NASA SBIR/STTR Program Solicitation Details | Phase II | 3. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria

3. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria

3.1 Select Phase II Proposals

All Select Phase II proposals will be evaluated and ranked on a competitive basis. Proposals will be initially screened to determine responsiveness. Proposals determined 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 technically evaluated by NASA personnel to determine the most promising technical and scientific approaches. Each proposal will be reviewed on its own merit. NASA is under no obligation to fund any proposal or any specific number of proposals in a given topic. It also may elect to fund several or none of the proposed approaches to the same topic or subtopic.

3.1.1 Evaluation Process

The Select Phase II evaluation process is similar to the Phase I process. 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 and mission relevance will be reviewed for commercial merit. Mission Relevance, described below, is a new criterion for Select Phase II proposals associated with Select Topics. 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.

3.1.2 Select Phase II Evaluation Criteria

NASA intends to select for award those proposals that best meet the Government's need(s). Note: Past performance will not be a separate evaluation factor but will be evaluated under each factor below. The evaluation of Select Phase II proposals will apply the following factors described below.

Factor 1: Scientific/Technical Merit and Feasibility
The proposed R/R&D effort will be evaluated on (a) the originality (level of innovation, comparison to current state-of-the-art) and feasibility of the technology/project being considered for advancement during Phase II, (b) its potential technical value and relevance to the subtopic, (c) the amount of technology maturation envisioned by this project (as measured by TRL advancement for the Phase II), and (d) the proposers understanding of the problems being addressed and the risks associated with the proposed innovation. In addition, past performance of Phase I will be evaluated to determine the degree to which Phase I objectives were met, and whether the Phase I results indicate a Phase II project is appropriate.

Factor 2: Experience, Qualifications and Facilities
This refers to (a): the technical capabilities and experience of the Principle Investigator or Project Manager, key personnel, staff, consultants, and subcontractors are consistent with the research effort described in the proposal, (b) the degree of commitment and availability of the people noted in (a) is consistent and appropriate to the research effort described in the proposal, and (c) the necessary instrumentation and/or facilities required to conduct the research effort described in the proposal is shown to be adequate, including any reliance on external sources (such as government furnished equipment or facilities, as addressed in section 2.2.4, part 8).

Factor 3: Effectiveness of the Proposed Work Plan
The work plan will be reviewed for its (a) effective use of available resources, (b) labor distribution, and (c) the proposed schedule for meeting the Select Phase II objectives. The methods planned to achieve each objective or task should be discussed in detail in each proposal. Please see Factor 9 for price evaluation criteria.

Factor 4: Mission Relevance
The Mission Relevance Review means a review of the relevance and potential contributions to NASA's scientific and technical areas of emphasis as determined by (a) a Phase II connection to a recent NASA strategy document, (b) the project's potential to reduce risk, cost, size, development costs or integration costs of specific hardware or software components or subsystems, (c) the technology's potential to be infused into future NASA missions or classes of missions.

Factor 5: 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:

  • 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; and (c) a product or service that has strong potential for meeting a well-defined need within the target market.
  • 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; (c) adequacy of funding sources necessary to bring technology to identified market; and (d) a commitment of necessary financial, physical, and/or personnel resources.
  • Capability of the Offeror to Realize Commercialization: This includes assessment of (a) the offeror's past performance, 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.

Factor 6: Price Reasonableness
The offeror's cost proposal will be evaluated for price reasonableness based on the information provided in (Form C). NASA will comply with the FAR and NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) to evaluate the proposed price/cost to be fair and reasonable.

After completion of evaluation for price reasonableness and determination of responsibility the Contracting Officer shall submit a recommendation for award to the Source Selection Official.

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. Proposals receiving acceptable numerical scores will be evaluated and rated for their mission relevance and commercial potential. The evaluation for Factor 4, Mission Relevance, and Factor 5, Commercial Potential and Feasibility, will both be in the form of an adjectival rating (Excellent, Very Good, Average, Below Average, Poor). For Select Phase II proposals, commercial merit is a critical factor. Factors 1 - 5 will be evaluated and used in the selection of proposals for negotiation. Factor 6 will be evaluated and used in the selection for award.

3.1.3 Selection

Proposals recommended for negotiations 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. After completion of evaluation for cost/price reasonableness and a determination of responsibility the Contracting Officer will submit a recommendation for award to the Source Selection Official.

The list of proposals selected for negotiation will be posted on the NASA SBIR/STTR website ( 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.

3.2 Debriefing of Offerors

After selection for negotiations have been announced, debriefings for 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.

To request debriefings on proposals, offerors must request via e-mail to the SBIR/STTR Program Support Office at within 60 days after the announcement of selection for negotiation. Late requests will not be honored.