportunity provides resources to ABF teams to perform research on behalf of external, collaborating investigators, for developing novel microbial hosts, augmenting titer, rate and yield of bioproducts, and creating new capabilities & approaches to improve the Design-Build-Test-Learn biomanufacturing cycle.

Proposals will leverage the consortium’s world-class capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing, as identified by the successful applicants from industry and academia. Submissions should also clearly identify how the work addresses BETO goals of supporting the decarbonization of various industrial sectors, including development of sustainable bio-based products, sustainable aviation fuels, or other impacts in transportation.

This opportunity funds competitively-selected Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) between BETO laboratory consortia and partners from industry and academia. No less than $3M will be available for this call. We anticipate that approximately 4 projects will be selected with a project duration of up to two years.

Refer to the Agile BioFoundry FY22 Funding Opportunity Assistance Info and Instructions document for complete details, submission deadlines, and proposal template. Each applicant is required to submit a brief project abstract and subsequently participate in a conference call with the ABF team, ahead of submitting an application.

Please also see Frequently Asked Questions below.

Each applicant must participate in a 30 minute discussion with ABF’s principal investigators. Schedule your 30 minute discussion here. The scheduling tool will take the applicant to the abstract intake form. Applicants should provide an abstract well ahead of their scheduled discussion. This will allow the team to make the best use of the discussion time. Abstract submission and discussion with ABF lead investigators must take place by May 16th, 2022.

Proposals must be received no later than Friday, July 8th 2022 at 5 p.m. in the applicant’s time zone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants must submit their proposals by Friday, July 8th, 2022 at 5 p.m. PST. Reviewers will not consider submissions after that time; there is no appeals process. For proposals submitted on time, accompanied with the applicants’ acknowledgement of the application requirements, ABF will proffer a technical review for feasibility, commentary regarding ABF relevance, and other relevant information, which will accompany the application for external review. ABF has selected external reviewers for their subject matter expertise and their independence from (i.e. no conflicts of interest with) the applications to be reviewed. The external review sub-group will score and offer their written evaluations for each project proposal, based on its own merits. Once scores are normalized across external reviewer groups, the ABF will then select only from the ranked list of top-scoring projects that together constitute 1.5-fold of the available funds for the FY22 funding opportunity. Final decision-making will be based on ABF strategic priorities, project portfolio building, and resource availability at the ABF Labs that would perform the proposed work. The ABF will then communicate to all applicants the results of the proposal selection process, approximately three months after the submission deadline, including external reviewer feedback for all applicants, and next steps for selected applicants.

No. All awarded funds will be spent within the participating National Laboratories, with applicants directing  how resources and expertise within the ABF are applied within the collaboration.

Proposals should be well-aligned with the missions of DOE and ABF, supporting the growth and proliferation of the US biomanufacturing sector. Specifically, the project should support the mission of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO): Developing and demonstrating transformative and revolutionary sustainable bioenergy technologies for a prosperous nation. More information on BETO’s Strategic Plan can be found here.

While there are no special topics for this funding opportunity, applications should specifically reference capabilities that the Agile BioFoundry offers, for example (but not limited to) artificial intelligence, -omics analysis, microbial host onboarding and development, biosensor development, bioprocess engineering, and techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment. Refer to https://agilebiofoundry.org/capabilities/.

Applicants are expected to commit a minimum of 20% cost share. Example calculations:

  • Example of a project exceeding $2.0M total budget. The maximum DOE contribution is $2M. For a project with a total budget of $2.8M, for example, the applicant would need to contribute at least an $800K cost share. That is, $2M DOE contribute * 25% = $500K, a subtotal of $2.5M. The applicant would need to cover the remaining $300K, bringing their total required contribution to $800K.
  • Projects exceeding $2.5M total budget. The maximum DOE contribution is $2M. For a project with a total budget of $2.8M, for example, the applicant would need to contribute at least an $800K cost share.

Most substantive contributions to the project will count as cost share, such as but not limited to labor, travel, materials, equipment, organisms, enzymes, pathways, data, or direct funds in. The collaborating organization will submit periodic cost share reports to account against their cost share commitment. Cost-share may not be derived from U.S. Federal Government funding streams.

Yes. Each proposal should articulate the set of major tasks of the project, using the table provided in the template or via a similar format.

No, but the milestones should be used to enable proactive project management, with clearly defined goals, metrics, and timelines. This is likely to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Certain challenges and risks called out in the proposal, where the applicant identifies a risk as a potential impasse, may necessitate a go/no-go milestone. 

For all projects, per the non-negotiable CRADA terms, the successful applicant shall have the option to select from an exclusive license or a non-exclusive license to IP developed as part of the project. For details, please review the CRADA document here.

Preference will be given to proposals whose applicants are willing to share their findings (including data, lessons learned, developed methods and software, etc.) with future ABF projects.

Yes, feel free to email info@agilebiofoundry.org to ask general questions about the ABF or questions specifically regarding this funding opportunity. If you would like to arrange a phone call, please note this in your email.

The ABF team will add all funding opportunity-related questions, along with their answers, to this page as we receive them.

Microbial hosts that the ABF currently works with on a regular basis comprise the following:

  • Pseudomonas putida KT2440
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Rhodosporidium toruloides
  • Aspergillus pseudoterreus ATCC 32359
  • Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032
  • Clostridium carboxidivorans
  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Zymomonas mobilis
  • Clostridium tyrobutyricum
  • Acinetobacter baylyi  ADP1
  • Pichia kudriavzevii 
  • Clostridium ljungdahlii
  • Clostridium autoethanogenum 
  • Cupriavidus necator 
  • Bacillus sp.

The ABF is interested in expanding into work with additional hosts.

Yes, both of these capabilities are available at LBNL, NREL, and PNNL.


Applicants should add the following to their proposal: “We certify that _Applicant_Organization_Name_ will adhere to the outlined terms in the application instructions regarding Unique Lab Capabilities, Open Data Share, Cost Share, Agreements, Reporting, and Release of Information.”

Applicants must also acknowledge the funding opportunity program requirements, as part of the application process, by way of this form. All successful applicants must enter into the non-negotiable CRADA work agreement prior to project kickoff.

Please breakdown ABF resource estimates by National Lab.

No. The prescribed page limits include materials for applications. No appendices will be considered. The ABF neither encourages nor discourages letters of support and other similar documentation, but they must reside within the application page limits, as described in the application instructions.

Domestic academic institutions and incorporated companies are eligible to apply. For other cases, such as for entities based outside the United States, applicants should review eligibility guidelines typical to US Dept. of Energy Funding Opportunities (see recent example, Section III). Please contact the ABF at info@agilebiofoundry.org if your eligibility requires further clarification.

Proposals should be well-aligned with the missions of DOE and ABF, supporting the growth and proliferation of the U.S. biomanufacturing sector. As part of the proposal, each applicant should make the case for the appropriateness of this funding for the proposed project. See also BETO’s strategic plan.

No, ABF investigators you are already working with may participate on an ABF funding opportunity-based project, if their capabilities and available resources fit the needs of the proposed project.

Yes, with the following requirements: 1) the equipment must not be counted as contributions on any other federal award, 2) the equipment is not paid for by the federal government under another federal award, unless that equipment is exempt from being used as cost share under the federal award, 3) the value of loaned equipment must not exceed fair rental value. The collaborator should provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the cost share declaration, during execution of the project.

Help us better inform the entire community. The ABF will append answers to your funding opportunity-related questions here. Please contact us at info@agilebiofoundry.org.

The ABF is supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.