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(The official version of this notice will be published in the Federal Register. If there are any inconsistencies between this version and the version published in the Federal Register, the version published in the Federal Register is the correct document.)
Billing Code 3510-13
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Docket No.: 090306286-9288-01
Recovery Act National Institute of Standards and Technology Construction Grant Program
AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce
ACTION: Notice of Availability of Funds.
SUMMARY: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announces that it will hold a NIST Construction Grant Program competition under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is soliciting proposals for financial assistance.
DATES: A Letter of Intent is required and must be received no later than 3 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, June 25, 2009. A corresponding full proposal must be received no later than 3 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday, August 10, 2009. Review, selection, and grant award processing is expected to be completed in February 2010.
ADDRESSES: Letters of Intent may only be submitted by paper to: National Institute of Standards and Technology; 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 4701; Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4701. Full proposals may be submitted by paper and electronically. Paper Submissions: National Institute of Standards and Technology; 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 4701; Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4701. Electronic submissions: www.grants.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Lambis at 301-975-4447 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Information. The full Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement for this request for proposals contains detailed information and requirements for the program. Proposers are strongly encouraged to read the FFO in developing proposals. The full FFO announcement text is available at http://www.grants.gov and on the NIST Recovery Act Web site at http://www.nist.gov/recovery.
Statutory Authority. The statutory authority for this program is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) (Public Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 115).
CFDA. 11.618, NIST Construction Grant Program
Program Description. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) (Public Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 115) appropriated $180 million to NIST "for a competitive construction grant program for research science buildings." Additional information on the program was provided on page 418 of the Conference Report to accompany House Report 111-16 (Feb. 12, 2009), which indicated that ". . . $180,000,000 shall be for the competitive construction grant program for research science buildings, including fiscal year 2008 and 2009 competitions."
Consistent with the Conference Report language NIST intends to issue grant awards for approximately $60 million to unfunded meritorious proposals submitted under the fiscal year 2008 competition and issue grant awards for approximately $120 million under a new fiscal year 2009 competition.
The goals and objectives of the program are to provide competitively awarded grant funds for research science buildings through the construction of new buildings or expansion of existing buildings. For purposes of this program, "research science building" means a building or facility whose purpose is to conduct scientific research, including laboratories, test facilities, measurement facilities, research computing facilities, and observatories. In addition, "expansion of existing buildings" means that space to conduct scientific research is being expanded from what is currently available for the supported research activities.
Consistent with Section 3 of the Recovery Act, the projects undertaken through this program will result in the preservation of jobs and the promotion of economic recovery; the provision of investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances; and the investment in infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. Activities will be commenced as quickly as possible while ensuring prudent management.
The follow projects are unallowable/ineligible under this program:
The following items, regardless of whether they are allowable under the Federal cost principles, are unallowable under this program:
Limit on Proposals per Applicant. Proposals are limited to one per applicant organization. Distinct academic campuses (that award their own degrees, have independent administrative structures, admission policies, alumni associations, etc.) within multi-campus systems qualify as separate institutions.
Funding Availability. Approximately $120 million is available for new grants for the FY 2009 competition. NIST anticipates funding 8-12 projects with Federal shares in the $10 million - $15 million range with a project period of performance of up to five (5) years, although there is an expectation that most of the projects will be completed prior to five years. The anticipated start date will be one month after the award is made. The period of performance depends on the construction schedule proposed.
Eligibility Criteria. U.S. institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.
Cost-Sharing Requirements. Although cost sharing is not required, NIST encourages cost sharing in order for a proposal to be competitive, and it will be considered as part of the Selection Factors. A cost share of 25% would be viewed favorably, 50% even more favorably.
The purchase of land cannot be used as cost sharing. See also section IV.6. Funding Restrictions of the Federal Funding Opportunity.
Evaluation Criteria. The evaluation criteria that will be used in evaluating proposals are as follows:
Letters of Intent
Each eligible organization can submit only one Letter of Intent in response to this solicitation. A Letter of Intent, in paper form only, is mandatory and must be received by NIST no later than 3 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, June 25, 2009. If a full proposal is submitted to NIST from an applicant who did not submit the required Letter of Intent, the full proposal will be rejected and not reviewed. It is expected that the Letter of Intent, which is to provide an overview of responsible personnel and estimated costs, will be reviewed for eligibility, and whether or not the project complements one or more of the program priorities. NIST will send an acknowledgement of the Letter of Intent to all applicants who timely submit a Letter of Intent. The information required in a Letter of Intent is provided in the full FFO announcement for this request for proposals.
Each applicant organization may only submit one Letter of Intent. Submission of multiple Letters of Intent from one applicant organization is not allowed. If more than one Letter of Intent is received from the same applicant organization, NIST will acknowledge each Letter of Intent received from the same applicant organization and provide notice that if more than one full proposal is received from the same applicant organization at the time of full proposal submission, all full proposals from that same applicant organization will be rejected without review.
An initial administrative review of timely received full proposals will be conducted to determine compliance with requirements and completeness. Responsive and complete proposals will be considered further. Proposals that are nonresponsive and/or incomplete will be eliminated. Each of the remaining proposals will receive a minimum of three independent reviews, which will include written evaluations and scores, based on the evaluation criteria. Reviews concerning evaluation criteria b. and c. above may be performed by non-Federal Engineers or Architects. No consensus advice will be given by the reviewers. The individual proposal evaluations and scores will be considered by an Evaluation Board(s) (a committee made up of Federal employees). This Board(s) will present rankings in numerical order and funding recommendations based on the evaluation criteria to a Selecting Official for further consideration. In making final selections, the Selecting Official (Chief Facilities Management Officer, NIST) will select funding recipients based upon the Evaluation Board’s rank order of the proposals and the selection factors. The selection of proposals by the Selecting Official is final and cannot be appealed. NIST reserves the right to negotiate the cost and scope of the proposed work with the applicants that have been selected to receive awards. This may include requesting that the applicant delete from the scope of work a particular task that is deemed by NIST to be inappropriate for support (or of a lower priority compared with competing uses of funds) against the evaluation criteria or selection factors. NIST also reserves the right to reject a proposal where information is uncovered that raises a reasonable doubt as to the responsibility of the applicant. The final approval of selected proposals and award of grants will be made by the NIST Grants Officer. The award decision of the NIST Grants Officer is final and cannot be appealed.
Applicants may not submit replacement and/or revised pages and/or documents for any portion of a proposal once that portion has been submitted unless specifically requested by NIST.
One copy of each incomplete, nonresponsive, or non-selected proposal will be retained for three (3) years for record keeping purposes and the other two (2) copies will be destroyed. After three (3) years the remaining copy will be destroyed.
Selection Factors. The Selecting Official shall recommend proposals for award based upon the Evaluation Board’s rank order of the proposals, and may select a proposal out of rank based on one or more of the following selecting factors:
All applicable fields of science that complement one or more programs of DoC's three science organizations: NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Specifically, these include science related to measurements, oceans and atmosphere, and telecommunications. More information about those programs can be found on the agencies' Web sites (www.nist.gov, www.noaa.gov, and www.ntia.doc.gov).
Proposals are only required to link to the program priorities of one of the three DoC science organizations. Proposals that address program priorities of more than one organization are not considered to be more competitive.
Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs). Proposals under this program are not subject to Executive Order 12372.
Administrative Procedure Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act. Prior notice and comment are not required under 5 U.S.C. § 553, or any other law, for rules relating to public property, loans, grants, benefits or contracts (5 U.S.C. §553(a)). Because prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §553 or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. et seq.) are inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and has not been prepared.
E.O. 13132 (Federalism). This notice does not contain policies with Federalism implications as defined in Executive Order 13132.
E.O. 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review). This notice is determined to be not significant under Executive Order 12866.
Paperwork Reduction Act. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to, comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number. This notice contains collection-of-information requirements subject to the PRA. The use of Form NIST-1101, NIST Construction Grant Program Budget Narrative, NIST-1101A, NIST Construction Grant Program Budget Narrative, and NIST-1101B, NIST Construction Grant Program Details on Unallowable Project Costs, have been approved under OMB Control No. 0693-0055; and SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance, SF-424C, Budget Information – Construction Programs, SF-424D, Assurances – Construction Programs, and SF-LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, have been approved by OMB under the respective control numbers 4040-0004, 4040-0008, 4040-0009, and 0348-0046.
Security Interest. Grant recipients will be required to execute a security interest or other statement of NIST’s interest in the property (building), acceptable to NIST, which must be perfected and placed on record in accordance with local law. This security interest will provide that, for the estimated useful life of the building (20 years), the recipient will not sell, transfer, convey, or mortgage any interest in the real property improved in whole or in part with Federal funds made available under the award, nor shall the recipient use the property for purposes other than the purposes for which the award was made, without the prior written approval of the Grants Officer. Such approval may be withheld until such time as the recipient first pays to NIST the Federal share of the property as provided in 15 CFR Part 14.
DoC Pre-Award Notification Requirements. The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements, which are contained in the Federal Register Notice of February 11, 2008 (73 FR 7696-01), are applicable to this solicitation.
Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number and Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System. On the form SF-424 items 8.b. and 8.c., the applicant’s 9-digit Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN/TIN) and 9-digit Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number must be consistent with the information on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) (www.ccr.gov) and Automated Standard Application for Payment System (ASAP). For complex organizations with multiple EIN/TIN and DUNS numbers, the EIN/TIN and DUNS number MUST be the numbers for the applying organization. Organizations that provide incorrect/inconsistent EIN/TIN and DUNS numbers may experience significant delays in receiving funds if their proposal is selected for funding. Please confirm that the EIN/TIN and DUNS number are consistent with the information on the CCR and ASAP.
National Environmental Policy Act. The Department must analyze the potential environmental impacts, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for applicant projects or proposals which are seeking Recovery Act funding. General information on compliance with NEPA can be found at the following websites: http://www.nepa.noaa.gov, and the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) NEPAnet, http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/nepanet.htm.
Consequently, as part of an applicant's proposal, and under their description of their program activities, applicants are required to provide detailed information on the activities to be conducted, safety concerns, locations, site characteristics, surrounding environment, species and habitat that might be affected, construction activities, and any environmental concerns that may exist (e.g., the use and disposal of hazardous or toxic chemicals, impacts to endangered and threatened species, or any social, economic or cultural impacts to the surrounding environment) and in accordance with the required NIST-1101B, NIST Construction Grant Program Environmental Compliance Questionnaire.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain all necessary Federal, state, and local government permits and approvals where necessary for the proposed work to be conducted. Applicants are expected to design their projects so that they minimize the potential for adverse impacts to the environment. Applicants will also be required to cooperate with the Department in identifying feasible measures to reduce or avoid any identified adverse environmental impacts of their proposed project. The failure to do so will be grounds for not awarding a grant.
Documentation of requests/completion of required environmental authorizations and permits, including the Endangered Species Act, if applicable, should be included in the proposal. Applications will be reviewed to ensure that they contain sufficient information to allow Department staff to conduct a NEPA analysis so that appropriate NEPA documentation, required as part of the proposal, can be submitted to the NIST Grants and Agreements Management Division along with the recommendation for funding for selected applications.
Applicants proposing activities that cannot be covered by a Program Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or whose activities are not covered under another agency’s NEPA compliance procedures that can be analyzed and adopted for use by the Department, will be informed after the technical review stage to determine if NEPA compliance and other requirements can otherwise be expeditiously met so that a project can proceed within the timeframes anticipated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
If additional information is required after an application is accepted, funds can be withheld by the Grants Officer under a special award condition requiring the recipient to submit additional environmental law compliance information sufficient to enable the Department to make an assessment on any impacts that a project may have on the environment.
Notification of Recovery Act Requirements. Recovery Act limitations are applicable to the projects funded under this Notice. Recipients must comply with the following three provisions of the Recovery Act, as applicable, and any other terms required by the Act or that may be added to the recipient’s award pursuant to guidance implemented by the Office of Management and Budget.
Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. The agency intends to implement this program in compliance with Office of Management and Budget guidance on the President’s Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies of March 20, 2009. Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds, 74 FR 12531 (Mar. 25, 2009), when such guidance becomes available.
Best Practices to Promote Equality of Opportunity. Pursuant to OMB Guidance (see, e.g., "Updated Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," April 3, 2009) and consistent with the Recovery Act and other applicable laws, DoC encourages recipients to implement best practices to promote equality of opportunity, to provide opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, including veteran-owned small businesses and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and to follow sound labor practices.
Reporting. Award Recipients shall provide access to information that is required to assess the project's progress throughout the project life cycle. The following reports are required:
Recipients that must report information in accordance with paragraph (4) above must register with the Central Contractor Registration database (http://www.ccr.gov/) or complete other registration requirements as determined by the Director of OMB. Section 1512(d) further requires that no later than thirty (30) days after the end of each calendar quarter, NIST must make the information in reports submitted under section 1512(c) of the Recovery Act as outlined above publicly available by posting the information on a Web site. OMB Memo M-09-10, "Initial Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," which can be accessed at http://www.recovery.gov/, provides information on requirements for Federal agencies under the Recovery Act. Additional guidance may be forthcoming related to responsibilities of recipients of grants and cooperative agreements under the Recovery Act.
Reporting requirements are described in the Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions dated March, 2008, found on the Internet at: http://oamweb.osec.doc.gov/docs/GRANTS/DOC%20STCsMAR08Rev.pdf.
The references to Financial Reporting Form SF-269 in the DoC Standard Terms & Conditions, A.01 and B.01, are hereby replaced with the SF-425, "Federal Financial Report," as required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (73 FR 61175, October 15, 2008). As authorized under 15 CFR §§ 14.52 and 24.41, the OMB approved SF-425 shall be used in the place of the SF-269 and SF-272 under the uniform administrative requirements and elsewhere under awards in this program where such forms are referenced.
Dated: May 26, 2009