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  /  White Paper Submission Format

White Paper Submission Format

Format for White Paper

Your White paper should be divided into the sections described below and listed in the order in which they should appear. Some of the sections are optional. Please limit to seven (7) pages using a font no less than 11 points in size.

Cover Page

The cover page must include:

  • Title, preferably in a large, bold font;
  • Name and address of the principal investigator’sorganization and its “type” (e.g., for profit, non-profit, educational, small business, minority owned, historically black college or university, minority institution, federal demonstration project participant, etc.);
  • The statement “White Paper”;
  • Principal investigator’s name and contact information (address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, etc.);
  • Co-investigators’ names, institutions and contact information;
  • Date of submission;
  • Statement that the document contains proprietary information (optional).

Principal Investigator Background

Include a statement attesting to the expertise and background of the principal investigator and organization. It should be limited to half a page.

Short Statement of the Work

Include a statement of work (SOW) concisely detailing the scope and objectives of the effort and the technical approach. It should be limited to half a page.

Problem Statement

In this section the principal investigator answers the question, “What is the system-level problem to be solved and why is it important?” It needs only be a paragraph stating the problem and the possible military benefit (new or improved capability) if a solution is found. Half a page should be sufficient.

Technical Background

This section provides the broader context in which the white paper is being submitted, providing an elaboration of the problem statement and military benefits stated in the previous section (Problem Statement). It may include a historical overview of the problem with respect to a current system capability performance shortfall, previous approaches to solving the problem that either provided the current capability or failed to provide a needed capability, and a brief explanation of any current line of research that promises a solution. This section may require more than one page.

References should be cited if they can provide additional background. Of particular value are reports describing test and evaluation (T&E) trials of developing or in-fleet systems that document a specific system performance shortfall, or a concept-of-operations study that quantifies the gain from a hypothesized new system or an improved capability in an existing system.

Technical Objectives

In this section the principal investigator answers questions such as, “What is the nature of the solution to be provided?” or “What specific technologies are needed?” It lists general technical objectives that collectively will provide a solution to the system-level problem stated above (Problem Statement) and describes how they will provide either a new or improved military capability (new system or an improved current system). It is helpful to include the basic hypotheses and assumptions that underpin each objective. This section should require one page at most.

Technical Challenges

In this section the principal investigator answers questions such as, “What are the specific technologies to be developed?” or “What are the specific difficulties to be encountered?” It lists the technical hurdles that must be overcome to meet the technical objectives, identifying the ones that are the most important or the most difficult. This section should require one page at most.

Technical Approach

In this section the principal investigator answers the question, “What is the plan of work?” It contains an outline of a general schedule of work broken down into logical units that will resolve the technical challenges and meet the technical objectives. This section should require no more than one page.

The work should be organized into several tasks, each related to a specific objective or set of objectives, each lasting for a specified length of time. Tasks can be performed sequentially or simultaneously. Significant events (e.g., a field test, the construction of piece of equipment) and milestones (e.g., the delivery of software, the completion of a task, submission of a report) should be identified for each task. Each task should be described by a separate paragraph with its events and milestones listed as bullets.

If the proposed project will include performers from, or be coordinated with, projects at other organizations, describe the work that will be executed by those organizations.


List tangible products the proposed project will produce. In the case of a basic research project, the deliverable may simply be a final report or a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Transitions (optional)

Identify potential transitions of deliverables to current Navy programs or systems, if any. State the program or system’s name and related Navy sponsoring organization. If there are no specific transition opportunities—this may be the case in a basic-research project – a statement such as “No planned transitions” is acceptable. This section should require no more than one page.

Related Projects (optional)

List related ONR-funded projects, if known. Summarize each project in one or two

sentences. Do not include projects that will share or otherwise collaborate on tasks, as these are to be listed under Technical Approach. This section should require less than a page.