';


Title 15 Part 292

Title 15 → Subtitle B → Chapter II → Subchapter K → Part 292

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 15 Part 292

e-CFR data is current as of October 17, 2019

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IISubchapter K → Part 292


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade


PART 292—MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP; INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS


Contents
§292.1   Program description.
§292.2   Training development and deployment projects.
§292.3   Technical tools, techniques, practices, and analyses projects.
§292.4   Information infrastructure projects.
§292.5   Proposal selection process.
§292.6   Additional requirements.

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 272 (b)(1) and (c)(3) and 278l.

Source: 60 FR 44751, Aug. 29, 1995, unless otherwise noted.

return arrow Back to Top

§292.1   Program description.

(a) Purpose. In accordance with the provisions of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 272 (b)(1) and (c)(3) and 278l), as amended, NIST will provide financial assistance to develop the infrastructure of the national manufacturing extension system. Under the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), NIST will periodically make merit-based awards to develop and deploy training capability and technical tools, techniques, practices, and analyses. In addition, NIST will develop and implement information infrastructure services and pilots. MEP assumes a broad definition of manufacturing, and recognizes a wide range of technology and concepts, including durable goods production; chemical, biotechnology, and other materials processing; electronic component and system fabrication; and engineering services associated with manufacturing, as lying within the definition of manufacturing.

(b) Announcements of solicitations. Announcements of solicitations will be made in the Commerce Business Daily. Specific information on the level of funding available and the deadline for proposals will be contained in that announcement. In addition, any specific industry sectors or types of tools and techniques to be focused on will be specified in the announcement, as well as any further definition of the selection criteria.

(c) Proposal workshops. Prior to an announcement of solicitation, NIST may announce opportunities for potential applicants to learn about these projects through workshops. The time and place of the workshop(s) will be contained in a Commerce Business Daily announcement.

(d) Indirect costs. The total dollar amount of the indirect costs proposed in an application under this program must not exceed the indirect cost rate negotiated and approved by a cognizant Federal agency prior to the proposed effective date of the award or 100 percent of the total proposed direct costs dollar amount in the application, whichever is less.

(e) Proposal format. The proposal must contain both technical and cost information. The proposal page count shall include every page, including pages that contain words, table of contents, executive summary, management information and qualifications, resumes, figures, tables, and pictures. All proposals shall be printed such that pages are single-sided, with no more than fifty-five (55) lines per page. Use 21.6 × 27.9 cm (812 × 11) paper or A4 metric paper. Use an easy-to-read font of not more than about 5 characters per cm (fixed pitch font of 12 or fewer characters per inch or proportional font of point size 10 or larger). Smaller type may be used in figures and tables, but must be clearly legible. Margins on all sides (top, bottom, left and right) must be at lease 2.5 cm. (1). Length limitations for proposals will be specified in solicitations. The applicant may submit a separately bound document of appendices, containing letters of support for the proposal. The proposal should be self-contained and not rely on the appendices for meeting criteria. Excess pages in the proposal will not be considered in the evaluation. Applicants must submit one signed original plus six copies of the proposal and Standard Form 424, 424A, and 424B (Rev 4/92), Standard Form LLL, and Form CD-511. Applicants for whom the submission of six copies presents financial hardship may submit one original and two copies of the application.

(f) Content of proposal. (1) The proposal must, at a minimum, include the following:

(i) An executive summary summarizing the planned project consistent with the Evaluation Criteria stated in this part.

(ii) A description of the planned project sufficient to permit evaluation of the proposal in accordance with the proposal Evaluation Criteria stated in this part.

(iii) A budget for the project which identifies all sources of funds and which breaks out planned expenditures by both activity and object class (e.g., personnel, travel, etc.).

(iv) A description of the qualifications of key personnel who will be assigned to work on the proposed project.

(v) A statement of work that discusses the specific tasks to be carried out, including a schedule of measurable events and milestones.

(vi) A completed Standard Form 424, 424A, and 424B (Rev 4-92) prescribed by the applicable OMB circular, Standard Form LLL, and Form CD-511, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; Drug-Free Workplace Requirements and Lobbying. SF-424, 424A, 424B (Rev 4-92), SF-LLL, and Form CD-511 will not be considered part of the page count of the proposal.

(2) The application requirements and the standard form requirements have been approved by OMB (OMB Control Number 0693-0005, 0348-0043 and 0348-0044).

(g) Applicable federal and departmental guidance. The Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audits are dependent upon type of Recipient organization as follows:

(1) Nonprofit organizations. (i) OMB Circular A-110—Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.

(ii) OMB Circular A-122—Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations.

(iii) 15 CFR Part 29b—Audit Requirements for Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations (implements OMB Circular A-133—Audits for Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations).

(2) State/local governments. (i) 15 CFR Part 24—Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments.

(ii) OMB Circular A-87—Cost Principles for State and Local Governments.

(iii) 15 CFR Part 29a—Audit Requirements for State and Local Governments (implements OMB Circular A-128—Audit of State and Local Governments).

(3) Educational institutions. (i) OMB Circular A-110—Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.

(ii) OMB Circular A-21—Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.

(iii) 15 CFR Part 29b—Audit Requirements for Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations (implements OMB Circular A-133—Audits for Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations).

(4) For-profit organizations. (i) OMB Circular A-110—Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.

(ii) 48 CFR Part 31—Federal Acquisition Regulation, Contract Cost Principles and Procedures.

(iii) 15 CFR Part 29b—Audit Requirements for Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations (implements OMB Circular A-133).

(h) Availability of forms and circulars. (1) Copies of forms referenced in this part may be obtained from the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Room C121, Building 301, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

(2) Copies of OMB Circulars may be obtained from the Office of Administration, Publications Office, 725 17th St., NW, Room 2200, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503.

return arrow Back to Top

§292.2   Training development and deployment projects.

(a) Eligibility criteria. In general, eligible applicants for these projects include all for-profit and nonprofit organizations including universities, community colleges, state governments, state technology programs and independent nonprofit organizations. However, specific limitations on eligibility may be specified in solicitations. Organizations may submit multiple proposals under this category in each solicitation for unique projects.

(b) Project objective. The purpose of these projects is to support the development and deployment of training programs which will aid manufacturing extension organizations in providing services to smaller manufacturers. While primarily directed toward the field agents/engineers of the extension organizations, the training may also be of direct use by the smaller manufacturers themselves. Specific industry sectors to be addressed and sub-categories of training may be specified in solicitations. Examples of training topic areas include, but are not limited to, manufacturing assessment functions, business systems management, quality assurance assistance, and financial management activities. Examples of training program deployment include, but are not limited to, organization and conduct of training courses, development and conduct of train-the-trainer courses, preparations and delivery of distance learning activities, and preparation of self-learning and technical-guideline materials. Projects must be completed within the scope of the effort proposed and should not require on-going federal support.

(c) Award period. Projects initiated under this category may be carried out over a period of up to three years. If an application is selected for funding, DOC has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with that award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of DOC.

(d) Matching requirements. Matching fund requirements for these proposals will be specified in solicitations including the breakdown of cash and in-kind requirements. For those projects not requiring matching funds, the presence of match will be considered in the evaluation under the Financial Plan criteria.

(e) Training development and deployment projects evaluation criteria. Proposals will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following criteria listed in descending order of importance:

(1) Demonstration that the proposed project will meet the training needs of technical assistance providers and manufacturers in the target population. The target population must be clearly defined and the proposal must demonstrate that it understands the population's training needs within the proposed project area. The proposal should show that the efforts being proposed meet the needs identified. Factors that may be considered include: A clear definition of the target population, size and demographic distribution; demonstrated understanding of the target population's training needs; and appropriateness of the size of the target population and the anticipated impact for the proposed expenditure.

(2) Development/deployment methodology and use of appropriate technology and information sources. The proposal must describe the technical plan for the development or deployment of the training, including the project activities to be used in the training development/deployment and the sources of technology and/or information which will be used to create or deploy the training activity. Sources may include those internal to the proposer or from other organizations. Factors that may be considered include: Adequacy of the proposed technical plan; strength of core competency in the proposed area of activity; and demonstrated access to relevant technical or information sources external to the organization.

(3) Delivery and implementation mechanisms. The proposal must set forth clearly defined, effective mechanisms for delivery and/or implementation of proposed services to the target population. The proposal also must demonstrate that training activities will be integrated into and will be of service to the NIST Manufacturing Extension Centers. Factors that may be considered include: Ease of access to the training activity especially for MEP extension centers; methodology for disseminating or promoting involvement in the training especially within the MEP system; and demonstrated interest in the training activity especially by MEP extension centers.

(4) Coordination with other relevant organizations. Wherever possible the project should be coordinated with and leverage other organizations which are developing or have expertise with similar training. If no such organizations exist, the proposal should show that this is the case. Applicants will need to describe how they will coordinate to allow for increased economies of scale and to avoid duplication. Factors that may be considered include: Demonstrated understanding of existing organizations and resources relevant to the proposed project; adequate linkages and partnerships with existing organizations and clear definition of those organizations' roles in the proposed activities; and that the proposed activity does not duplicate existing services or resources.

(5) Program evaluation. The applicant should specify plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed training activity and for ensuring continuous improvement of the training. Factors that may be considered include: Thoroughness of evaluation plans, including internal evaluation for management control, external evaluation for assessing outcomes of the activity, and “customer satisfaction” measures of performance.

(6) Management and organizational experience and plans. Applicants should specify plans for proper organization, staffing, and management of the implementation process. Factors that may be considered include: Appropriateness and authority of the governing or managing organization to conduct the proposed activities; qualifications of the project team and its leadership to conduct the proposed activity; soundness of any staffing plans, including recruitment, selection, training, and continuing professional development; and appropriateness of the organizational approach for carrying out the proposed activity.

(7) Financial plan. Applicants should show the relevance and cost effectiveness of the financial plan for meeting the objectives of the project; the firmness and level of the applicant's total financial support for the project; and a plan to maintain the program after the cooperative agreement has expired. Factors that may be considered include: Reasonableness of the budget, both in income and expenses; strength of commitment and amount of the proposer's cost share, if any; effectiveness of management plans for control of budget; appropriateness of matching contributions; and plan for maintaining the program after the cooperative agreement has expired.

return arrow Back to Top

§292.3   Technical tools, techniques, practices, and analyses projects.

(a) Eligibility criteria. In general, eligible applicants for these projects include all for profit and nonprofit organizations including universities, community colleges, state governments, state technology programs and independent nonprofit organizations. However, specific limitations on eligibility may be specified in solicitations. Organizations may submit multiple proposals under this category in each solicitation for unique projects.

(b) Project objective. The purpose of these projects is to support the initial development, implementation, and analysis of tools, techniques, and practices which will aid manufacturing extension organizations in providing services to smaller manufacturers and which may also be of direct use by the smaller manufacturers themselves. Specific industry sectors to be addressed and sub-categories of tools, techniques, practices, and analyses may be specified in solicitations. Examples of tools, techniques, and practices include, but are not limited to, manufacturing assessment tools, benchmarking tools, business systems management tools, quality assurance assistance tools, financial management tools, software tools, practices for partnering, techniques for urban or rural firms, and comparative analysis of assessment methods. Projects must be completed within the scope of the effort proposed and should not require on-going federal support.

(c) Award period. Projects initiated under this category may be carried out over a period of up to three years. If an application is selected for funding, DOC has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with that award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of DOC.

(d) Matching requirements. Matching fund requirements for these proposals will be specified in solicitations including the breakdown of cash and in-kind requirements. For those projects not requiring matching funds, the presence of match will be considered in the evaluation under the Financial Plan criteria.

(e) Tools, techniques, practices, and analyses projects evaluation criteria. Proposals from applicants will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following criteria listed in descending order of importance:

(1) Demonstration that the proposed project will meet the technical assistance needs of technical assistance providers and manufacturers in the target population. Target population must be clearly defined. The proposal must demonstrate that it understands the population's tool or technique needs within the proposed project area. The proposal should show that the efforts being proposed meet the needs identified. Factors that may be considered include: A clear definition of the target population, size and demographic distribution; demonstrated understanding of the target population's tools or technique needs; and appropriateness of the size of the target population and the anticipated impact for the proposed expenditure.

(2) Development methodology and use of appropriate technology and information sources. The proposal must describe the technical plan for the development of the tool or resource, including the project activities to be used in the tool/resource development and the sources of technology and/or information which will be used to create the tool or resource. Sources may include those internal to the proposer or from other organizations. Factors that may be considered include: Adequacy of the proposed technical plan; strength of core competency in the proposed area of activity; and demonstrated access to relevant technical or information sources external to the organization.

(3) Degree of integration with the manufacturing extension partnership. The proposal must demonstrate that the tool or resource will be integrated into and will be of service to the NIST Manufacturing Extension Centers. Factors that may be considered include: Ability to access the tool or resource especially for MEP extension centers; methodology for disseminating or promoting use of the tool or technique especially within the MEP system; and demonstrated interest in using the tool or technique especially by MEP extension centers.

(4) Coordination with other relevant organizations. Wherever possible the project should be coordinated with and leverage other organizations which are developing or have expertise on similar tools, techniques, practices, or analyses. If no such organizations exist, the proposal should show that this is the case. Applicants will need to describe how they will coordinate to allow for increased economies of scale and to avoid duplication. Factors that may be considered include: Demonstrated understanding of existing organizations and resources relevant to the proposed project; adequate linkages and partnerships with existing organizations and clear definition of those organizations' roles in the proposed activities; and that the proposed activity does not duplicate existing services or resources.

(5) Program evaluation. The applicant should specify plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed tool or technique and for ensuring continuous improvement of the tool. Factors that may be considered include: Thoroughness of evaluation plans, including internal evaluation for management control, external evaluation for assessing outcomes of the activity, and “customer satisfaction” measures of performance.

(6) Management experience and plans. Applicants should specify plans for proper organization, staffing, and management of the implementation process. Factors that may be considered include: Appropriateness and authority of the governing or managing organization to conduct the proposed activities; qualifications of the project team and its leadership to conduct the proposed activity; soundness of any staffing plans, including recruitment, selection, training, and continuing professional development; and appropriateness of the organizational approach for carrying out the proposed activity.

(7) Financial plan. Applicants should show the relevance and cost effectiveness of the financial plan for meeting the objectives of the project; the firmness and level of the applicant's total financial support for the project; and a plan to maintain the program after the cooperative agreement has expired. Factors that may be considered include: Reasonableness of the budget, both in income and expenses; strength of commitment and amount of the proposer's cost share, if any; effectiveness of management plans for control of budget; appropriateness of matching contributions; and plan for maintaining the program after the cooperative agreement has expired.

return arrow Back to Top

§292.4   Information infrastructure projects.

(a) Eligibility criteria. In general, eligible applicants for these projects include all for profit and nonprofit organizations including universities, community colleges, state governments, state technology programs and independent nonprofit organizations. However, specific limitations on eligibility may be specified in solicitations. Organizations may submit multiple proposals under this category in each solicitation for unique projects.

(b) Project objective. The purpose of these projects is to support and act as a catalyst for the development and implementation of information infrastructure services and pilots. These projects will aid manufacturing extension organizations and smaller manufacturers in accessing the technical information they need or will accelerate the rate of adoption of electronic commerce. Specific industry sectors to be addressed or subcategories of information infrastructure projects include, but are not limited to, pilot demonstration of electronic data interchange in a supplier chain, implementation of an electronic information service for field engineers at MEP extension centers, and industry specific electronic information services for MEP centers and smaller manufacturers.

(c) Award period. Projects initiated under this category may be carried out over a period of up to three years. If an application is selected for funding, DOC has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with that award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of DOC.

(d) Matching requirements. Matching fund requirements for these proposals will be specified in solicitations including the breakdown of cash and in-kind requirements. For those projects not requiring matching funds, the presence of match will be considered in the evaluation under the Financial Plan criteria.

(e) Information infrastructure projects evaluation criteria. Proposals from applicants will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following criteria listed in descending order of importance:

(1) Demonstration that the proposed project will meet the need of the target customer base. The target customer base must be clearly defined and, in general, will be technical assistance providers and/or smaller manufacturers. The proposal should demonstrate a clear understanding of the customer base's needs within the proposed project area. The proposal should also show that the efforts being proposed meet the needs identified. Factors that may be considered include: A clear definition of the customer base, size and demographic distribution; demonstrated understanding of the customer base's needs within the project area; and appropriateness of the size of the customer base and the anticipated impact for the proposed expenditure.

(2) Development plans and delivery/implementation mechanisms. The proposal must set forth clearly defined, effective plans for the development, delivery and/or implementation of proposed services to the customer base. The proposal must delineate the sources of information which will be used to implement the project. Sources may include those internal to the center (including staff expertise) or from other organizations. Factors that may be considered include: Adequacy of plans; potential effectiveness and efficiency of proposed delivery and implementation systems; demonstrated capacity to form effective linkages; partnerships necessary for success of the proposed activity; strength of core competency in the proposed area of activity; and demonstrated access to relevant technical or information sources external to the organization.

(3) Coordination with other relevant organizations. Wherever possible the project should be coordinated with and leverage other organizations which are developing or have expertise within the project area. In addition, the project should demonstrate that it does not duplicate efforts which already are being performed by the private sector without government support. Applicants will need to describe how they will coordinate to allow for increased economies of scale and to avoid duplication. If the proposer will not be partnering with any other organizations, then the proposal should clearly explain why the project will be more successful if implemented as proposed. A proposal which makes a credible case for why there are no, or very limited, partnerships will not be penalized in evaluation. Factors that may be considered include: Demonstrated understanding of existing organizations and resources relevant to the proposed project; Adequate linkages and partnerships with relevant existing organizations; clear definition of the roles of partnering organizations in the proposed activities; and that the proposed activity does not duplicate existing services or resources.

(4) Management and organizational experience and plans. Applicants should specify plans for proper organization, staffing, and management of the project. Factors that may be considered include: Appropriateness and authority of the governing or managing organization to conduct the proposed activities; qualifications of the project team and its leadership to conduct the proposed activity; soundness of any staffing plans, including recruitment, selection, training, and continuing professional development; and appropriateness of the organizational approach for carrying out the proposed activity.

(5) Financial plan. Applicants should show the relevance and cost effectiveness of the financial plan for meeting the objectives of the project; the firmness and level of the applicant's total financial support for the project; and the ability of the project to continue after the cooperative agreement has expired without federal support. While projects that appear to require on-going public support will be considered, in general, they will be evaluated lower than those which show a strong ability to become self-sufficient. Factors that may be considered include: Reasonableness of the budget, both in income and expenses; strength of commitment and amount of the proposer's cost share, if any; effectiveness of management plans for control of budget; appropriateness of matching contributions; and plan for maintaining the program after the cooperative agreement has expired.

(6) Evaluation. The applicant should specify plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed project and for ensuring continuous improvement. Factors that may be considered include: Thoroughness of evaluation plans, including internal evaluation for management control, external evaluation for assessing outcomes of the activity, and “customer satisfaction” measures of performance.

return arrow Back to Top

§292.5   Proposal selection process.

The proposal evaluation and selection process will consist of three principal phases: Proposal qualifications; proposal review and selection of finalists; and award determination as follows:

(a) Proposal qualification. All proposals will be reviewed by NIST to assure compliance with the proposal content and other basic provisions of this part. Proposals which satisfy these requirements will be designated qualified proposals; all others will be disqualified at this phase of the evaluation and selection process.

(b) Proposal review and selection of finalists. NIST will appoint an evaluation panel to review and evaluate all qualified proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteria and values set forth in this part. Evaluation panels will consist of NIST employees and in some cases other federal employees or non-federal experts who sign non-disclosure agreements. A site visit may be required to make full evaluation of a proposal. From the qualified proposals, a group of finalists will be numerically ranked and recommended for award based on this review.

(c) Award determination. The Director of the NIST, or her/his designee, shall select awardees based on total evaluation scores, geographic distribution, and the availability of funds. All three factors will be considered in making an award. Upon the final award decision, a notification will be made to each of the proposing organizations.

return arrow Back to Top

§292.6   Additional requirements.

Federal policies and procedures. Recipients and subrecipients are subject to all Federal laws and Federal and Department of Commerce policies, regulations, and procedures applicable to Federal financial assistance awards.

return arrow Back to Top