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NASA Research Announcement (NRA) Checklist - HQ

For NASA Headquarters

Note: The Contract Management Division will update this checklist as needed. Also, please note that this checklist is intended as a guide for the Procurement Analyst and is not all-inclusive.

(1) Is the program subject to NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5? If so, draft or final versions of any form of Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) (an NRA is a type of BAA) that directly or substantially supports a program subject to NPR 7120.5 shall not be released unless -
      (A) All applicable NPR 7120.5 required documentation [see
NFS 1804.7301(b)(2)(i)] is current and has been approved (e.g., Formulation Authorization Document, Program Commitment Agreement, Program Plan, or Project Plan); or
    (B) Authority to proceed without the required documentation has been granted by the Chair of the Governing Program Management Council or designee. [NFS 1835.016(a)(iii)]

(2) The NRA should state whether competition is limited. Do you anticipate participating entities from all categories? From Industry? Universities? Nonprofits? NASA Laboratories? Does the NRA preclude an offeror capable of satisfying the Government's needs? If so, is a signed justification for other than full and open competition in the file? [FAR 6.304 and NFS 1835.016(c)] However, if prior to release of an NRA, it is decided that subsequent awards will be limited to grants or cooperative agreements, this requirement of the FAR is not applicable. Still, there should be some rationale for limiting competition for grants or cooperative agreements. Provision 1260.10(a) of the Handbook states that NASA's policy is to use competitive procedures to award grants (and cooperative agreements) whenever possible.

(3) Is the use of a BAA appropriate? In accordance with FAR 35.016, BAAs may be used by agencies to fulfill their requirements for scientific study and experimentation directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution. The BAA technique shall only be used when meaningful proposals with varying technical/scientific approaches can be reasonably anticipated.

(4) Is the appropriate type of BAA used? Is an NRA used when an AO or RFP would be more appropriate? The description of research, or statement of work, must be consistent with the desired type of procurement instrument. An NRA shall not be used when the requirement is sufficiently defined to specify an end product or service.
NFS 1835.016-71(a) describes the circumstances when the NRA is most appropriate.
NFS 1872.202 describes the circumstances when an AO is most appropriate.
FAR 15.203 describes the uses of an RFP.

(5) The NRA Coordination Cycle is as follows:

  • Shall Obtain Input - Safety and Mission Assurance, Environmental Protection, Information Technology, Export Control, and Security. Input shall also be obtained from the appropriate systems safety organization for NRAs that may involve potentially hazardous operations such as those related to flight and/or mission critical ground systems. For these Shall Obtain Input offices, the program office can demonstrate compliance with this requirement by placing an email in the file showing that these offices were invited to comment. The file should also show resolution of any comments.
  • Concurrence - Headquarters Offices of General Counsel and Procurement.
  • Approval - Program Associate Administrator or Designee
    [NFS 1835.016-71(b)(1)]
    (Note that Office of the General Counsel concurrence and Program AA approval are completed after Procurement review and concurrence.)

(6) Has the NRA approval authority designated the selection official? [NFS 1835.016-71(b)(1)]

(7) If the NRA may result in the award of a contract, ensure the NRA is synopsized in FedBizOpps at least 15 days prior to issuance in accordance with FAR 5.203. The synopsis shall be brief, and the technical section describing the area of interest should not exceed 50 words. [NFS 1835.016-71(b)(2)]

Notwithstanding the above requirements, if prior to release of an NRA it is decided that subsequent awards will be limited to grants or cooperative agreements, publishing a synopsis in is required (instead of FedBizOpps). In this case, the NRA should be synopsized no later than three days after it is released. If the NRA may result in the award of a (1) contract and (2) grant or cooperative agreement, the synopsis should be published in both FedBizOpps and, using the timelines established in FAR 5.203 (i.e. synopsized at least 15 days before it is released.) Grant Informational Circular 04-02, "Synopses Requirements for Announcements of Grant and Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunities" discusses the synopses requirements in more detail.

(8) If a Headquarters-generated NRA may result in awards by a NASA field installation, the issuing office shall notify the installation procurement officer and provide a copy of the NRA. [NFS 1835.016-71(b)(3)] (Note: the common practice is for Center Procurement Offices to regularly check NAIS and HQ Research Opportunities online for NRAs.)

(9) FAR 5.203(e) requires that a research and development solicitation allow at least 45 days for receipt of proposal. NASA NRAs typically allow at least 90 days for receipt of proposal. [NFS 1835.016-71(b)(5)] A proposal period of more than 45 days but less than 90 days is permissible without a deviation; however, check to ensure that the open period is sufficient for the offerors to prepare a complete proposal. Ensure consistency where schedule is referred to in other sections of document. The exact date, time and location must be specified, as well as any special labeling or instructions a proposer may need to successfully deliver a proposal.

(10) Does the NRA conform to the Standard Announcement Format? The Standard Announcement Format is detailed in Procurement Informational Circular 04-02. This PIC replaces the previous NRA format that was specified in NFS 1835.016-71. It is anticipated that this PIC will be replaced by a NPR. In this event, PIC 04-02 will be cancelled and the NPR will be posted to the NASA Online Directives Information System.

(11) The Guidebook for Proposers Responding to a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) (Guidebook) includes information that is standard for all NASA Headquarters NRAs. Does the NRA reference the information in this Guidebook? If not, does the NRA include all information that the proposers need to respond to the NRA?

(12) The provision at NFS 1852.235-72, "Instructions for Responding to NASA Research Announcements" is required to be inserted in all NRAs either directly or through incorporation of the Guidebook. The instructions may be supplemented, but only to the minimum extent necessary. [NFS 1835.070(c)]

(13) The evaluation factors in paragraph (i) of 1852.235-72 should be used, and they may be supplemented only to the minimum extent necessary. Also, by statute, cost must be included as a factor, and the relative weight of cost in the evaluation must be stated: for example; "Cost realism, and a comparison of cost to the available funds. This factor is of approximately equal weight to each of the other factors, and is of substantially less weight than all the other factors combined."

(14) When the solicitation is issued before a procurement request certifying availability of funds is approved, the NRA must include the following statement: "Funds are not currently available for awards under this NRA. 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 NRA."

(15) Is the following NASA Safety statement included?
"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."

(16) Does the NRA include a discussion of the missions and program objectives of the Enterprise and the program either through the Guidebook or directly in the NRA?

(17) Does the NRA provide points of contact in Section VII to answer offeror questions?

(18) Do you have any questions of your own as you review the NRA? If so, the applicants may have the same questions.

(19) Are all acronyms, abbreviations, and technical terms defined?

(20) Are all NASA comments resolved?

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Last Updated: Tue Mar 5 11:22:53 2019