Title 15


290.8 Reviews of centers.

§ 290.8 Reviews of centers.

(a) Overview. Each Center will be reviewed at least annually, and at the end of its third year of operation according to the procedures and criteria set out below. There will be regular management interaction with NIST and the other Centers for the purpose of evaluation and program shaping. Centers are encouraged to try new approaches, must evaluate their effectiveness, and abandon or adjust those which do not have the desired impact.

(b) Annual reviews of centers. Centers will be reviewed annually as part of the funding renewal process using the criteria set out in § 290.8(d). The funding level at which a Center is renewed is contingent upon a positive program evaluation and will depend upon the availability of federal funds and on the Center's ability to obtain suitable match, as well as on the budgetary requirements of its proposed program. Centers must continue to demonstrate that they will be self-supporting after six years.

(c) Third year review of centers. Each host receiving a Center Operating Award under these procedures shall be evaluated during its third year of operation by a Merit Review Panel appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. Each such Merit Review Panel shall be composed of private experts, none of whom shall be connected with the involved Center, and Federal officials. An official of NIST shall chair the panel. Each Merit Review Panel shall measure the involved Center's performance against the criteria set out in § 290.8(d). The Secretary shall not provide funding for the fourth through the sixth years of such Center's operation unless the evaluation is positive on all grounds. As a condition of receiving continuing funding, the Center must show evidence at the third year review that they are making substantial progress toward self-sufficiency. If the evaluation is positive and funds are available, the Secretary of Commerce may provide continued funding through the sixth year at declining levels, which are designed to insure that the Center no longer needs financial support from NIST by the seventh year. In no event shall funding for a Center be provided by the NIST Manufacturing Technology Centers Program after the sixth year of support.

(d) Criteria for annual and third year reviews. Centers will be evaluated under the following criteria in each of the annual reviews, as well as the third year review:

(1) The program objectives specified in § 290.3(b) of these procedures;

(2) Funds-matching performance;

(3) The extent to which the target firms have successfully implemented recently developed or currently developed advanced manufacturing technology and techniques transferred by the Center;

(4) The extent to which successes are properly documented and there has been further leveraging or use of a particular advanced manufacturing technology or process;

(5) The degree to which there is successful operation of a network, or technology delivery mechanism, involving the sharing or dissemination of information related to manufacturing technologies among industry, universities, nonprofit economic development organizations and state governments.

(6) The extent to which the Center can increasingly develop continuing resources - both technological and financial - such that the Centers are finally financially self-sufficient.