Part Number: 1852

NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

1852.235-72 Instructions for responding to NASA Research Announcements.

1852.235-72 Instructions for responding to NASA Research Announcements.

As prescribed in 1835.070(c), insert the following provision:

Instructions for Responding to NASA Research Announcements (JUL 2016)

(a) General.

(1) Proposals received in response to a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) will be used only for evaluation purposes. NASA does not allow a proposal, the contents of which are not available without restriction from another source, or any unique ideas submitted in response to an NRA to be used as the basis of a solicitation or in negotiation with other organizations, nor is a pre-award synopsis published for individual proposals.

(2) A solicited proposal that results in a NASA award becomes part of the record of that transaction and may be available to the public on specific request; however, information or material that NASA and the awardee mutually agree to be of a privileged nature will be held in confidence to the extent permitted by law, including the Freedom of Information Act.

(3) NRAs contain programmatic information and certain requirements which apply only to proposals prepared in response to that particular announcement. These instructions contain the general proposal preparation information which applies to responses to all NRAs.

(4) A contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement may be used to accomplish an effort funded in response to an NRA. NASA will determine the appropriate award instrument. Contracts resulting from NRAs are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the NASA FAR Supplement. A grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement resulting from NRAs are subject to policies and procedures outlined in the Guidebook for Proposers Responding to a NASA Funding Announcement, 2 CFR part 1800, 14 CFR part 1274, or other agreement policy. Any proposal from a large business concern that may result in the award of a contract, which exceeds $5,000,000 and has subcontracting possibilities should include a small business subcontracting plan in accordance with the clause at FAR 52.219–9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan.

(Subcontract plans for contract awards below $5,000,000, will be negotiated after selection.)

(5) NASA does not have mandatory forms or formats for responses to NRAs; however, it is requested that proposals conform to the guidelines in these instructions. NASA may accept proposals without discussion; hence, proposals should initially be as complete as possible and be submitted on the proposers' most favorable terms.

(6) To be considered for award, a submission must, at a minimum, present a specific project within the areas delineated by the NRA; contain sufficient technical and cost information to permit a meaningful evaluation; be signed by an official authorized to legally bind the submitting organization; not merely offer to perform standard services or to just provide computer facilities or services; and not significantly duplicate a more specific current or pending NASA solicitation.

(b) NRA-Specific Items. Several proposal submission items appear in the NRA itself: the unique NRA identifier; when to submit proposals; where to send proposals; number of copies required; and sources for more information. Items included in these instructions may be supplemented by the NRA.

(c) The following information is needed to permit consideration in an objective manner. NRAs will generally specify topics for which additional information or greater detail is desirable. Each proposal copy shall contain all submitted material, including a copy of the transmittal letter if it contains substantive information.

(1) Transmittal letter or prefatory material.

(i) The legal name and address of the organization and specific division or campus identification if part of a larger organization;

(ii) A brief, scientifically valid project title intelligible to a scientifically literate reader and suitable for use in the public press;

(iii) Type of organization: e.g., profit, nonprofit, educational, small business, minority, women-owned, etc;

(iv) Name and telephone number of the principal investigator and business personnel who may be contacted during evaluation or negotiation;

(v) Identification of other organizations that are currently evaluating a proposal for the same efforts;

(vi) Identification of the NRA, by number and title, to which the proposal is responding;

(vii) Dollar amount requested, desired starting date, and duration of project;

(viii) Date of submission; and

(ix) Signature of a responsible official or authorized representative of the organization, or any other person authorized to legally bind the organization (unless the signature appears on the proposal itself).

(2) Restriction on use and disclosure of roposal information. Information contained in proposals is used for evaluation purposes only. Offerors or quoters should, in order to maximize protection of trade secrets or other information that is confidential or privileged, place the following notice on the title page of the proposal and specify the information subject to the notice by inserting an appropriate identification in the notice. In any event, information contained in proposals will be protected to the extent permitted by law, but NASA assumes no liability for use and disclosure of information not made subject to the notice.

Notice—Restriction on Use and Disclosure of Proposal Information

The information (data) contained in [insert page numbers or other identification] of this proposal constitutes a trade secret and/or information that is commercial or financial and confidential or privileged. It is furnished to the Government in confidence with the understanding that it will not, without permission of the offeror, be used or disclosed other than for evaluation purposes; provided, however, that in the event a contract (or other agreement) is awarded on the basis of this proposal the Government shall have the right to use and disclose this information (data) to the extent provided in the contract (or other agreement). This restriction does not limit the Government's right to use or disclose this information (data) if obtained from another source without restriction.

(3) Abstract. Include a concise (200–300 word if not otherwise specified in the NRA) abstract describing the objective and the method of approach.

(4) Project description. (i) The main body of the proposal shall be a detailed statement of the work to be undertaken and should include objectives and expected significance; relation to the present state of knowledge; and relation to previous work done on the project and to related work in progress elsewhere. The statement should outline the plan of work, including the broad design of experiments to be undertaken and a description of experimental methods and procedures. The project description should address the evaluation factors in these instructions and any specific factors in the NRA. Any substantial collaboration with individuals not referred to in the budget or use of consultants should be described. Subcontracting significant portions of a research project is discouraged.

(ii) When it is expected that the effort will require more than one year, the proposal should cover the complete project to the extent that it can be reasonably anticipated. Principal emphasis should be on the first year of work, and the description should distinguish clearly between the first year's work and work planned for subsequent years.

(5) Management approach. For large or complex efforts involving interactions among numerous individuals or other organizations, plans for distribution of responsibilities and arrangements for ensuring a coordinated effort should be described.

(6) Personnel. The principal investigator is responsible for supervision of the work and participates in the conduct of the research regardless of whether or not compensated under the award. A short biographical sketch of the principal investigator, a list of principal publications and any exceptional qualifications should be included. Omit social security number and other personal items which do not merit consideration in evaluation of the proposal. Give similar biographical information on other senior professional personnel who will be directly associated with the project. Give the names and titles of any other scientists and technical personnel associated substantially with the project in an advisory capacity. Universities should list the approximate number of students or other assistants, together with information as to their level of academic attainment. Any special industry-university cooperative arrangements should be described.

(7) Facilities and equipment. (i) Describe available facilities and major items of equipment especially adapted or suited to the proposed project, and any additional major equipment that will be required. Identify any Government-owned facilities, industrial plant equipment, or special tooling that are proposed for use. Include evidence of its availability and the cognizant Government points of contact.

(ii) Before requesting a major item of capital equipment, the proposer should determine if sharing or loan of equipment already within the organization is a feasible alternative. Where such arrangements cannot be made, the proposal should so state. The need for items that typically can be used for research and non-research purposes should be explained.

(8) Proposed costs (U.S. proposals only). (i) Proposals should contain cost and technical parts in one volume: do not use separate “confidential” salary pages. As applicable, include separate cost estimates for salaries and wages; fringe benefits; equipment; expendable materials and supplies; services; domestic and foreign travel; ADP expenses; publication or page charges; consultants; subcontracts; other miscellaneous identifiable direct costs; and indirect costs. List salaries and wages in appropriate organizational categories (e.g., principal investigator, other scientific and engineering professionals, graduate students, research assistants, and technicians and other non-professional personnel). Estimate all staffing data in terms of staff-months or fractions of full-time.

(ii) Explanatory notes should accompany the cost proposal to provide identification and estimated cost of major capital equipment items to be acquired; purpose and estimated number and lengths of trips planned; basis for indirect cost computation (including date of most recent negotiation and cognizant agency); and clarification of other items in the cost proposal that are not self-evident. List estimated expenses as yearly requirements by major work phases.

(iii) Allowable costs are governed by FAR part 31 and the NASA FAR Supplement part 1831.

(iv) Use of NASA funds—NASA funding may not be used for foreign research efforts at any level, whether as a collaborator or a subcontract. The direct purchase of supplies and/or services, which do not constitute research, from non-U.S. sources by U.S award recipients is permitted. Additionally, in accordance with the National Space Transportation Policy, use of a non-U.S. manufactured launch vehicle is permitted only on a no-exchange-of-funds basis.

(9) Security. Proposals should not contain security classified material. If the research requires access to or may generate security classified information, the submitter will be required to comply with Government security regulations.

(10) Current support. For other current projects being conducted by the principal investigator, provide title of project, sponsoring agency, and ending date.

(11) Special matters. (i) Include any required statements of environmental impact of the research, human subject or animal care provisions, conflict of interest, or on such other topics as may be required by the nature of the effort and current statutes, executive orders, or other current Government-wide guidelines.

(ii) Identify and discuss risk factors and issues throughout the proposal where they are relevant, and your approach to managing these risks.

(iii) Proposers should include a brief description of the organization, its facilities, and previous work experience in the field of the proposal. Identify the cognizant Government audit agency, inspection agency, and administrative contracting officer, when applicable.

(d) Renewal proposals.

(1) Renewal proposals for existing awards will be considered in the same manner as proposals for new endeavors. A renewal proposal should not repeat all of the information that was in the original proposal. The renewal proposal should refer to its predecessor, update the parts that are no longer current, and indicate what elements of the research are expected to be covered during the period for which support is desired. A description of any significant findings since the most recent progress report should be included. The renewal proposal should treat, in reasonable detail, the plans for the next period, contain a cost estimate, and otherwise adhere to these instructions.

(2) NASA may renew an effort either through amendment of an existing contract or by a new award.

(e) Length. Unless otherwise specified in the NRA, effort should be made to keep proposals as brief as possible, concentrating on substantive material. Few proposals need exceed 15–20 pages. Necessary detailed information, such as reprints, should be included as attachments. A complete set of attachments is necessary for each copy of the proposal. As proposals are not returned, avoid use of “one-of-a-kind” attachments.

(f) Joint proposals.

(1) Where multiple organizations are involved, the proposal may be submitted by only one of them. It should clearly describe the role to be played by the other organizations and indicate the legal and managerial arrangements contemplated. In other instances, simultaneous submission of related proposals from each organization might be appropriate, in which case parallel awards would be made.

(2) Where a project of a cooperative nature with NASA is contemplated, describe the contributions expected from any participating NASA investigator and agency facilities or equipment which may be required. The proposal must be confined only to that which the proposing organization can commit itself. “Joint” proposals which specify the internal arrangements NASA will actually make are not acceptable as a means of establishing an agency commitment.

(g) Late proposals. Proposals or proposal modifications received after the latest date specified for receipt may be considered if a significant reduction in cost to the Government is probable or if there are significant technical advantages, as compared with proposals previously received.

(h) Withdrawal. Proposals may be withdrawn by the proposer at any time before award. Offerors are requested to notify NASA if the proposal is funded by another organization or of other changed circumstances which dictate termination of evaluation.

(i) Evaluation factors. (1) Unless otherwise specified in the NRA, the principal elements (of approximately equal weight) considered in evaluating a proposal are its relevance to NASA's objectives, intrinsic merit, and cost.

(2) Evaluation of a proposal's relevance to NASA's objectives includes the consideration of the potential contribution of the effort to NASA's mission.

(3) Evaluation of its intrinsic merit includes the consideration of the following factors of equal importance:

(i) Overall scientific or technical merit of the proposal or unique and innovative methods, approaches, or concepts demonstrated by the proposal.

(ii) Offeror's capabilities, related experience, facilities, techniques, or unique combinations of these which are integral factors for achieving the proposal objectives.

(iii) The qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the proposed principal investigator, team leader, or key personnel critical in achieving the proposal objectives.

(iv) Overall standing among similar proposals and/or evaluation against the state-of-the-art.

(4) Evaluation of the cost of a proposed effort may include the realism and reasonableness of the proposed cost and available funds.

(j) Evaluation techniques. Selection decisions will be made following peer and/or scientific review of the proposals. Several evaluation techniques are regularly used within NASA. In all cases proposals are subject to scientific review by discipline specialists in the area of the proposal. Some proposals are reviewed entirely in-house, others are evaluated by a combination of in-house and selected external reviewers, while yet others are subject to the full external peer review technique (with due regard for conflict-of-interest and protection of proposal information), such as by mail or through assembled panels. The final decisions are made by a NASA selecting official. A proposal which is scientifically and programmatically meritorious, but not selected for award during its initial review, may be included in subsequent reviews unless the proposer requests otherwise.

(k) Selection for award.

(1) When a proposal is not selected for award, the proposer will be notified. NASA will explain generally why the proposal was not selected. Proposers desiring additional information may contact the selecting official who will arrange a debriefing.

(2) When a proposal is selected for award, negotiation and award will be handled by the procurement office in the funding installation. The proposal is used as the basis for negotiation. The contracting officer may request certain business data and may forward a model award instrument and other information pertinent to negotiation.

(l) Additional guidelines applicable to foreign proposals and proposals including foreign participation.

(1) NASA welcomes proposals from outside the U.S. However, foreign entities are generally not eligible for funding from NASA. Therefore, unless otherwise noted in the NRA, proposals from foreign entities should not include a cost plan unless the proposal involves collaboration with a U.S. institution, in which case a cost plan for only the participation of the U.S. entity must be included. Proposals from foreign entities and proposals from U.S. entities that include foreign participation must be endorsed by the respective government agency or funding/sponsoring institution in the country from which the foreign entity is proposing. Such endorsement should indicate that the proposal merits careful consideration by NASA, and if the proposal is selected, sufficient funds will be made available to undertake the activity as proposed.

(2) All foreign proposals must be typewritten in English and comply with all other submission requirements stated in the NRA. All foreign proposals will undergo the same evaluation and selection process as those originating in the U.S. All proposals must be received before the established closing date. Those received after the closing date will be treated in accordance with paragraph (g) of this provision. Sponsoring foreign government agencies or funding institutions may, in exceptional situations, forward a proposal without endorsement if endorsement is not possible before the announced closing date. In such cases, the NASA sponsoring office should be advised when a decision on endorsement can be expected.

(3) Successful and unsuccessful foreign entities will be contacted directly by the NASA sponsoring office. Copies of these letters will be sent to the foreign sponsor. Should a foreign proposal or a U.S. proposal with foreign participation be selected, NASA's Office of External Relations will arrange with the foreign sponsor for the proposed participation on a no-exchange-of-funds basis, in which NASA and the non-U.S. sponsoring agency or funding institution will each bear the cost of discharging their respective responsibilities.

(4) Depending on the nature and extent of the proposed cooperation, these arrangements may entail:

(i) An exchange of letters between NASA and the foreign sponsor; or

(ii) A formal Agency-to-Agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

(m) Cancellation of NRA. NASA reserves the right to make no awards under this NRA and to cancel this NRA. NASA assumes no liability for canceling the NRA or for anyone's failure to receive actual notice of cancellation.