Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Sponsored Research and Education Support Services

By SpaceRef Editor
March 9, 2009
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Mar 04, 2009

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: 4200275931
Posted Date: Mar 04, 2009
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 04, 2009
Original Response Date: Mar 25, 2009
Current Response Date: Mar 25, 2009
Classification Code: R — Professional, administrative, and mgmt support services
NAICS Code: 561110 – Office Administrative Services

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Description

NASA Headquarters is hereby soliciting information from potential sources (8(a) sources in particular) to support processing of research proposals submitted in response to Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) issued by NASA Science Mission Directorate, Office of Education, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and other HQ offices/Centers as needed.

Interested businesses, certified 8(a) small businesses and non-8(a) small businesses which meet the size standard provided below, are requested to provide their name, location, size, and detailed information demonstrating their technical understanding of the work requirements identified below, as well as their qualifications, capabilities, experience, and past performance history for such work. Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation.

It is anticipated that a Cost type contract will be issued with a base plus option years not to exceed a total of five years. The NAICS code for this action is 561110 and the size standard is $7 million.

The contractor will manage and support specified aspects of soliciting and receiving, processing, and evaluating responses to solicitations (e.g., proposals). The contractor may also be required to take part in informing Offerors of the status of their proposals, and preparing documentation that must be done to permit the disbursement of funds. The contractor may also be called on to organize and support meetings.

Other contractor support includes operating, maintaining and continuing to improve a Government-owned electronic system for submission and review of proposals, announcements of awards, and conveying technical requirements packages and other materials to procurement officers (e.g., the NSPIRES system, see http://nspires.nasaprs.com ).

A significant component of the above function is peer review of research proposals by panels of specialists and experts. NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Supplement 1835.016 and 1872.403 dictate that peer review be the method used to evaluate and select research for funding. NASA funds intramural and extramural research primarily through solicited proposals that may result in grants, cooperative agreements, contracts and arrangements with other agencies, non-profit organizations, industry and academia. Solicitation mechanisms primarily used are NASA Research Announcements (NRAs), Announcements of Opportunity (AOs), and Cooperative Agreement Notices (CANs) though a few unsolicited proposals are also received. For more information on solicitation mechanisms see Chapter 3 of Requirements for the Conduct of NASA Research and Technology(R&T) (NPR) 1080.1A “3.1.2 Solicitation Mechanisms”. NPR 1080.1A and other NASA procedural documents can be accessed online at http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/main_lib.html by searching on “NPR 1080A.”

Peer reviews are an important component of the proposal evaluation function. Peer reviews evaluate relevance to NASA’s objectives, intrinsic merit (which includes scientific or technical merit), the researcher’s capabilities and qualifications, and cost. Specific peer review methods differ among NASA program offices, and even among disciplines within a given program office, depending on, for example, cost, resources brought to bear, experience, or the number and type of proposals received. Some offices use standing review committees, some ad hoc committees, and some a combination of these for individual announcements. However, the involvement of discipline experts to evaluate and document findings of proposal reviews is universal across NASA. Peer reviewers include scientists, engineers, educators and other discipline related experts, or other appropriate personnel from public and private academic institutions, industry, Government laboratories and agencies, and foreign countries.

The criteria for selecting a peer reviewer include the research they have conducted, publications, knowledge and experience, and ability to conduct an impartial review. NASA and the contractor supporting research proposal processing maintain databases of discipline experts to identify appropriate reviewers. Acknowledged experts in a discipline and proposal authors themselves may also suggest other qualified reviewers. Use of external peers ensures fresh viewpoints, alternative perspectives, and understanding of the state of the art. In practice, reviews are conducted by panel meetings (either in person or via video or telecom) and or using written evaluations (e.g., provided via the NSPIRES web interface), depending on the logistics specific to the review. These panels consist typically of 7 to 10 members, although sometimes larger panels of as many as 40 may be employed. It is possible that several sub-panels may be utilized. Panel members and written evaluations are solicited by phone, email etc., at the behest of NASA. All proceedings must be conducted in a confidential manner; the authors of a proposal are never involved in its review or that of directly competing proposals, and all reviewers are screened to ensure that they have no conflict of interest with the proposals they review.

The contractor will cover all of the arrangements associated with the invitations, physical and electronic input, and panel meeting support for these reviews, including preparing travel reservations for panel meetings. Reviews are conducted by mail, electronically via NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System(NSPIRES)/or by panel meetings, depending on the logistics specific to the review. Mail reviews may be conducted to allow for the use of reviewers with very specialized expertise on technical and scientific issues. The peer review contractor must be capable of maintaining a highly dependable World Wide Web (WWW) site(NSPIRES) for electronic receipt of Notices of Intent to propose and receipt of the actual proposals. NSPIRES also includes a review and selection module. The number of such electronic submissions ranges from a few dozens to several hundred, depending on the scope of the solicitation. The contractor is expected to produce logs sorted by a wide variety of data fields based on these electronic submissions and supply them to NASA within a few days of the submission deadline. The contractor will assist NASA in screening each incoming proposal to determine compliance with eligibility criteria and consistency with general program solicitation requirements. The contractor will be responsible for the electronic receipt and secure storage of proposals received (as many as 500 at a time in order to accommodate the submissions of multiple solicitations) and will also be responsible for accurately assembling packages of proposals to be sent to the designated mail reviewers, in advance of the peer review activity itself.

A majority of reviews are performed electronically via NSPIRES. Some NASA offices require the contractor to determine the identity of these reviewers; in other cases, NASA personnel will identify them. Each panel typically consists of 7 to 10 members, and it is common to have as many as six panels meeting simultaneously to review all the proposals submitted in response to a single solicitation (as many as 150). Panels typically meet for three days, requiring the panel members to be resident for up to four nights. The solicitation of panel members may be done by phone, letter, or email, which may be the responsibility of the support contractor. The contractor makes transportation and lodging arrangements for the panelists and ensures that panel members are appropriately and promptly reimbursed for their travel costs to attend panel meetings, based on travel reimbursement guidelines established by NASA. As necessary, the contractor arranges for securing space for the panel review at commercial or NASA facilities. The contractor will also support activities ancillary to soliciting research proposals, such as workshops convened to formulate long-range science research objectives, and education/outreach initiatives that provide opportunities for participating in NASA’s research programs to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges.

In order to demonstrate the capability of responding to NASA’s requirement for processing research proposals and managing peer reviews, potential sources should provide detailed information to show evidence of possessing the following attributes and characteristics necessary for providing the required support: (1) the ability to work with a variety of groups, which includes the ability to manage teams of peer review personnel and multiple, simultaneous review panels; (2) availability of key personnel with project management experience for activities with multiple sub projects/tasks; (3) the ability to manage and coordinate the associated proposal receipt and storage, meeting logistics support, travel, scheduling, etc. that are diverse and frequently simultaneous; (4) experience in database management, modification, and maintenance, in a secure network environment; (5) an acceptable or approved accounting system for Government cost-reimbursable contracts; (6) availability of financial resources to provide the required support; and (7) satisfactory work performance as evidenced by providing the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references for whom the potential Offeror has provided peer review or similar type services during the past three years. Responses must be in writing and may be submitted electronically.

All responses must include: name and address of firm, size of business; average annual revenue for past three years and number of employees; ownership; whether they are large, small, small disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, and/or woman-owned; number of years in business; affiliate information: parent company, joint venture partners, potential teaming partners, prime contractor (if potential sub) or subcontractors (if potential prime); list of customers covering the past three years (highlight relevant work performed, contract numbers, contract type, dollar value of each procurement; and point of contact – address and phone number).

The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto. All responses shall be submitted by the response date listed above, no later than 1:00 p.m. local time to NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 210.H, Attn: Michael Levy, Greenbelt MD 20771 or by email Michael.W.Levy@nasa.gov. Please reference Sources Sought Number 4200275931 in any response. Questions about this Request for Information may be sent by email.

No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service. It is the potential Offeror’s responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis.

The expected release time frame for any RFP is the third quarter of Fiscal 2009.

This Sources Sought Notice is for information and planning purposes and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited.

Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Michael Levy
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 301-286-4170
Fax: 301-286-0356
Email: michael.w.levy@nasa.gov

SpaceRef staff editor.