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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences Mr. lose D. Figueroa U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory 626 Cochran Mill Road Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940 Dear My. Figueroa: November 24,2003 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Phone: 202 334 2400 Fax: 202 334 3373 Attached please find ratings and associated summary technical assessments of proposals received from the Office of Fossil Energy and reviewed by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Committee on Novel Approaches to the Management of Greenhouse Gases from Energy Systems. The committee developed these ratings and summary assessments in a meeting held at the Reck Center of the National Academies on September 24-26, 2003. The membership of the committee, chaired by Dale F. Stein, Michigan Technological University (retired), is listed in Appendix A. Part of an activity supported by Grant No. DE-AT01-02FE67594 from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, this letter report is a follow-up to the committee's workshop report, published in April 2003,~ entitled "Novel Approaches to Carbon Management: Separation, Capture, Sequestration, and Conversion to Useful Products." PROCESS OF PROPOSAL REVIEW Review Criteria The committee established the following criteria, which were provided to prospective applicants in the solicitation itself, for assessing the scientific and technical merit of the proposals it reviewed: ~ . The scientific and technical merits of the proposed research · How novel or innovative is the scientific or technical approach? (20 points) · How significant is the science? (20 points) How likely is the proposed research to achieve the desired results? (10 points) 2. What is the perceived impact on reducing net carbon emissions within a reasonable time frame? (20 points) 3. The proposer's, principal investigator's, team leader's, or key personnel's qualifications, record of past performance, and related experience, facilities, or techniques, or a combination of these factors, that are integral to achieving the objectives of the proposed research. (20 points) 4. - The realism and reasonableness of the proposed project costs. (10 points) ~ The workshop was held February 12-14, 2003, in Irvine, CA at the National Academies' Arnold and Mabel Beckman Conference Center. This letter report is available at www.nap.edu. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES · NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING · INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE · NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
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The committee and NRC staff user! these criteria in each stage of the review process. Point values were assigned to the criteria as indicated above and were used in the external review phase and dunng the initial screening phase of the committee's review meeting. The point values were one of many factors integral to the committee's deliberative process. External Review Upon receiving the proposals from the Office of Fossil Energy, the NRC staff provided copies to external reviewers from industry, academia, and non-profit organizations.2 These individuals, chosen for their relevant expertise and experience, each provided written comments to the committee, typically on three to five proposals, based on the application of the above cnteria. Approximately 105 proposals were received across four categories of investigation (established at the committee's earlier workshop): (1) advanced separations techniques, (2) advanced subsurface technologies, (3) advanced geochem~cal methods, and (4) novel niches. Each proposal was reviewed by between one and five reviewers. One committee member was asked to act as lead reviewer for several proposals and was responsible for leading committee discussion and synthesizing written and oral comments for the proposals in that group. Committee members received concurrently with the external review process the proposals assigned to them. Conduct of the Committee's Review Meeting The committee met in Washington, D.C., September 24-26, 2003 (Appendix A indicates which members were in attendance).3 The committee divided itself into three separate groups (see Appendix B) to review three pools of applications apportioned into group I, group 4, and a combined pool of groups 2 and 3 in roughly equal numbers. Working within these three groups, the committee conducted an initial screening of the proposals to determine which had the highest merit with respect to all four criteria. The committee then reconvened in plenary session to consider the ranked proposals. The committee member with lead responsibility for each proposal summarized the underlying concept and commented on the proposal's strengths ant! weaknesses, after which the rest of the committee contributed their expertise in the form of questions and/or statements regarding the technical merits of the proposal and the investigators. The chair led these discussions to ensure that all committee members had an opportunity to contribute and that all proposals were given full and fair consideration. It was at this point that each proposal was assigned a rating according to the following system: . . Excellent proposal with a novel concept; excellent approach likely to High merit produce expected results . Moderate merit Good proposal with a novel concept; approach likely to produce expected results Low merit Proposal with a slightly novel concept; viability of approach uncertain and mav not produce the desired results ~ A 2 External reviewers were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. 3 At the start of the meeting, the committee established conflict-of-interest guidelines for the review under which committee members were required to disclose potential conflicts involving individuals and specific proposals (e.g., proposals from the committee member's home institution; close personal or professional relationship between the proposers and the committee member; consulting or other close professional relationship between the committee member and the proposers' Institution). Any such occurrences were dealt with by the committee member identif~rin~ his or her connection and being recused from all discussion of the particular proposal. ., ~ NATIONALACADEMYOF SCIENCES e NATIONALACADEMY OF ENGINEERING · INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE · NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL 2
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At the conclusion of the plenary session, the lead reviewers wrote summaries of the strengths and wealmesses of each proposal, informed by the discussion with the full committee. RESULTS Appendix C lists the proposals by rating high merit, moderate merit, or low merit. Proposals are identified by the number assigned by the NRC. The committee's consensus ratings and summary technical assessments, on a proposal-by- proposal basis, are provided in Appendix D. The committee understands that its assessment is only one of several considerations the Office of Fossil Energy will use in awarding grants. We hope that you will find this information useful as you make important funding decisions and manage your ongoing programs. We look forward to continued collaboration with you on this activity. Shy, / /~0 ( [, Peter D. r ~ / Executive Director Enclosures: Committee Roster (Appendix A) Committee Groups (Appendix B) List of Proposals with Rating (Appendix C) not available to the public Summary Assessments of Proposals (Appendix Knot available to the public NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES · NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING · INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE · NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL 3 r
Representative terms from entire chapter: