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Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS)

Post Date

April 12th 2016

Application Due Date

May 26th 2016

The submission deadline for Concept Papers is May 26, 2016

Funding Opportunity Number


CFDA Number(s)


Funding Instrument Type(s)

Cooperative Agreement

Funding Activity Categories

Science and Technology and other Research and Development

Number of Awards


Eligibility Categories


See FOA Section III.A. for information on eligible applicants


  • Estimated Total Funding:


  • Award Range:

    $250000 - $10000000

Grant Description

Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) Agency Overview: The Advanced Research Projects Agency _ Energy (ARPA-E), an organization within the Department of Energy (DOE), is chartered by Congress in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-69), as amended by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358) to: Я(A) to enhance the economic and energy security of the United States through the development of energy technologies that result in└ (i) reductions of imports of energy from foreign sources; (ii) reductions of energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; and (iii) improvement in the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; and (B) to ensure that the United States maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.Н ARPA-E issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) under the programmatic authorizing statute codified at 42 U.S.C. _ 16538. The FOA and any awards made under this FOA are subject to 2 C.F.R. Part 200 as amended by 2 C.F.R. Part 910. ARPA-E funds research on and the development of high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. The agency focuses on technologies that can be meaningfully advanced with a modest investment over a defined period of time in order to catalyze the translation from scientific discovery to early-stage technology. For the latest news and information about ARPA-E, its programs and the research projects currently supported, see: Program Overview: 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. To obtain a copy of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) please go to the ARPA-E website at ARPA-E will not review or consider concept papers submitted through other means. For detailed guidance on using ARPA-E eXCHANGE, please refer to the ARPA-E eXCHANGE User Guide (

Contact Information

  • Agency

    Department of Energy

  • Office:

    Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy

  • Agency Contact:

    ARPA-E Contracting Officer

  • Agency Mailing Address:


  • Agency Email Address:

  • More Information:

    ARPA-E eXchange

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