Frequently Asked Questions

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) were developed to help applicants and research administrators with commonly asked questions for the Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR) funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

NOTE: There is a lot of information on the Applicant and Awardee Resources page, including general Applicant FAQs, information on the Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plans, Institution Designations/Classifications, and more. This information is not repeated here.

Is my institution eligible for the FAIR FOA?

Non-R1 emerging research institutions (ERIs) and non-R1 minority serving institutions (MSIs) are eligible to lead an application. National labs, Office of Science user facilities, R1 MSIs, and R1 ERIs may partner with the lead applicant. Institution designations/classifications are posted here.

Can I submit multiple applications?

No. Each PI may submit one application. Applicant institutions are limited to three applications for each Office of Science program listed in Section I of the FOA.

What costs can I include in my application?

There is general information on the Applicant FAQs page. See also Guidance for Application Budget and Costs in Section I of the FOA.

How do I assess whether I should apply to RENEW or FAIR? Can I apply to both?

Both initiatives aim to increase the diversity of institutions participating in Office of Science (SC) research and to build relationships with institutions historically underrepresented in the SC research portfolio. The primary differences between the two initiatives are the goals of each. Training is the primary goal for RENEW, and applications to RENEW must include training activities beyond conduct of research. Whereas training is not the primary goal of FAIR which supports fundamental research to build research capacity, including infrastructure and expertise, at institutions historically underrepresented in the SC portfolio. However, research supported by FAIR may include support for students or postdoctoral researchers. Applicants may apply to one or both funding opportunities. However, the same application is unlikely to be relevant to both solicitations.

Is it better to propose a partnership with a lab, a user facility, or an R1 MSI?

Eligible institutions can select which institution to partner with based on the focus of the research. There is no preference for partnership with any particular institution.

How do I identify potential partners?

We have posted points of contact (POCs) for all DOE national laboratories and all 28 Office of Science User Facilities here. Eligible lead applicants (non-R1 emerging research institutions and non-R1 minority serving institutions) may contact the POCs to explore partnership opportunities for the FAIR FOA. When doing so, include a short description of the proposed research and potential partner investigator(s), if known.

What is the difference between the national labs and the user facilities?

A national laboratory is an institution that conducts research across a wide range of topics, working with different government agencies and industry. A user facility is a federally sponsored research facility available to external users to conduct experiments to advance scientific or technical knowledge.

My research sounds like it might fit in multiple programs/subprograms. Which one should I apply to?

Questions regarding the specific program areas/technical topics can be directed to the technical contacts listed within the FOA. If you are unsure if your research is applicable to a particular program, please reach out to the technical contact that your research most closely aligns with to discuss.

Can I exceed the budget ceiling in an application to buy critically needed equipment?

Applications requesting more than the budget ceiling ($800,000 total over three years) may be declined without further review.

Is it OK to partner with a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) from another agency?

Non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs are neither eligible to submit applications under this FOA nor to be proposed as subrecipients under another organization’s application. FFRDCs that permit unfunded collaboration may participate as unfunded team members.

Is there a limit on the number of co-investigators on a project?

All applications must be submitted on behalf of a lead institution and include a single partnering team institution. There are no limits on the number of investigators at the lead or partner institution.

Who should I contact for questions about budgets, eligibility, or similar topics?

Questions about budgets, eligibility, and similar topics should be directed to

I have a joint appointment. Am I eligible to apply?

PIs with multiple appointments are eligible to apply if their affiliated institution is eligible. If a PI has affiliation with multiple eligible institutions, they may select whichever they prefer to apply, but they are still restricted to one application. Work must be performed at the institution submitting the application.

What should the budget narrative include?

For all applications the budget narrative should go beyond stating the costs of the proposal and should provide an explanation and justification for the funding requests from all participants, including subawards to the non-lead institution, if relevant. This should include high level descriptions of the work being carried out and the level of effort needed to accomplish it at each institution in each year. Direct and indirect charges may be separated out for easier explanation. It should be clear to reviewers why in each budget period the work being done requires the budget being requested.

What are the financial restrictions on partner institutions?

Partner institutions must request between 15% and 25% of the total funding.

Is travel support allowed?

Yes. PIs should budget and request support for any travel necessary to carry out the proposed research. Additionally, applicants should anticipate travel to attend an annual PI meeting and request appropriate funding.

How should students be supported in the budget?

PIs should discuss options for student support with their Office of Sponsored Research, taking into consideration different employment categories, benefits, overhead rates, and financial aid restrictions associated with each option.

Can graduate students working on a FAIR research project apply to the Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSR)?

Please review the detailed eligibility requirements at If a FAIR award includes funding for extended travel for graduate students to do research at a DOE laboratory/facility, that same work cannot be supported by SCGSR. However, graduate students may apply to conduct thesis research at a different DOE laboratory/facility. Please contact if you have further questions.

The National Science Foundation format for biosketches has changed since the FOA was released. The biosketch no longer includes synergistic activities and there is no page limit. What should I include in my application?

The Office of Science will accept either the old or new biosketch format for FY 2024 applications. If you would like to use the new format, synergistic activities may be included in the Other Attachment Appendix. If included, each senior/key person is limited to one page of up to five distinct examples of synergistic activities that demonstrates the individual’s professional and scholarly activities that focus on the integration, transfer, and creation of knowledge as related to the application.