Planning Letter Submission

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Physical Oceanography team recognizes that the preparation of a full proposal is a time consuming and often costly proposition for the investigator. Before a full proposal is written, investigators are encouraged to write and submit planning letters for evaluation. These are not considered formal proposals but are informal communications.

Planning Letter Requirements

The planning letter in essence is an executive summary of the proposal you would like to write. It should:

  • Identify principal and co-investigators with full mailing and email addresses and phone numbers for each
  • Contain a two-page written synopsis or executive summary of the proposed research, identifying the contributions of each investigator. We recommend that the investigators highlight what is new, groundbreaking or innovative about the proposed effort, and not worry about justifying its relevance to the Navy
  • Provide a paragraph indicating the estimated level of funding per year (two year efforts are typical) and any unusual costs involved (ship, aircraft, computer, etc.)
  • Provide a page of references to the literature, as needed
  • Provide a one-page (maximum) résumé per investigator
  • Planning letters submitted for Departmental Research Initiatives should consider 3 years of base funding and 2 years additional, optional funding. These planning letters should use the naming convention suggested on the call for those planning letters so they are considered in context.

Electronic Submission

All planning letters should be submitted electronically. Files should be submitted in M.S. Word or as .pdfs, and each submission should use the file name convention of “LastName_PO18_PL.doc” for FY18 planning letters submitted to the core Physical Oceanography program. For example, an FY18 planning letter from a Jane Doe submitted to the Physical Oceanography program in Microsoft Word would become DOE_PO18_PL.doc. If submitting to a Departmental Research Initiative (DRI), please include the name of that DRI, for example CALYPSO_DOE_FY18_PL.doc.

  • All planning letters should be submitted by email to:
    Dr. Terri Paluszkiewicz (
    If you do not receive a thank you note within 10 working days, please follow-up with a resend.
  • Mail two paper copies to: Physical Oceanography Program, Code 322, Office of Naval Research, 875 North Randolph Street, Arlington, VA, 22203-1995

Submissions to other noted efforts (e.g., the Early Student Support Initiative) would use ESS18 rather than PO18. For example, an FY18 early student support planning letter submitted by John Doe should be named DOE_ESS18_PL.pdf. For multiple planning letters, please append a trailing number to the principal investigator's name (DOE1, DOE2, etc.)

Response to Planning Letters

The Physical Oceanography program will evaluate each planning letter and provide feedback to the investigator on the probability of success if submitted. This evaluation is based on general factors, such as a reading of where the topic falls relative to program priorities, rather than a full review of the scientific merit. Our response will be to either (1) encourage preparation of a full proposal or (2) discourage a proposal.

Point of Contact

Questions may be addressed to:

Dr. Theresa Paluszkiewicz
Office of Naval Research
Physical Oceanography Program, Code 322
Ocean, Atmosphere and Space Research Division
875 North Randolph Street
Arlington, VA 22203-1995
Email: Dr. Terri Paluszkiewicz (

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