3. Proposal Preparation Instructions and Requirements
3.1 Fundamental Considerations
Multiple Proposal Submissions
Each proposal submitted must be based on a unique innovation, must be limited in scope to just one subtopic and shall be submitted only under that one subtopic within each program. An offeror shall not submit more than 10 proposals to each of the SBIR or STTR programs. An offeror may submit more than one unique proposal to the same subtopic; however, an offeror should not submit the same (or substantially equivalent) proposal to more than one subtopic. Submitting substantially equivalent proposals to several subtopics may result in the rejection of all such proposals. In order to enhance SBC participation, NASA does not plan to select more than 5 SBIR proposals and 2 STTR proposals from any one offeror under this solicitation.
STTR: All Phase I proposals must provide sufficient information to convince NASA that the proposed SBC/RI cooperative effort represents a sound approach for converting technical information resident at the Research Institution (RI) into a product or service that meets a need described in a Solicitation research topic. SBCs shall submit a research agreement with a Research Institution. This agreement must be completed online through the form provided in the submissions handbook.
3.2 Phase I Proposal Requirements
3.2.1 General Requirements
A competitive proposal will clearly and concisely: (1) describe the proposed innovation relative to the state of the art; (2) address the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation, and its relevance and significance to NASA needs as described in section 9: and (3) provide a preliminary strategy that addresses key technical, market and business factors pertinent to the successful development, demonstration of the proposed innovation, and its transition into products and services for NASA mission programs and other potential customers.
3.2.2 Format Requirements
Proposals that do not follow the formatting requirement are subject to rejection during administrative screening.
Page Limitations and Margins
Any page(s) going over the required page limited will be deleted and omitted from the proposal review. A Phase I proposal shall not exceed a total of 23 standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch (21.6 x 27.9 cm) pages, inclusive of the technical content and the required forms. Forms A, B, and C count as one page each, regardless of whether the completed forms print as more than one page. Each page shall be numbered consecutively at the bottom. Margins shall be 1.0 inch (2.5 cm). All required items of information must be covered in the proposal and will count towards the total page count. The space allocated to each part of the technical content will depend on the project chosen and the offeror's approach.
Each proposal submitted must contain the following items in the order presented:
(1) Cover Sheet (Form A), electronically endorsed, counts as 1 page towards the 23-page limit.
(2) Proposal Summary (Form B), counts as 1 page towards the 23-page limit (and must not contain proprietary data).
(3) Budget Summary (Form C), counts as 1 page towards the 23-page limit.
(4) Technical Content (11 parts in order as specified in section 3.2.4, not to exceed 20 pages for SBIR and 19 pages for STTR), including all graphics, with a table of contents.
(5) R/R&D Agreement between the SBC and RI (STTR only), counts as 1 page towards the 23-page limit.
(6) Briefing Chart, is not included in the 23-page limit (and must not contain proprietary data).
(7) NASA Research License Application is not included in the 23-page limit (only if TAV is being proposed).
Note: Letters of general endorsement are not required or desired and will not be considered during the review process. However, if submitted, such letter(s) will count against the page limit.
In addition to the above items, each offeror must submit the following firm level forms, which must be filled out once during each submission period and are applicable to all firm proposals submissions:
(8) Firm Level Certifications, are not included in the 23-page limit.
(9) Audit Information, is not included in the 23-page limit.
(10) Prior Awards Addendum, is not included in the 23-page limit.
(11) Commercial Metrics Survey, is not included in the 23-page limit.
Previews of all forms and certifications are available via the NASA SBIR/STTR Firm Library, located at: (https:/sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/sbir/firm_library/index.html).
Please note: Website references, relevant technical papers, product samples, videotapes, slides, or other ancillary items will not be considered during the review process.
No type size smaller than 10 point shall be used for text or tables, except as legends on reduced drawings. Proposals prepared with smaller font sizes will be rejected without consideration.
Header must include firm name, proposal number, and project title. Footer must include the page number and proprietary markings if applicable. Margins can be used for header/footer information.
NASA does not accept proposals that contain classified information.
All form submissions shall be done electronically, with each form counting as 1 page towards the 23-page limit and accounting for pages 1-3 of the proposal regardless of the length.
126.96.36.199 Cover Sheet (Form A)
A sample Cover Sheet (Form A) is provided in the NASA SBIR/STTR Firm Library (https:/sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/sbir/firm_library/index.html). The offeror shall provide complete information for each item and submit the form as required in section 6. The proposal project title shall be concise and descriptive of the proposed effort. The title should not use acronyms or words like "Development of" or "Study of." The NASA research topic title must not be used as the proposal title. Form A counts as one page towards the 23-page limit.
188.8.131.52 Proposal Summary (Form B)
A sample Proposal Summary (Form B) is provided in the NASA SBIR/STTR Firm Library (https:/sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/sbir/firm_library/index.html). The offeror shall provide complete information for each item and submit Form B as required in section 6. Form B counts as one page towards the 23-page limit.
Note: Proposal Summary (Form B), including the Technical Abstract, is public information and may be disclosed. Do not include proprietary information on Form B.
184.108.40.206 Budget Summary (Form C)
A sample of the Budget Summary (Form C) is provided in the NASA SBIR/STTR Firm Library (https:/sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/sbir/firm_library/index.html). The offeror shall complete the Budget Summary following the instructions provided with the sample form. The total requested funding for the Phase I effort shall not exceed $125,000. A text box is provided on the electronic budget form for additional explanation. Information shall be submitted to explain the offeror’s plans for use of the requested funds to enable NASA to determine whether the proposed price is fair and reasonable. Form C counts as one page towards the 23-page limit.
Note: The Government is not responsible for any monies expended by the firm before award of any contract.
3.2.4 Technical Proposal
This part of the submission should not contain any budget data and must consist of all eleven (11) parts listed below in the given order. All eleven parts of the technical proposal must be numbered and titled. Parts that are not applicable must be included and marked “Not Applicable.” A proposal omitting any part will be considered non-responsive to this solicitation and will be rejected during administrative screening. The required table of contents is provided below:
Phase I Table of Contents
Part 1: Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………….………Page 4
Part 2: Identification and Significance of the Innovation
Part 3: Technical Objectives
Part 4: Work Plan
Part 5: Related R/R&D
Part 6: Key Personnel and Bibliography of Directly Related Work
Part 7: Relationship with Phase II or Future R/R&D
Part 8: Facilities/Equipment
Part 9: Subcontracts and Consultants
Part 10: Potential Post Applications
Part 11: Essentially Equivalent and Duplicate Proposals and Awards
Part 1: Table of Contents
The technical proposal shall begin with a brief table of contents indicating the page numbers of each of the parts of the proposal and should start on page 4 because Forms A, B, and C account for pages 1-3.
Part 2: Identification and Significance of the Proposed Innovation
(1) The proposed innovation;
(2) the relevance and significance of the proposed innovation to a need or needs, within a subtopic described in section 9; and
(3) the proposed innovation relative to the state of the art.
Part 3: Technical Objectives
State the specific objectives of the Phase I R/R&D effort including the technical questions posed in the subtopic description that must be answered to determine the feasibility of the proposed innovation.
TAV Note: All offerors submitting proposals who are planning to use NASA IP must describe their planned developments with the IP. The NASA Research License Application should be added as an attachment at the end of the proposal and will not count towards the 23-page limit (See paragraph 1.6).
Part 4: Work Plan
Include a detailed description of the Phase I R/R&D plan to meet the technical objectives. The plan should indicate what will be done, where it will be done, and how the R/R&D will be carried out. Discuss in detail the methods planned to achieve each task or objective. Task descriptions, schedules, resource allocations, estimated task hours for each key personnel and planned accomplishments including project milestones shall be included.
STTR: In addition, the work plan will specifically address the percentage and type of work to be performed by the SBC and the RI. The plan will provide evidence that the SBC will exercise management direction and control of the performance of the STTR effort, including situations in which the PI may be an employee of the RI.
Part 5: Related R/R&D
Describe significant current and/or previous R/R&D that is directly related to the proposal including any conducted by the PI or by the offeror. Describe how it relates to the proposed effort and any planned coordination with outside sources. The offeror must persuade reviewers of his or her awareness of key recent R/R&D conducted by others in the specific subject area. As an option, the offeror may use this section to include bibliographic references.
Please note: On February 26, 2004, the President issued Executive Order 13329 (69 FR 9181) entitled “Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing.” In response to this Executive Order, NASA encourages the submission of proposals that deal with some aspect of innovative manufacturing technology. If a proposal has a connection to manufacturing this should be indicated in the Part 5 (Related R/R&D) of the proposal and a brief explanation of how it is related to manufacturing should be provided.
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 1203, stated that federal agencies shall give high priority to small business concerns that participate in or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development projects. If a proposal has a connection to energy efficiency or alternative and renewable energy this should be indicated in Part 5 (Related R/R&D) of the proposal. Provide a brief explanation of how it is related to energy efficiency and alternative and renewable energy.
Part 6: Key Personnel and Bibliography of Directly Related Work
Identify all key personnel involved in Phase I activities whose expertise and functions are essential to the success of the project. Provide bibliographic information including directly related education and experience.
The PI is considered key to the success of the effort and must make a substantial commitment to the project. The following requirements are applicable:
Functions: The functions of the PI are: planning and directing the project; leading it technically and making substantial personal contributions during its implementation; serving as the primary contact with NASA on the project; and ensuring that the work proceeds according to contract agreements. Competent management of PI functions is essential to project success. The Phase I proposal shall describe the nature of the PI's activities and the amount of time that the PI will personally apply to the project. The amount of time the PI proposes to spend on the project must be acceptable to the Contracting Officer.
Qualifications: The qualifications and capabilities of the proposed PI and the basis for PI selection are to be clearly presented in the proposal. NASA has the sole right to accept or reject a PI based on factors such as education, experience, demonstrated ability and competence, and any other evidence related to the specific assignment.
Eligibility: This part shall also establish and confirm the eligibility of the PI, and indicate the extent to which other proposals recently submitted or planned for submission in Fiscal Year 2015and existing projects commit the time of the PI concurrently with this proposed activity. Any attempt to circumvent the restriction on PIs working more than half time for an academic or a nonprofit organization by substituting an ineligible PI will result in rejection of the proposal. However, for an STTR the PI can be primarily employed by either the SBC or the RI. Please see section 1.5.3 for further explanation.
Part 7: Relationship with Future R/R&D
State the anticipated results of the proposed R/R&D effort if the project is successful (through Phase I and Phase II). Discuss the significance of the Phase I effort in providing a foundation for the Phase II R/R&D effort and for follow-on development, application and commercialization efforts (Phase III).
Part 8: Facilities/Equipment
Describe available equipment and physical facilities (this should include physical location [address of where the work is to be performed], square footage, and major equipment) necessary to carry out the proposed Phase I, projected Phase II, and projected Phase III efforts. Items of equipment or facilities to be purchased (as detailed in the cost proposal) shall be justified under this section.
Use of Non Federal Laboratory/facilities or equipment:
In accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Part 45, it is NASA's policy not to provide facilities (capital equipment, tooling, test and computer facilities, etc.) for the performance of work under SBIR/STTR contracts. Generally an SBC will furnish its own facilities to perform the proposed work on the contract. When a proposed project or product demonstration requires the use of a unique Federal facility that is not designated as a Federal laboratory to be funded by the SBIR/STTR Program, then the offeror shall provide a) a signed letter on company letterhead from the SBC Official explaining why the SBIR/STTR research project requires the use of the Federal facility or personnel, including data that verifies the absence of non-Federal facilities or personnel capable of supporting the research effort, and a statement confirming that the facility proposed is not a Federal laboratory b) a statement, signed by the appropriate Government official at the facility, verifying that it will be available for the proposed period of performance. If the proposed facility is not a Federal laboratory than a SBA waiver will be required. Proposals requiring waivers must explain why the waiver is appropriate. NASA will provide this request, along with an explanation to SBA during the negotiation process. NASA cannot guarantee that a waiver can be obtained from SBA. These letters should be uploaded in Form C of your proposal. Failure to provide this explanation and a written letter of availability from the Government official authorized to approve such use may invalidate any proposal selection.
Use of Federal Laboratory/facilities or equipment:
When a proposed project or product demonstration requires the use of a Federal laboratory then the offeror must provide a letter justifying the use of a Federal laboratory from the SBC official, as well as, a letter from the Government agency that verifies the availability. These letters should be uploaded in Form C of your proposal. Failure to provide a written letter of availability from the Government official authorized to approve such use of the Federal laboratory and the letter of justification from the SBC shall invalidate any proposal selection.
Part 9: Subcontracts and Consultants
Subject to the restrictions set forth below, the SBC may establish business arrangements with other entities or individuals to participate in performance of the proposed R/R&D effort. The offeror must describe all subcontracting or other business arrangements, and identify the relevant organizations and/or individuals with whom arrangements are planned. The expertise to be provided by the entities must be described in detail, as well as the functions, services, and number of hours. Offerors are responsible for ensuring that all organizations and individuals proposed to be utilized are actually available for the time periods proposed. Subcontract costs shall be documented in the subcontractor/consultant budget section in Form C and supporting documentation should be uploaded for each (appropriate documentation is specified in Form C). Subcontractors' and consultants' work has the same place of performance restrictions as stated in section 1.5.2.
The following restrictions apply to the use of subcontracts/consultants:
SBIR Phase I Subcontracts/Consultants
STTR Phase I Subcontracts/Consultants
The proposed subcontracted business arrangements must not exceed 33 percent of the research and/or analytical work (as determined by the total cost of the proposed subcontracting effort (to include the appropriate OH and G&A) in comparison to the total effort (total contract price including cost sharing, if any, less profit if any).
A minimum of 40 percent of the research or analytical work must be performed by the proposing SBC and minimum of 30 percent must be performed by the RI. Any subcontracted business effort other than that performed by the RI, shall not exceed 30 percent of the research and/or analytical work (as determined by the total cost of the subcontracting effort (to include the appropriate OH and G&A) in comparison to the total effort (total contract price including cost sharing, if any, less profit if any).
Example: Total price to include profit - $99, 500
Profit - $3,000
Total price less profit - $99,500 - $3,000 = $96,500
Subcontractor cost - $29,500
G&A - 5%
G&A on subcontractor cost - $29,500 x 5% = $1,475
Subcontractor cost plus G&A - $29,500 + $1,475 = $30,975
Percentage of subcontracting effort – subcontractor cost plus G&A / total price less profit - $30,975/$96,500 = 32.1%
For an SBIR Phase I this is acceptable since it is below the limitation of 33%.
For an STTR Phase I, where there is a subcontract with a company other than the RI, this is unacceptable since it is above 30% limitation.
Part 10: Potential Post Applications (Commercialization)
The Phase I proposal shall (1) forecast the potential and targeted application(s) of the proposed innovation and associated products and services relative to NASA needs (infusion into NASA mission needs and projects) (section 9), other Government agencies and commercial markets, (2) identify potential customers, and (3) provide an initial commercialization strategy that addresses key technical, market and business factors for the successful development, demonstration and utilization of the innovation and associated products and services. Commercialization encompasses the transition of technology into products and services for NASA mission programs, other Government agencies, and non-Government markets.
Part 11a: Essentially Equivalent and Duplicate Proposals and Awards
WARNING – While it is permissible with proposal notification to submit identical proposals or proposals containing a significant amount of essentially equivalent work for consideration under numerous Federal program solicitations, it is unlawful to enter into funding agreements requiring essentially equivalent work. Offerors are at risk for submitting essentially equivalent proposals and therefore, are strongly encouraged to disclose these issues to the soliciting agency to resolve the matter prior to award. See Part 11b.
If an applicant elects to submit identical proposals or proposals containing a significant amount of essentially equivalent work under other Federal program solicitations, a statement must be included in each such proposal indicating:
(1) The name and address of the agencies to which proposals were submitted or from which awards were received.
(2) Date of proposal submission or date of award.
(3) Title, number, and date of solicitations under which proposals were submitted or awards received.
(4) The specific applicable research topics for each proposal submitted for award received.
(5) Titles of research projects.
(6) Name and title of principal investigator or project manager for each proposal submitted or award received.
A summary of essentially equivalent work information is also required on Form A.
Part 11b: Related Research and Development Proposals and Awards
All federal agencies have a mandate to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in federally funded programs. The submission of essentially equivalent work and the acceptance of multiple awards for essentially equivalent work in the SBIR/STTR Program have been identified as an area of abuse and possibly fraud. SBIR/STTR funding agencies and the Office of the Inspector General are actively evaluating proposals and awards to eliminate this problem. Related research and development includes proposals and awards that do not meet the definition of “Essentially Equivalent Work” (see section 2.6), but are related to the technology innovation in the proposal being submitted. Related research and development could be interpreted as essentially equivalent work by outside reviewers without additional information. Therefore, if you are submitting closely related proposals or your firm has closely related research and development that is currently or previously funded by NASA or other federal agencies, it is to your advantage to describe the relationships between this proposal and related efforts clearly delineating why this should not be considered an essentially equivalent work effort. These explanations should not be longer than one page, will not be included in the page count, and will not be part of the technical evaluation of the proposal.
3.2.5 Research Agreement (Applicable for STTR proposals only)
The Research Agreement (different from the Allocation of Rights Agreement, section 2.1) is a single-page document electronically submitted and endorsed by the SBC and Research Institution (RI). A model agreement is provided, or firms can create their own custom agreement. The Research Agreement should be submitted as required in section 6. This agreement counts as one page toward the 23-page limit.
3.2.6 Briefing Chart
An electronic form will be provided during the submissions process. The one-page briefing chart is required to assist in the ranking and advocacy of proposals prior to selection. It is not counted against the 23-page limit, and shall not contain any proprietary data or ITAR restricted data.
3.2.7 Firm Level Certifications
Firm level certifications that are applicable across all proposal submissions submitted to this solicitation must be completed via the “Certifications” section of the Proposal Submission Electronic Handbook. The offeror shall answer Yes or No as applicable. An example of the certification can be found in the NASA SBIR/STTR Firm Library (https:/sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/sbir/firm_library/index.html).
Note: The designated Firm Admin, typically the first person to register your firm, is the only individual authorized to update the certifications.
3.2.8 Audit Information
The SBC shall complete the questions regarding the firm’s rates and upload the Federal agency audit report or related information that is available from the last audit. If your firm has never been audited by a federal agency, then answer "No" to the first question and you do not need to complete the remainder of the form. The “Audit Information” will be used to assist the contracting officer with negotiations if the proposal is selected for award. If the audit provided is not acceptable, they will be advised by the contracting officer on what is required to determine reasonable cost and/or rates. There is a separate “Audit Information” section in Forms C that shall also be completed. The audit information is not included in the 23-page limit. An electronic form will be provided during the submissions process.
Note: The designated firm admin, typically the first person to register your firm, is the only individual authorized to update the audit information.
3.2.9 Prior Awards Addendum
If the SBC has received more than 15 Phase II awards in the prior 5 fiscal years, submit name of awarding agency, date of award, funding agreement number, amount, topic or subtopic title, follow-on agreement amount, source, and date of commitment and current commercialization status for each Phase II. If your firm has received any SBIR or STTR Phase II awards, even if it has received fewer than 15 in the last 5 years, it is still recommended that you complete this form for those Phase II awards your firm did receive. This information will be useful when completing the Commercialization Metrics Survey, and in tracking the overall success of the SBIR and STTR programs. Any NASA Phase II awards your firm has received will be automatically populated in the electronic form, as are any Phase II awards previously entered by the SBC during prior submissions (you may update the information for these awards). The addendum is not included in the 23-page-limit. An electronic form will be provided during the submissions process.
Note: The designated firm admin, typically the first person to register your firm, is the only individual authorized to update the addendum information.
3.2.10 Commercial Metrics Survey
NASA has instituted a comprehensive commercialization survey/data gathering process for firms with prior NASA SBIR/STTR awards. If the SBC has received any Phase III awards resulting from work on any NASA SBIR or STTR awards, provide the related Phase I or Phase II contract number, name of Phase III awarding agency, date of award, funding agreement number, amount, project title, and period of performance. The survey will also ask for firm sales and ownership information, as well as any commercialization success the firm has had as a result of Phase II SBIR or STTR awards. This information will allow firms to demonstrate their ability to carry SBIR/STTR research through to achieve commercial success, and allow agencies to track the overall commercialization success of their SBIR and STTR programs. The survey is not included in the 23-page limit and content should be limited to information requested above. An electronic form will be provided during the submissions process.
Note: Information received from SBIR/STTR awardees completing the survey is kept confidential, and will not be made public except in broad aggregate, with no firm-specific attribution. The Commercialization Metrics Survey is a required part of the proposal submissions process and must be completed via the Proposal Submission Electronic Handbook
3.2.11 Allocation of Rights Agreement (STTR awards only)
No more than 10 business days after the notification of selection for negotiation, 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 the NASA SBIR/STTR Firm Library (https:/sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/sbir/firm_library/index.html) of this Solicitation.
If the ARA form is completed and available at the time of submission, offers should upload it in Form C, which will help to expedite contract negotiations.