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04-01
Grant Information Circular



January 26, 2004
STANDARD ANNOUNCEMENT FORMAT FOR NASA ANNOUNCEMENTS OF
GRANT AND COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

PURPOSE: (1) To require use of the standard announcement format for announcements of grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunities; and (2) to provide clarification and additional guidance on the use of the standard announcement format.

BACKGROUND:
(a) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a policy directive, "Financial Assistance Program Announcements", on June 23, 2003, to establish a standard announcement format for Federal agency announcements of funding opportunities under programs that award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements. The format is designed so that similar types of information will appear in the same sections in announcements of different Federal funding opportunities. A government-wide format will help potential applicants more easily and quickly find the information they need about Federal opportunities. Toward that end, there is text in each of the format's sections to describe the types of information that an agency would include in that section of an actual announcement. The Federal awarding agencies jointly developed this format as part of their grant streamlining efforts to implement the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999.

(b) This standard format applies to all NASA announcements of funding opportunities under programs that may award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements. Separate guidance will be issued for NASA Research Announcements (NRAs) in the form of a Procurement Informational Circular (PIC). All regulatory revisions to incorporate the standard announcement format will be completed by July 23, 2004.

(c) The standard announcement format and guidance is enclosed.

GUIDANCE:
The following questions and answers provide for additional clarifications.

(1) Question: What is an announcement and how is it different than a synopsis?

Answer: In the context of this GIC, an announcement refers to a solicitation used to announce grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunities. A synopsis is a notice of proposed contract actions and/or a notice of grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunity published in the Government-wide points of entry (GPE), currently FedBizOpps and Grants.gov. The standard format applies to announcements (including NRAs) and does not address the format or content of synopses.

(2) Question: Does the standard announcement format apply to all BAAs?

Answer: The standard announcement format applies to all BAAs except for Announcements of Opportunity (AOs). The format for AOs is addressed in NFS Part 1872, "Acquisitions of Investigations". The decision was made to apply the standard announcement format to NRAs and CANs and not AOs because NRAs and CANs typically result in the award of grants and cooperative agreements while AOs typically result in the award of contracts.

(3) Question: Does the standard announcement format apply to announcements issued at NASA Centers?

Answer: Yes. The requirement to implement the standard announcement format applies across the Federal Government. The standard announcement format applies to all NASA announcements for grants and cooperative agreements, including announcements issued at NASA Headquarters and at NASA Centers.

(4) Question: Is the standard announcement format applicable to NRAs?

Answer: Yes. A Procurement Informational Circular will be issued to address the standard announcement format as it applies to NRAs.

(5) Question: Is the standard announcement format applicable to Cooperative Agreement Notices (CANs)?

Answer: Yes. Use the standard announcement format in this GIC for CANs.

(6) Question: If an announcement is currently in the coordination cycle, must the announcement be restructured?

Answer: No. Restructuring the announcement during the coordination cycle may adversely affect the acquisition schedule. The standard announcement format is required for (1) all new announcements that are initiated on or after publication of this GIC and (2) announcements that are being drafted, but have not yet reached the concurrence or review cycle.

(7) Question: How is NASA's standard announcement format for grants and cooperative agreements different than the standard announcement format issued by OMB in the Federal Register?

Answer: In most respects, NASA's standard announcement format is the same as the format issued by OMB in the Federal Register. There are a few differences. Specific NASA requirements are inserted throughout the format: for example, the NASA Safety Statement is added. The NASA format includes additional guidance to assist the writer of the announcement. For example, the OMB format states: "If the funding opportunity is subject to Executive Order (EO) 12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,' you must say so". The NASA format includes a discussion of when this Executive Order applies and how to find the text of the Executive Order on the Internet. Another change is that the NASA format deletes any requirements that are not applicable to NASA. For example, since NASA does not publish announcements in the Federal Register, that portion of the OMB format that addresses publication in the Federal Register is deleted from the NASA format.

(8) Question: Is the writer of the announcement permitted to add any information that is not covered in the standard announcement format?

Answer: Yes. If the writer of the announcement needs to include information on a subject that the format does not specifically discuss, the writer may address that subject in whatever section(s) is most appropriate. Please note that the standard announcement format was written with much flexibility, and in most cases, there is a logical section in the format to include the information.

(9) Question: Which sections of the standard announcement format are required and which sections are optional?

Answer: Each section is marked "Required" or "Optional". Within each section, the terms "must", and "shall" denote required sections. Use of the terms "should", "may", or "can" implies that the writer has discretion in including the information.

(10) Question: Why are there references to the "Guidebook for Proposers Responding to NASA Research Announcements (NRAs) (Guidebook)" throughout the standard announcement format?

Answer: This Guidebook is not directly applicable to applicants for grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunities (other than NRAs): however, the Guidebook has standard information that can be applied to announcements (i.e. the NASA mission and vision, and instructions on certifications and assurances). Writers of announcements can "cut and paste" applicable portions of the Guidebook into their announcements and tailor this information to their unique circumstances, or include references to the applicable portions of the Guidebook in their announcements.


EFFECTIVE DATE: This GIC is effective as dated and shall remain in effect until canceled or superseded.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACTS: Suzan P. Moody, Code HK, (202) 358-0503, email: Suzan.P.Moody@nasa.gov.


Tom Luedtke
Assistant Administrator for Procurement


GIC 04-01 Enclosure

Standard Announcement Format for NASA Announcements of
Grant and Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunities

This document is a uniform format for Federal agencies' announcements of funding opportunities under which discretionary awards of grants or cooperative agreements may be made. The format has two parts, the first part provides overview information, and the second part includes the full text of the announcement.

With respect to electronic methods for providing information about funding opportunities or accepting applicants' submissions of information, NASA is responsible for compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Therefore, ensure that all Internet sites referenced in NASA announcements are Section 508 compliant, current, and accessible.

Overview Information

(a) Required Overview Content. Display prominently the following information, in the sequential order shown, in a location preceding the full text of the announcement:

     (1) Federal Agency Name (Required). The Federal agency name is "NASA". Also include the specific office(s) within NASA that are involved in the funding opportunity. This specific office(s) may include a Headquarters Enterprise, NASA Center, and/or NASA Program Office, for example "NASA Headquarters, Office of Education".

     (2) Funding Opportunity Title (Required). Include the program name if the program name is not referenced in the Funding Opportunity Title. This section can also include a description of the type of announcement, for example: "Fellowship Grant", "Training Opportunity"; or "Cooperative Agreement Notice".

     (3) Announcement Type (Required). Indicate whether this is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity or a modification of a previously announced opportunity. If the announcement modifies a previous announcement, provide the date of that announcement, and identify the portions that are being modified. Note that a modification of an announcement does not need to include all of the sections of the full announcement text. This section may also include an Internet address where the original announcement is located. NASA announcements are posted on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS) site, located here. Some announcements may also be posted on NASA's "Research Opportunities Online" site, located at: http://research.hq.nasa.gov/research.cfm.

     (4) Funding Opportunity Number (Required, if applicable). If the NASA organization issuing the announcement assigns a number to their announcements, include the announcement number in this section. If this announcement modifies a previous announcement, provide the number of the previous announcement. Each NASA organization has its own procedures for numbering their announcements. (Note: The Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook will soon be updated to include a numbering scheme for announcements of grants and cooperative agreements.)

     (5) Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s) (Required). NASA has been granted an exemption to this requirement through assignment of a placeholder code and title. State: "00.000" (meaning "non-applicable") in this section.

     (6) Dates (Required). List the key dates for potential applicants. Key dates can include due dates for the following: advanced notices; Executive Order 12372 submissions; proposals; and/or the projected selection date or selection time frame. For announcements issued before a program's proposal materials are available, include the date on which those materials will be released.

(b) Optional, Additional Overview Content. Following the required overview information described in paragraph a, "Required Overview Content", present any optional overview information in a sequential order that parallels the organization of the full text of the announcement. Examples of overview information that could help potential applicants decide whether to read the full announcement are: a concise description of the funding opportunity; the total amount to be awarded; the anticipated amounts and/or numbers of individual awards; the types of instruments that may be awarded (grants and/or cooperative agreements); what types of organizations are eligible to apply; whether cost sharing is required; a breakdown of the estimates by subject area; and any limitations on the numbers of proposals that each applicant may submit. This section may also include other information that could later help applicants more quickly and easily find what they need: for example, where to obtain proposal materials. (Note: Not all categories of overview information will be applicable to every announcement.)

(c) Method of Presentation. The summary information in paragraphs a., "Required Overview Content" and b., "Optional, Additional Overview Content" above may be presented in: (1) an Executive Summary format or a (2) Cover and/or Inside Cover format. The NASA program may choose which format to use.

     (1) Executive summary. The announcement may include an executive summary before the full text of the announcement. Especially for announcements that are long (25 pages or more in length) or complex, consider including an executive summary with at least the required overview information described above in Overview Information, paragraph a., "Required Overview Content", as well as any additional information described in Overview Information, paragraph b, "Optional, Additional, Overview Content". The executive summary must be concise and generally should not exceed two pages. The purpose of the executive summary is to provide an overview of the funding opportunity. The executive summary is similar to the "Summary of Solicitation" and "Introduction and Background" sections that were used in previous announcement formats.

     (2) Cover and/or Inside Cover. The Cover and/or Inside Cover format is an alternative to the executive summary format. This format provides at least the required overview information described above in Overview Information, paragraph a., "Required Overview Content" on the cover and/or inside cover of the announcement. The cover and/or inside cover is the first screen a potential applicant would see in the case of an electronic announcement. Generally this option is used for announcements that are brief, more straightforward and not complex.

Full Text of the Announcement

(a) The full text of the announcement is organized in sections. The format indicates immediately following the title of each section whether that section is required in every announcement or is optional. The format is designed so that similar types of information will appear in the same sections in announcements of different Federal funding opportunities. Toward that end, there is text in each of the format's sections to describe the types of information that NASA would include in that section of the actual announcement.

(b) A NASA program needing to include information on a subject that the format does not specifically discuss may address that subject in whatever section(s) is most appropriate. For example, if NASA chooses to address performance goals in the announcement, NASA might do so in the funding opportunity description, the proposal content, or the reporting requirements.

(c) Similarly, when this format calls for a type of information to be in one particular section, a NASA program needing to address that subject in other sections may elect to use cross-references between the sections. There should be hyperlinks for cross-references in any electronic versions of the announcement.

(d) NASA issues a "Guidebook for Proposers Responding to NASA Research Announcements" (hereafter referred to as the "Guidebook"), located at: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/nraguidebook/. While this Guidebook is not usually applicable to announcements of grant and cooperative agreement funding opportunities, this Guidebook includes information useful to the writer of an announcement. If a writer of an announcement wishes to include information from this Guidebook into their announcement, the writer either (1) copy information from the Guidebook into the announcement and tailor the information to the announcement; or (2) refer to the applicable section of the Guidebook in the announcement.

(e) The sections of the full text of the announcement are described in the following paragraphs.

I. Funding Opportunity Description (Required). This section contains the full programmatic description of the funding opportunity. This section may be as long as needed to adequately communicate to potential applicants the areas in which funding may be provided. This section describes NASA's funding priorities, and/or the focus areas in which NASA intends to provide assistance. As appropriate, this section may include any program history: for example, whether this is a new program or a new or changed area of program emphasis. This section may communicate indicators of successful projects (for example, if the program encourages collaborative efforts), and may include examples of projects that have been funded previously. This section can also discuss the mission and strategic goals of NASA and the organization issuing the announcement. For further information on NASA's mission, vision, and strategic goals, refer to NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 1000.1, "NASA Strategic Plan", located at: http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/library/main_lib.html. The NASA Homepage at: http://www.nasa.gov includes links to NASA's many interests and programs. Any education and/or public outreach responsibilities must be identified. A table describing the roles and responsibilities of each organization involved in the funding opportunity may be helpful. This section also may include other information the agency deems necessary, such as citations for authorizing statutes and regulations peculiar to the funding opportunity.

     (1) This section shall include the following statement: "Safety is the freedom from those conditions that can cause death, injury, occupational illness, damage to or loss of equipment or property, or damage to the environment. NASA's safety priority is to protect: (1) the public, (2) astronauts and pilots, (3) the NASA workforce (including employees working under NASA award instruments), and (4) high-value equipment and property."

     (2) The following statement shall be included when the announcement is issued before funds are available: "Funds are not currently available for awards under this announcement. The Government's obligation to make award(s) is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds from which payment can be made and the receipt of proposals that NASA determines are acceptable for award under this announcement."

II. Award Information (Required). Provide sufficient information to help an applicant make an informed decision about whether to submit a proposal. Relevant information could include the total amount of funding that NASA expects to award through the announcement; the anticipated number of awards; the expected amounts of individual awards (which may be a range); the amount of funding per award, on average, experienced in previous years; and the anticipated start dates and periods of performance for new awards. (Please note that every award information category does not apply to every announcement.) This section also must address whether proposals for renewal or supplementation of existing projects are eligible to compete with proposals for new awards. This section may indicate the type(s) of assistance instrument (grant and/or cooperative agreement) that may be awarded if proposals are successful. If cooperative agreements may be awarded, this section either must describe the "substantial involvement" that the agency expects to have or should reference where the potential applicant can find that information: for example, in Section I, "Funding Opportunity Description", or Section VI, "Award Administration Information". This section must also indicate whether procurement contracts may be awarded.

III. Eligibility Information. This section addresses considerations or factors that make an applicant or proposal eligible or ineligible for consideration. This includes the eligibility of particular types of applicant organizations, any factors affecting the eligibility of the principal investigator or project director, and any criteria that make particular projects ineligible. This section must make clear whether an applicant's failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of a proposal deadline will result in NASA returning the proposal without review or, even though a proposal may be reviewed, will preclude the agency from making an award. Key elements to be addressed are:

     (1) Eligible Applicants (Required). This section must clearly identify the types of organizations that are eligible to apply. If there are no restrictions on eligibility, this section may simply indicate that all potential applicants are eligible. If there are restrictions on eligibility, it is important to be clear about the specific types of entities that are eligible, not just the types that are ineligible. For example, if the program is limited to non-profit organizations subject to Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code, this section of the announcement must state this fact. Similarly, it is better to state explicitly: for example, that Native American tribal organizations are eligible than to assume that they can unambiguously infer that from a statement that non-profit organizations may apply. Eligibility also can be expressed by exception; for example, open to all types of domestic applicants other than individuals. This section must refer to any portion of Section IV, "Proposal and Submission Information" specifying documentation that must be submitted to support an eligibility determination: for example, proof of 501(c)(3) status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service or an authorizing tribal resolution. To the extent that any funding restriction in Section IV, paragraph 5, "Funding Restrictions" could affect the eligibility of an applicant or project, this section must either restate that restriction in this section or provide a cross-reference to its description in this section. Section §1260.12(e), "Choice of award instrument" of the NASA Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook (Handbook) states NASA policy on grants and cooperative agreements with foreign organizations.

A sample follows: "Participation in this program is open to all categories of U.S. and non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit institutions, as well as NASA Centers, and other U.S. Government agencies. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's), other minority educational institutions, and small businesses and organizations owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or women are particularly encouraged to apply. Participation by non-U.S. organizations in this program is encouraged subject to NASA's policy of no-exchange-of-funds. Further information on foreign participation is provided in Section §1260.12(e), "Choice of award instrument" of the NASA Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook. This Handbook is located here."

     (2) Cost Sharing or Matching (Required). This section must state whether there is required cost sharing, matching, or cost participation without which a proposal would be ineligible. If cost sharing is not required, this section must explicitly say so. Required cost sharing may be a certain percentage or amount, or may be in the form of contributions of specified items or activities: for example, provision of equipment. It is important that the announcement be clear about any restrictions on the types of cost (for example, in-kind contributions) that are acceptable as cost sharing. The Office of Procurement at NASA Headquarters (Code HK) and NASA Centers can provide additional information on the applicable cost sharing requirements for each announcement.

The announcement should include language substantially similar to the following: "If an institution of higher education, hospital, or other non-profit organization wants to receive a grant or cooperative agreement, cost sharing is not required: however, NASA can accept cost sharing if it is voluntarily offered. Section B, Provision §1260.123, "Cost sharing or matching" describes the acceptable forms of cost sharing. If a commercial organization wants to receive a grant or cooperative agreement, cost sharing is required, unless the commercial organization can demonstrate that they will not receive substantial compensating benefits for performance of the work. If no substantial compensating benefits will be received, then cost sharing is not required, but can be accepted. Section D, Provision §1274.204, "Costs and Payments" of the NASA Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook describes the acceptable forms of cost sharing."

     (3) Other (Required, if applicable). If there are other eligibility criteria, the other eligibility criteria must be clearly stated. Other eligibility requirements include criteria that have the effect of making an proposal or project ineligible for award; whether the criteria is referred to as "responsiveness" criteria, "go-no go" criteria, "threshold" criteria, or in other ways. For example, it is important that this section state if entities that have been found to be in violation of a particular Federal statute are ineligible. This section must also state any limit on the number of proposals an applicant may submit under the announcement and make clear whether the limitation is on the submitting organization, individual investigator/program director, or both. Also use this section to address any eligibility criteria for beneficiaries or for program participants other than award recipients.

IV. Proposal and Submission Information.

     (1) Address to Request Proposal Package (Required). This section must inform potential applicants how to get proposal forms, kits, or other materials that are required to apply. If this announcement contains all of the proposal materials, this section must include a statement to that effect. This section may give an Internet address where potential applicants can access the materials.

     (2) Content and Form of Proposal Submission (Required). This section must identify the required content of a proposal and the forms or formats that an applicant must use to submit the proposal. If any requirements are stated elsewhere because they are general requirements that apply to multiple programs or funding opportunities, this section may refer to where those requirements may be found. (There is no standard NASA provision for proposal instructions. Therefore, the writer of the announcement will have to use the information in this section to instruct applicants how to submit a proposal.) This section also must address any preliminary submissions, (e.g. advance notices), that the agency requires or encourages, either to facilitate its own planning or to provide potential applicants with feedback to help them decide whether to submit a full proposal. This section must include all content and forms or formats that constitute a complete proposal, including: general information (for example, proposer's name and address), budgetary information, narrative programmatic information, biographical sketches, and all other required information (for example, documentation that an applicant meets stated eligibility criteria or certifications or assurances of compliance with applicable requirements, such as evidence of compliance with human subjects requirements). This section must either include required forms or formats as part of this announcement or state where the applicant may obtain them.

This section must include language substantially similar to the following two paragraphs: "All applicants must provide the Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number for their organization in the Cover Page of their proposal. This requirement applies to renewals of awards as well as to prospective new awards. The DUNS number is a unique nine-character identification number provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Applicants may call D&B at 1-866-705-5711 to register and obtain a DUNS number, or access the D&B website at: http://www.dnb.com/us/. The process to request a DUNS number by telephone takes about 10 minutes, and is free of charge. The process to obtain a DUNS number through the web site takes about fourteen days, and is also free of charge. Organizations will use the same DUNS number with every proposal submitted for a Federal grant and cooperative agreement. Note that the DUNS number is site-specific.

NASA also requires the applicant's organization to be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database and obtain a Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) code prior to submitting a proposal. The purpose of this requirement is to help centralize information about grant recipients and provide a central location for grant recipients to change organizational information. Information for registering in the CCR and online documents can be found at http://www.ccr.gov. Before registering applicants and recipients should review the Central Contractor Registration Handbook, which is also located at http://www.ccr.gov. The process for obtaining a CAGE code is incorporated into the CCR registration."

[Note: The Office of Procurement at NASA Headquarters, Sponsored Research Business Activities organization (Code HK) can also answer questions about the DUNS number and CCR registration.]

This section must specifically address content and form or format requirements for:

  • Notice of Intent (NOI), pre-applications, letters of intent, or advance notices that NASA requires or encourages. (Refer to Section IV, paragraph 3, "Submission Dates and Times"). Any limitations on the number of pages or other formatting requirements for the NOIs, pre-applications, letters of intent, or advance notices must be addressed in this section. The most common form of a preliminary submission is the NOI. Refer to Chapter 3.1 of the Guidebook for additional information on NOIs.
  • The proposal as a whole. For hard copy submissions, that could include any limitations on the number of pages, font size and typeface, margins, paper size, number of copies, and sequence or assembly requirements. If electronic submission is permitted or required, that could include special requirements for formatting or signatures. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Guidebook, "Proposal Preparation and Organization".
  • Component pieces of the proposal. (For example, if all copies of the proposal must bear original signatures on the face page or the program narrative may not exceed 10 pages). This includes any pieces that may be submitted separately by third parties: for example, references or letters confirming commitments from third parties that will be contributing a portion of any required cost sharing.
  • Information that successful applicants must submit after NASA notifies them of its intent to make awards, but prior to award. This could include evidence of compliance with human subjects requirements, an updated budget, or information NASA needs to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

     (3) Submission Dates and Times (Required). The announcement must identify due dates and times for all submissions, including not only the full proposal but also any preliminary submissions. Examples of submissions include NOIs, pre-applications, letters of intent, or advance notices. This section also includes any other submissions of information before award that are separate from the full proposal. If the funding opportunity is a general announcement that is open for a period of time with no specific due dates for proposals, this section must include a statement to that effect. Note that the information on dates that is included in this section also must appear with other overview information in a location preceding the full text of the announcement Refer to Overview Information, paragraph (a)(6) "Dates" of this format. For each type of submission that is addressed, indicate whether the submission is encouraged or required and, if required, any deadline date for submission (or dates, if the agency plans more than one cycle of proposal submission, review, and award under the announcement). The announcement must state (or provide a reference to another document that states):

  • Any deadline in terms of a date and local time.
  • What the deadline means. For example, whether the deadline is the date and time by which the agency must receive the proposal, the date by which the proposal must be postmarked, or if the deadline represents another event. State how the deadline depends, if at all, on the submission method: for example, mail, electronic, or personal/courier delivery.
  • The effect of missing a deadline. For example, state whether late proposals are neither reviewed nor considered or are reviewed and considered under some circumstances.
  • How the receiving NASA office determines whether a proposal, advance notice, or pre-application has been submitted before the deadline. This includes the form of acceptable proof of mailing or system-generated documentation of receipt date and time. This section also may indicate whether, when, and in what form the proposer will receive an acknowledgment of receipt. This section must display the above information in ways that will be easy to understand and use. It can be difficult to extract all needed information from narrative paragraphs, even when they are well written. A tabular form for providing a summary of the information may help proposers and give them what effectively could be a checklist to verify the completeness of their proposal package before submission.

     (4) Intergovernmental Review (Required, if applicable). If the funding opportunity is subject to Executive Order (EO) 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," this section must state that this EO is applicable. (This requirement rarely applies to NASA programs.) Executive Order 12372, refers to actions "that have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national governmental and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government", and is accessible at: http://www.aspe.dhhs.gov/cfda/eo12372.htm. In alerting applicants that they must contact their State's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to find out about and comply with the State's process under EO 12372, this section may wish to inform them that the names and addresses of the SPOCs are listed in the Office of Management and Budget's home page at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html. The procurement and legal offices at NASA Headquarters and at each Center may provide additional information.

     (5) Funding Restrictions (Required). This section must include information on funding restrictions in order to allow an applicant to develop a proposal and budget consistent with program requirements. Examples are whether construction is an allowable activity, if there are any limitations on direct costs such as foreign travel or equipment purchases, and if there are any limits on indirect costs (or facilities and administrative costs). This section must also tell applicants whether awards will allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.

     (6) Other Submission Requirements (Required). This section must address any other submission requirements that are not included in the other paragraphs of this section. This might include the format of submission: for example, paper or electronic, for each type of required submission. Applicants should not be required to submit in more than one format and this section must indicate whether they may choose to submit proposals in hard copy or electronically, may submit only in hard copy, or may submit only electronically.

This section also must indicate where proposals (and any advance notices or pre-applications) must be submitted if sent by postal mail, electronic means, or hand-delivery. For postal mail submission, this should include the name of an office, official, individual or function
(for example, proposal receipt center) and a complete mailing address. For electronic submission, this should include the URL or e-mail address; whether a password(s) is required; whether particular software or other electronic capabilities are required; what to do in the event of system problems and a point of contact that will be available in the event the applicant experiences technical difficulties.

V. Proposal Review Information

     (1) Criteria (Required). This section must address the criteria that NASA will use to evaluate proposals. This includes the merit and other review criteria that evaluators will use to judge proposals, including any statutory, regulatory, or other preferences (for example, minority status or Native American tribal preferences) that will be applied in the review process. These criteria are distinct from eligibility criteria that are addressed before a proposal is accepted for review and any program policy or other factors that are applied during the selection process, after the review process is completed. The intent is to give applicants visibility into the evaluation process so that they can make informed decisions when preparing their proposals and so that the process is as fair and equitable as possible.

  • The announcement must clearly describe all criteria, including any sub-criteria. If criteria vary in importance, the announcement must specify the relative percentages, weights, or other means used to distinguish among them. For statutory, regulatory, or other preferences, the announcement must provide a detailed explanation of those preferences with an explicit indication of their effect: for example, whether they result in additional points being assigned.
  • This section should include language substantially similar to the following: "Cost sharing is not part of the evaluation criteria: however, cost sharing may affect NASA's evaluation of the intrinsic merit of the proposal."

     (2) Review and Selection Process (Required). This section may vary in the level of detail provided. The announcement must list any program policy or other factors or elements, other than merit criteria, that the selecting official may use in selecting proposals for award. Examples include geographical dispersion, program balance, and diversity.

  • Include other details as deemed appropriate. For example, this section may indicate the officials that are responsible for evaluation against the merit criteria (for example, peers external to the agency or Federal agency personnel) and/or which official makes the final selections for award. If the program has a multi-phase review process (for example, an external panel advising internal agency personnel who make final recommendations to the deciding official), this section may describe the phases. This section may also include: the number of people on an evaluation panel and how it operates, the way reviewers are selected, reviewer qualifications, and the way that conflicts of interest are avoided. In addition, if NASA permits applicants to nominate suggested reviewers of their proposals or suggest those they feel may be inappropriate due to a conflict of interest, that information must be included in this section.

     (3) Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates (Optional). This section provides applicants with information for planning purposes. If there is a single proposal deadline followed by the simultaneous review of all proposals, this section can include information about the anticipated dates for announcing or notifying successful and unsuccessful applicants and for having awards in place. If proposals are received and evaluated on a "rolling" basis at different times during an extended period, it may be appropriate to give applicants an estimate of the time needed to process an proposal and notify the applicant of NASA's decision. A "rolling basis" means that there are multiple due dates for the same program. This method is commonly used when the announcement is open for a long period of time and there is a need to level the workload required for evaluating the proposals.

VI. Award Administration Information.

     (1) Award Notices (Required). This section must address what a successful applicant can expect to receive following selection. If the practice is for the selection official to provide a separate notice stating that a proposal has been selected before the award is made, this section would be the place to indicate that the letter is not an authorization to begin performance (to the extent that charging to awards of pre-award costs is allowed or at the recipient's own risk). This section must indicate that the notice of award signed by the grant officer (or equivalent) is the authorizing document, and whether it is provided through postal mail or by electronic means and to whom. This section also may address the timing, form, and content of notifications to unsuccessful applicants. For example, this section may include the following language: "The selecting official may provide each offeror whose proposal was selected for negotiation a notification stating the following: The proposal has been selected for negotiation; the offeror's business office will be contacted by a contracting officer, who is the only official authorized to obligate the Government; and any costs incurred by the offeror in anticipation of an award are at the offeror's risk." This section must also state the type of funding instrument (grant, cooperative agreement, etc.) that is expected to be awarded as a result of this announcement. If a grant is expected to be awarded, this section must state the type(s) of grants that may be awarded (research, education, training, and/or facilities.)

     (2) Administrative and National Policy Requirements (Required). This section must identify the usual administrative and national policy requirements that NASA's awards may include. Providing this information lets a potential applicant identify any requirements with which it would have difficulty complying if its proposal is successful. In those cases, early notification about the requirements allows the potential applicant to decide not to apply or to take needed actions before award. The announcement need not include all of the award terms and conditions, but may refer to a document (with information about how to obtain it) or Internet site where applicants can see the terms and conditions. The announcement can include a reference to the NASA Handbook, located here.

  • If this funding opportunity will lead to awards with some special terms and conditions that differ from NASA's general terms and conditions, this section must highlight those special terms and conditions. Doing so will alert applicants who have received awards from NASA previously and might not otherwise expect different terms and conditions. For the same reason, this section must inform potential applicants about special requirements that could apply to particular awards after review of proposals and other information, based on the particular circumstances of the effort to be supported: for example, if human subjects were to be involved, or if some situations may justify special terms on intellectual property, data sharing or security requirements.

         (3) Reporting (Required). This section must include general information about the type (for example, financial or performance), frequency, and means of submission (paper or electronic) of post-award reporting requirements. Highlight any special reporting requirements for awards under this funding opportunity that differ (for example, by report type, frequency, form/format, or circumstances for use) from what NASA awards usually require. The Handbook references the standard required reports for grants and cooperative agreements in Exhibit G to the Handbook. The Handbook is located here.

VII. NASA Contact(s) (Required). This section provides potential applicants with a point(s) of contact for answering questions or helping with problems while the funding opportunity is open. The intent of this requirement is to be as helpful as possible to potential applicants, so this section should consider approaches such as giving:

     (1) Points of contact that may be reached in multiple ways: for example, by telephone, FAX, and/or e-mail, as well as regular mail.

     (2) A fax or e-mail address that multiple people access, so that someone will respond even if others are unexpectedly absent during critical periods.

     (3) Different contacts for distinct kinds of help: for example, one for questions of programmatic content and a second for administrative questions.

VIII. Other Information (Optional).

This section may include any additional information that will assist a potential applicant. For example, the section might:

     (1) Indicate whether this is a new program or a one-time initiative.

     (2) Mention related programs or other upcoming or ongoing NASA funding opportunities for similar activities.

     (3) Include Internet addresses for agency Web sites that may be useful to an applicant in understanding the program. This section may include the following language: "Links to all material posted on the World Wide Web concerning NASA and its programs may be found through the NASA homepage at http://www.nasa.gov/ and then by selecting the program office of interest. Alternatively, the same menu of NASA's program offices may be directly accessed through the Web address http://research.hq.nasa.gov/research.cfm. Another alternative is the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS). NAIS provides an inclusive, searchable database for all solicitations of every type released by the Agency by opening "Business Opportunities" from the menu here."

     (4) Alert applicants to the need to identify proprietary information and inform them about the way NASA will handle it. Although grants and cooperative agreements are not subject to the provisions of the FAR and NFS, the NASA program issuing the announcement may use language from NFS 1852.235-72, "Instructions for Responding to NASA Research Announcement", and tailor it to the unique circumstances of the announcement. This clause includes language on the use and disclosure of proposal information.

     (5) Include certain routine notices to applicants. Examples include confirmation notices; or notices that the Government is not obligated to make any award as a result of the announcement or that only grant officers can bind the Government to the expenditure of funds. This section may use language similar to NFS 1835.016-71(d).

     (6) Include appendices. Examples of appendices include definitions of key terms used, and more detailed descriptions of the funding opportunity.

 

 


 

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