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ODRD Concept Submission and Review Process

Faculty may submit proposed concepts (no more than 2 paragraphs) to their ORAU Councilor, or their Councilor’s proxy. Councilors vet concepts to ensure it meets the below requirements. Councilors, or their proxy, submit the concept through the ORAU Value through Partnerships External SharePoint Site.

Concepts are vetted against ODRD program requirements then matched with an internal ORAU Subject Matter Expert (SME). Jointly developed concepts then compete through the program phases.

  • Phase 1 funds a meeting to discuss the proposed project, to identify possible funding sources and outline roles and responsibilities.
  • Phase 2 funds a joint project producing "proof-of-concept"-type results leading to a white paper, conference presentation, and/or a technical publication with a clear proposal concept and identification of target funding sources.
  • Phase 3 funds preparation of a major joint proposal and results in submission of an external collaborative proposal.

After concept submission, ORAU reviews the concept for relevance and applicability to ORAU customer needs. ORAU will provide a disposition response to the submitting Councilor within 10 business days. If the concept aligns with ORAU needs and conversation results, the ORAU subject matter expert (SME) will lead development of a joint proposal with the faculty and become eligible to compete for subsequent Phases.


  1. Proposed concepts align with at least one of the following ORAU Core capability areas and focus on improving service to an ORAU customer:
    • Radiation detection/survey applications/modeling
    • Radiochemistry/mercury analyses
    • Health physics/radiation dosimetry
    • Beryllium LPTs/worker health
    • Data analytics/GIS applications
    • Epidemiology/exposure risk assessments
    • Safety culture/health communication
    • Atmospheric science
    • CO2 measurements
    • Nanotechnology related to emergency response
    • Emergency management/community resilience
    • REAC/TS radiation emergency/CBL techniques
    • Energy/nuclear small modular reactors
    • STEM Education & Workforce Development Program Evaluation & Impact
    • Logic Models & Longitudinal Studies
    • External Evaluation Studies of STEM Education Grant Proposals
    • Program/Project Survey Instruments
    • Information and knowledge management
    • Data Management Plans
    • Systematic Review of literature
    • Qualitative and Quantitative Research and Analysis
    • Peer Review Technology
  2. Proposed Concepts Consist of Partnership between Member Universities and ORAU.
    • Proposed concepts shall consist of partnerships between ORAU and member universities through Phase 2.
  3. ODRD projects should have potential to progress through Phase 3
    • Preliminary Discussion. Concepts which are well-aligned between ORAU capabilities and Member University research faculty result in an initial project conversation to explore concept development further.
      • Well-aligned concepts will be matched for further project discussion.
      • No funds awarded.
      • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Open for Continuous Submission
    • Phase 1: Meeting. After preliminary discussion, an exploratory project meeting is held between ORAU program staff and university partner to discuss the proposed project, identify possible funding sources, and outline roles and responsibilities. The outcome of the Phase 1 meeting will determine if the project will progress to Phase 2 or Phase 3 funding, or if the project scope requires revision.
      • Up to $5,000 in travel grant funds may be requested to conduct the exploratory meeting at ORAU or at the partner university (some restrictions apply; Universities travel for the meeting is paid by an ORAU travel grant and is based on University travel rules).
      • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Open for Continuous Submission
    • Phase 2: Joint ORAU/University Project. For Phase 2 competition, an ORAU-prepared application is submitted. Phase 2 projects are innovative research projects that enhance ORAU’s core scientific and technical competencies in partnership with a member university. The project should be achievable in 3 to 6 months, but no longer than 1 year, and is designed to produce "proof-of-concept"-type results leading to a white paper, conference presentation, and/or a technical publication with a clear proposal concept and identification of target funding sources.

    Criteria for Phase 2 Selection:

    Strengthens Competency of ORAU Program: Potential value of the enhanced service or product to our customers; strengthens technical differentiation/innovation of product/service that enhances our competitiveness, value added to ORAU by association with thought leaders.

    External Research Funding Potential: Preliminary identification of customer for unsolicited proposal or expected RFP and dollar value of the possible external third party award. Plans to submit an external proposal with a value above $1M will be viewed favorably.

    Strengthens Value Proposition for University Partner: Potential to build long-term collaboration between ORAU experts and university faculty; provides funded research support for student/faculty, university gains access to unique ORAU assets.

    Miscellaneous criteria: Technical viability of the proposed research approach, expands our thought leadership (e.g., team commits to peer-reviewed paper, technical presentation, etc.), appropriateness of the size of project to the time and budget available. Include any additional comments you believe should be considered.

      • Up to $75,000 to be shared between both partners; funds granted to Universities cover direct charges only (ODRD program support 3 awards per fiscal year)
      • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Joint ORAU/University submissions due by noon March 26, 2018; Funding awarded in April/May 2018
    • Phase 3: Joint Proposal. Support for preparation of a major joint proposal. Preliminary studies performed in one-year projects form the basis of external proposals for significant funding. Results in submission of an external collaborative proposal.
      • Funding support for preparation of a major joint proposal.
      • Funds based on need and as agreed upon.
      • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Open for continuous submission.
  4. Funding and Time commitments
    • The university will receive and process any awarded funds as Grants from a nonprofit foundation; without indirect or overhead charges.
    • The university works with the project’s timeline, as outlined in the Phase descriptions above.