NASA SBIR/STTR 2010 Program Solicitation Details | 4. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria

4. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria

4.1 Phase I Proposals

Proposals judged to be responsive to the administrative requirements of this Solicitation and having a reasonable potential of meeting a NASA need, as evidenced by the technical abstract included in the Proposal Summary (Form B), will be evaluated by evaluators with knowledge of the subtopic area.

4.1.1 Evaluation Process

Proposals shall provide all information needed for complete evaluation. Evaluators will not seek additional information. NASA scientists and engineers will perform evaluations. Also, qualified experts outside of NASA (including industry, academia, and other Government agencies) may assist in performing evaluations as required to determine or verify the merit of a proposal. Offerors should not assume that evaluators are acquainted with the firm, key individuals, or with any experiments or other information. Any pertinent references or publications should be noted in Part 5 of the technical proposal.

4.1.2 Phase I Evaluation Criteria

NASA plans to select for award those proposals offering the best value to the Government and the SBIR/STTR program. NASA will give primary consideration to the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the proposal and its benefit to NASA. Each proposal will be judged and scored on its own merits using the factors described below:

Factor 1: Scientific/Technical Merit and Feasibility
The proposed R/R&D effort will be evaluated on whether it offers a clearly innovative and feasible technical approach to the described NASA problem area. Proposals must clearly demonstrate relevance to the subtopic as well as one or more NASA mission and/or programmatic needs. Specific objectives, approaches and plans for developing and verifying the innovation must demonstrate a clear understanding of the problem and the current state of the art. The degree of understanding and significance of the risks involved in the proposed innovation must be presented.

Factor 2: Experience, Qualifications and Facilities
The technical capabilities and experience of the PI or project manager, key personnel, staff, consultants and subcontractors, if any, are evaluated for consistency with the research effort and their degree of commitment and availability. The necessary instrumentation or facilities required must be shown to be adequate and any reliance on external sources, such as Government Furnished Equipment or Facilities, addressed (Section 5.16).

Factor 3: Effectiveness of the Proposed Work Plan
The work plan will be reviewed for its comprehensiveness, effective use of available resources, cost management and proposed schedule for meeting the Phase I objectives. The methods planned to achieve each objective or task should be discussed in detail. The proposed path beyond Phase I for further development and infusion into a NASA mission or program will also be reviewed.


STTR: The clear delineation of responsibilities of the SBC and RI for the success of the proposed cooperative R/R&D effort will be evaluated. The offeror must demonstrate the ability to organize for effective conversion of intellectual property into products and services of value to NASA and the commercial marketplace.


Factor 4. Commercial Potential and Feasibility
The proposal will be evaluated for the commercial potential and feasibility of the proposed innovation and associated products and services. The offeror's experience and record in technology commercialization, co-funding commitments from private or non-SBIR funding sources, existing and projected commitments for Phase III funding, investment, sales, licensing, and other indicators of commercial potential and feasibility will be considered along with the initial commercialization strategy for the innovation. Commercialization encompasses the infusion of innovative technology into products and services for NASA mission programs, other Government agencies and non-Government markets.

Scoring of Factors and Weighting: Factors 1, 2, and 3 will be scored numerically with Factor 1 worth 50 percent and Factors 2 and 3 each worth 25 percent. The sum of the scores for Factors 1, 2, and 3 will comprise the Technical Merit score.The evaluation for Factor 4, Commercial Potential and Feasibility, will be in the form of an adjectival rating (Excellent, Very Good, Average, Below Average, Poor). For Phase I proposals, Technical Merit is more important than Commercial Merit.

4.1.3 Selection

Proposals recommended for award will be forwarded to the Program Management Office for analysis and presented to the Source Selection Official and Mission Directorate Representatives. Final selection decisions will consider the recommendations as well as overall NASA priorities, program balance and available funding. The Source Selection Official has the final authority for choosing the specific proposals for contract negotiation. Each proposal selected for negotiation will be evaluated for cost/price reasonableness and award will be made to those offerors determined to be responsible.

The list of proposals selected for negotiation will be posted on the NASA SBIR/STTR Website (http://sbir.nasa.gov). All firms will receive a formal notification letter. A Contracting Officer will negotiate an appropriate contract to be signed by both parties before work begins.


4.1.4 Allocation of Rights Agreement (STTR awards only)

No more than 10 working days after the Selection Announcement, the offeror should provide to the Contracting Officer, a completed Allocation of Rights Agreement (ARA), which has been signed by authorized representatives of the SBC, RI and subcontractors and consultants, as applicable. The ARA shall state the allocation of intellectual property rights with respect to the proposed STTR activity and planned follow-on research, development and/or commercialization.A sample ARA is available in Section 8 of this Solicitation.

In compliance with the SBA STTR Policy Directive 8.(c) (1) STTR proposers are notified that a completed Allocation of Rights Agreement (ARA), which has been signed by authorized representatives of the SBC, RI and subcontractors and consultants, as applicable is required to be completed and  executed prior to commencement of work under the STTR program.  The ARA shall state the allocation of intellectual property rights with respect to the proposed STTR activity and planned follow-on research, development and/or commercialization.  The SBC must certify in all proposals that the agreement is satisfactory to the SBC.

4.2 Phase II Proposals

4.2.1 Evaluation Process

The Phase II evaluation process is similar to the Phase I process. NASA plans to select for award those proposals offering the best value to the Government and the SBIR/STTR Program. Each proposal will be reviewed by NASA scientists and engineers and by qualified experts outside of NASA as needed. In addition, those proposals with high technical merit will be reviewed for commercial merit. NASA may use a peer review panel to evaluate commercial merit. Panel membership may include non-NASA personnel with expertise in business development and technology commercialization.

4.2.2 Evaluation Factors

NASA plans to select for award those proposals offering the best value to the Government and the SBIR/STTR program. The evaluation of Phase II proposals under this Solicitation will apply the following factors:

Factor 1: Scientific/Technical Merit and Feasibility
The proposed R/R&D effort will be evaluated on its innovativeness, originality, and potential technical value, including the degree to which Phase I objectives were met, the feasibility of the innovation, and whether the Phase I results indicate a Phase II project is appropriate.

Factor 2: Experience, Qualifications and Facilities
The technical capabilities and experience of the PI or project manager, key personnel, staff, consultants and subcontractors, if any, are evaluated for consistency with the research effort and their degree of commitment and availability. The necessary instrumentation or facilities required must be shown to be adequate and any reliance on external sources, such as Government Furnished Equipment or Facilities, addressed (Section 5.16).

Factor 3: Effectiveness of the Proposed Work Plan
The work plan will be reviewed for its comprehensiveness, effective use of available resources, cost management and proposed schedule for meeting the Phase II objectives. The methods planned to achieve each objective or task should be discussed in detail.

Factor 4: Commercial Potential and Feasibility
The proposal will be evaluated for the commercial potential and feasibility of the proposed innovation and associated products and services. The offeror's experience and record in technology commercialization, current funding commitments from private or non-SBIR funding sources, existing and projected commitments for Phase III funding, investment, sales, licensing, and other indicators of commercial potential and feasibility will be considered along with the commercialization plan for the innovation. Evaluation of the commercialization plan and the overall proposal will include consideration of the following areas:

(1) Commercial Potential and Feasibility of the Innovation: This includes assessment of (a) the transition of the innovation into a well-defined product or service; (b) a realistic target market niche; (c) a product or service that has strong potential for meeting a well-defined need within the target market; and (d) a commitment of necessary financial, physical, and/or personnel resources.

(2) Intent and Commitment of the Offeror: This includes assessing the commercialization of the innovation for (a) importance to the offeror's current business and strategic planning; (b) reliance on (or lack thereof) Government markets; and (c) adequacy of funding sources necessary to bring technology to identified market.

(3) Capability of the Offeror to Realize Commercialization: This includes assessment of (a) the offeror's past experience and success in technology commercialization; (b) the likelihood that the offeror will be able to obtain the remaining necessary financial, technical, and personnel-related resources; and (c) the current strength and continued financial viability of the offeror.

Commercialization encompasses the infusion of innovative technology into products and services for NASA mission programs, other Government agencies and non-Government markets.

4.2.3 Evaluation and Selection

Factors 1, 2, and 3 will be scored numerically with Factor 1 worth 50 percent and Factors 2 and 3 each worth 25 percent. The sum of the scores for Factors 1, 2, and 3 will comprise the Technical Merit score. Proposals receiving numerical scores of 85 percent or higher will be evaluated and rated for their commercial potential using the criteria listed in Factor 4 and by applying the same adjectival ratings as set forth for Phase I proposals. Where technical evaluations are essentially equal in potential, cost to the Government and the offeror's past performance may be considered in determining successful offerors. For Phase II proposals, commercial merit is a critical factor.

Recommendations for award will be forwarded to the Program Management Office for analysis and presented to the Source Selection Official and Mission Directorate Representatives. Final selection decisions will consider the recommendations, overall NASA priorities, program balance and available funding, as well as any other evaluations or assessments (particularly pertaining to commercial potential). The Source Selection Official has the final authority for choosing the specific proposals for contract negotiation. Each proposal selected for negotiation will be evaluated for cost/price reasonableness, past performance and award will be made to those contractors determined to be responsible. Past performance evaluation will consider the contractor's performance under the Phase I effort.


Note: Companies with Prior NASA SBIR/STTR Awards

NASA has instituted a comprehensive commercialization survey/data gathering process for companies with prior NASA SBIR/STTR awards. Information received from SBIR/STTR awardees completing the survey is kept confidential, and will not be made public except in broad aggregate, with no company-specific attribution.

Responding to the survey is strictly voluntary. However, the SBIR/STTR Source Selection Official does see the information contained within the survey as adding to the program's ability to use past performance in decision making as well as providing a database of SBIR/STTR results for management.

If you have not completed a survey, or if you would like to update a previously submitted response, please go on-line at http://sbir.nasa.gov/SBIR/survey.html.

4.3 Debriefing of Unsuccessful Offerors

After Phase I and Phase II selection decisions have been announced, debriefings for unsuccessful proposals will be available to the offeror's corporate official or designee via e-mail. Telephone requests for debriefings will not be accepted. Debriefings are not opportunities to reopen selection decisions. They are intended to acquaint the offeror with perceived strengths and weaknesses of the proposal in order to help offerors identify constructive future action by the offeror.

Debriefings will not disclose the identity of the proposal evaluators, proposal scores, the content of, or comparisons with, other proposals.

4.3.1 Phase I Debriefings

For Phase I proposals, debriefings will be automatically e-mailed to the designated business official within 60 days of the selection announcement. If you have not received your debriefing by this time, contact the SBIR/STTR Program Support Office at sbir@reisys.com.

4.3.2 Phase II Debriefings

To request debriefings on Phase II proposals, offerors must request via e-mail to the SBIR/STTR Program Support Office at sbir@reisys.com within 60 days after selection announcement. Late requests will not be honored.