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Ocean Engineering and Marine Systems Planning Letters

Planning letters (also known as pre-proposals or concept papers) are designed to solicit the science and technology community at large. Submissions are desired that offer new and innovative investigations relevant to a number of Navy missions outlined below and according to the budget category under which support might be obtained.

The program's major thrusts are provided below and listed in more detail on the program page:

  • Ocean engineering
  • Mine warfare (mine countermeasures and naval mining)
  • Explosive ordnance disposal
  • Naval Special Warfare

The Planning Letter Process

What to Submit

Proposers are asked to submit a short description (not to exceed four typed pages including figures) of the applied research or advanced technology development effort you propose to undertake. The planning letter should describe the scientific and/or technical development to be pursued; the approach to be taken; connections to other ONR, Navy, DoD and civilian agency programs; and an estimate of the time and funds required to accomplish the objectives. The planning letter should be accompanied by up-to-date curriculum vitae of the principal investigator (PI), which does not count toward the four-page limit.

Where to Submit

Planning letters received via email are highly preferred. Submit the planning letter email to The subject header of all submissions should be "Planning Letter to OE--" with a very short title appended after the dashes. While not preferred, if you must submit a hard copy, please send to the mailing address of the Team Lead on the aforementioned webpage.

The Evaluation Process

The planning letter process is the first phase of the review process and will result in a reply of either encouragement or discouragement of formal submission of a full proposal. Research ideas are discussed among the relevant Ocean Engineering and Marine Systems team Program Officers and may be discussed and evaluated in coordination with other ONR teams if the subject matter appears to warrant such collaborations. Decisions to encourage or discourage a full proposal will be based on current program priorities, general and specific Navy relevance, innovativeness of proposed effort, potential impact of successful effort, and available funding.

Encouragement assures that the planning letter contains research of interest; however, it does not guarantee funding. It means the idea has made the first cut. Discouragement means the chances of funding at this time are low, and it is probably not worth the time to develop a full proposal. Another product of the planning letter process is the development of a dialogue between principal investigators / potential principal investigators and the naval community, which may result in new perspectives and ideas for application of emerging basic and applied research results to naval problems.

Submission Timeline

Planning letters for the upcoming fiscal year should be submitted in the March - May timeframe. While there is no hard deadline for the planning letters themselves, submission by May 31 will ensure feedback is given in time for potential full proposal generation and subsequent consideration for the forthcoming fiscal year. Planning letters received after May 31 will still receive full consideration; however, any positive recommendations for full proposal development could be delayed until the following fiscal year.

As always, full proposals may be submitted to ONR at any time and they will be given full consideration.