ARPA-E Archived Funding Opportunities

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  DE-FOA-0001565 RHIZOSPHERE OBSERVATIONS OPTIMIZING TERRESTRIAL SEQUESTRATION (ROOTS) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) 6/1/2016 05:00 PM ET 9/8/2016 05:00 PM ET


Agricultural intensification has resulted in a ten-fold increase in crop yield over the past hundred years, but these advances have not occurred without costs: soils have eroded and soil quality has decreased, incurring a soil carbon debt equivalent to 65 ppm of atmospheric CO2. Increased fertilizer use causes the majority of the emissions of the greenhouse gas N2O, and drought stress increasingly threatens yields. Given the scale of domestic (and global) agriculture resources, there is great potential to reverse these trends by focusing plant breeding toward new cultivars with enhanced root systems to improve soil quality and improve biogeochemical cycling. Development of new root-focused cultivars could dramatically and economically reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations without decreasing agricultural yields.

To this end, the ARPA-E program, Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS), is pursuing technologies that increase the precision and throughput of crop breeding for improved root-soil biogeochemical function. ROOTS seeks to develop novel, non-destructive, field deployable technologies to:(1) measure root functional properties; (2) measure soil functional properties; and (3) advance predictive and extensible models that accelerate cultivar selection and development. These technologies—especially integrated systems—could greatly increase the speed and efficacy of discovery, field translation, and deployment of improved crops and production systems that significantly improve soil carbon accumulation and storage, decrease N2O emissions, and improve water efficiency. The aspiration of the ROOTS program is to develop crops that enable a 50% increase in carbon deposition depth and accumulation, a 50% decrease in fertilizer N2O emissions, and a 25% increase in water productivity. Taken over the 160 million hectares of actively managed U.S. cropland, such advances could mitigate ~10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) annually over a multi-decade period, while also improving the climate resiliency of U.S. agricultural production.


  • ROOTS FOA - Full Application Mod 02 - 07.25.2016 (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:08 PM ET)
  • ROOTS - Assessment of Potential Greenhouse Gas Mitigation from Changes to Crop Root Mass and Architecture (Last Updated: 4/12/2016 11:11 AM ET)

Previous Versions

  • ROOTS FOA - Concept Paper - 04.12.2016 (Last Updated: 4/12/2016 10:55 AM ET)
  • ROOTS FOA - Concept Paper Mod 01 - 05.25.2016 (Last Updated: 5/25/2016 03:39 PM ET)

Application Forms and Templates

The following forms and templates may be used as part of the application submission. Note that these forms and templates do not necessarily constitute all the documents required for a complete application. Please refer to the 'Application and Submission Information' of the published announcement to learn more about the required application content requirements.

Concept Paper

  • ROOTS - Concept Paper Template (Last Updated: 4/12/2016 11:04 AM ET)

Full Application

  • SF-424 (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:28 PM ET)
  • ROOTS - Technical Volume Template (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:29 PM ET)
  • ROOTS - Budget Justification/ SF-424A Workbook (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:32 PM ET)
  • Budget Justification/ SF-424A Workbook Guidance (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:34 PM ET)
  • Business Assurances & Disclosures Form - Template (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:34 PM ET)
  • Business Assurances & Disclosures Form - Sample (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:35 PM ET)
  • ROOTS Summary Slide Template (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:36 PM ET)
  • Summary for Public Release Template (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:36 PM ET)
  • ROOTS - Sensors, Modeling, Genetics, Soil Excel Workbook (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:39 PM ET)
  • Replies to Reviewer Comments Template (Last Updated: 7/25/2016 12:37 PM ET)

Contact Information

    Please contact the email address above for questions regarding ARPA-E’s online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANG
    Please contact the email address above for questions regarding Funding Opportunity Announcements. ARPA-E will post responses on a weekly basis to any questions that are received. ARPA-E may re-phrase questions or consolidate similar questions for administrative purposes.

Submission Deadlines

  • Concept Paper Submission Deadline: 6/1/2016 5:00 PM ET
  • Full Application Submission Deadline: 9/8/2016 5:00 PM ET
  • View Full Application Reviewer Comments Period: 10/19/2016 5:00 PM ET – 10/25/2016 5:00 PM ET