Joint-Agency SBIR Funding Opportunity Announcement

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), (http://www.defenselink.mil/)
National Science Foundation (NSF) (http://www.nsf.gov/)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
National Center on Research Resources (NCRR)

DOD
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

NSF
Division of Industrial and Partnerships (IIP)

USDA
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate/ Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA)

Funding Opportunity Title

Robotics Technology Development and Deployment [RTD2] (R43)

Activity Code

R43 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant - Phase I only

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices

  • October 6, 2010 - See Notice NOT-OD-11-011 The purpose of this Notice is to correct the name and link of the division of the National Science Foundation that is participating in the joint agency SBIR FOA.
  • September 30, 2010 - See Notice NOT-OD-11-009 Electronic Submission Reminders for Those Considering Submitting in Response to FOA.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-10-279

Companion FOA

None

Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Catalog of Federal Domestics Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.113; 93.361; 93.867; 93.286; 93.846; 93.173; 93.172; 93.853; 93.242; 93.859; 93.866; 93.856; 93.879; 93.121; 93.389; 93.837; 93.865; 93.396; 47.041 (NSF ENG); 12.910 (DARPA); 10.212 (USDA); 97.065 (DHS HSARPA)

FOA Purpose

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security encourage applications for the development of technologies that will advance the field of robotics.

Scientific interests for this joint-agency FOA include, but are not limited to, research directed towards innovations or advancements in robotic technologies and devices for: Robotics for Home Healthcare, Personalized Care for Special-needs Populations, and Robotic Wellness/Health Promotion; Robot-Assisted Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Behavioral Therapy; High-throughput Robotics Technologies; Better Than Biology Actuators; Patient Mobility and Rehabilitation Robotics; Dexterous Manipulators with Tactile Feedback; Multi-Agent Command, Coordination, and Communication; Robotic Co-Worker Assistive Technologies; robotics to render improvised explosive devices safe; and robotics for cross border tunnels. Specific areas of interests under this FOA are described under Section I.


Key Dates
Posted Date

 September 14, 2010

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

November 20, 2010

Letter of Intent Due Date

November 20, 2010

Application Due Date(s)

December 20, 2010, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

Feb-Mar 2011

Advisory Council Review

August 2011 (Applicable to NIH Only)

Earliest Start Date(s)

September 2011

Expiration Date

December 21, 2010

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose

The purpose of this pilot joint-agency Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) initiative is to highlight trans-agency efforts around broad topic areas supported under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and to coordinate with broader Administration initiatives around national priorities (e.g., robotics, etc.). The five agencies participating in this FOA invite eligible United States small business concerns (SBCs) to submit Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications focused on the robotics technology area.  

Background

Currently, the following Federal agencies administer SBIR programs: Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Education (ED), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Department of Transportation (DOT).  The statutory purpose of the SBIR program is to strengthen the role of innovative small business concerns (SBCs) in Federally-funded research or research and development (R/R&D).  Specific program purposes are to:  (1) stimulate technological innovation; (2) use small businesses to meet Federal R/R&D needs; (3) foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantages SBCs, and by SBCs that are 51 percent owned and controlled by women, in technological innovation; and (4) increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity and economic growth

The SBIR Program is structured in three phases, the first two of which are supported using SBIR funds.  The objective of Phase I, which is the focus of this FOA, is to establish the technical/scientific merit and feasibility of the proposed R/R&D efforts.  The objective of Phase II is to continue the research or R&D efforts initiated in Phase I.  The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the SBC to pursue with non-SBIR funds (either Federal or non-Federal) the commercialization objectives resulting from the results of the R/R&D funded in Phases I and II.  In some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on, non-SBIR funded R&D, or production contracts for products or processes intended for use by the U.S. Government.

The competition for SBIR Phase I (and Phase II awards) satisfies the competition requirement of the Armed Services Procurement Act, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, and the Competition in Contracting Act.  Therefore, an agency that wishes to fund an SBIR Phase III project is not required to conduct another competition in order to satisfy those statutory provisions.  As a result, in conducting actions relative to a Phase III SBIR award, it is sufficient to state for purposes of a Justification and Approval pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) 6.302-5 that the project is a SBIR Phase III award that is derived from, extends, or logically concludes efforts performed under prior SBIR funding agreements and is authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2304(b)(2) or 41 U.S.C. 253(b)(2).

At least annually, each agency must issue a program solicitation that identifies the R/R&D topics and subtopic areas consistent with stated agency needs.  As a result, entrepreneurs and SBCs currently search 11 different agency sites to find solicitations with R/R&D topics that may be relevant for them.  The intent of this joint-agency FOA is to pilot a process whereby five participating agencies work together to ease the burden of finding funding opportunities to support robotics technologies. Advantages of this joint-agency FOA include:  enhancing broader government-wide initiatives in areas of national priorities; educating small business entrepreneurs about cross-agency topic similarities, as well as differences; simplifying the process to “find and apply” for funding opportunities (i.e., one FOA, one set of forms, one due date, etc.); facilitating collaboration and potential co-funding across agencies; maximizing agencies’ use of its SBIR set-aside funds; and minimizing the potential for duplicative funding of projects that would otherwise be submitted to different agencies.

This joint-agency FOA, issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with DARPA, NSF, USDA, and DHS participation, will utilize the SBIR grant program.  The NIH, DARPA, NSF, USDA, and DHS invite SBCs to submit SBIR Phase I grant applications in the area of robotics.

Current and Emerging Need in Robotics Technology Development:

Tremendous progress in robotics technology development over the past five to ten years has unleashed new opportunities for automating tasks and enriching the lives of humans.   Robotics technology markets have grown rapidly and now span many diverse industries including military, medicine, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, and consumer products.

Robotics has emerged as a priority area because:

Small businesses are playing an important role in the development of robotic technology and applications.  As such, five SBIR agencies have collaborated to help launch this joint-agency robotics FOA. 

Examples of Specific Areas of Interests of SBIR/STTR Participating Agencies: NIH, DARPA, NSF, USDA and DHS

The research topics shown below in this joint-agency FOA represent program areas that may be of interest to applicant small business concerns in the development of robotics-related technology projects that have potential for commercialization. Small business concerns are encouraged to submit SBIR grant applications in these areas. However, potential applicants should note these are not meant to be an all-inclusive list and investigator-initiated ideas are also encouraged.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

About NIH: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary U.S. Federal agency for conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research. Helping to lead the way toward important medical discoveries that will improve health and save lives, NIH-supported scientists investigate ways to prevent disease as well as the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. The NIH supports development of robotic applications to surgery, health intervention, prostheses, rehabilitation, behavioral therapy, personalized care and wellness/health promotion.  The most significant challenges will be in addressing safety issues, especially for applications to be used in home settings and surgical settings where integration of complex systems will be required.  Development of robotic applications is important to NIH because of the potential significant impact on healthcare in the future.

NIH scientific interests for this joint-agency FOA include, but are not limited to, research directed towards innovations or advancements in robotic technologies and devices for:

1) Home care, Personalized Care for Special-needs Populations, and Robotic Wellness/Health Promotion. Robotics technologies to support and improve quality of life, well-being, and the ability of older adults or individuals with mobility impairment to live independently and safely at home.  Examples include the following areas:

2) Robot-Assisted Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Behavioral Therapy. Examples include the following areas:

3) Surgical and Interventional Robots.  Examples include the following areas:

4) High-throughput Robotics Technologies. Examples include the following areas:

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

About DARPA: DARPA’s mission is to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use. Over the years, DARPA has worked to enhance our national security by funding research and technology development that not only have improved our military capabilities but have changed the way we live. Since the very beginning, DARPA has been the place for people with innovative ideas that lead to groundbreaking discoveries.

DARPA’s scientific interests for this joint-agency FOA include but are not limited to the following research areas:

Better Than Biology Actuators

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate novel robot actuators that exceed the safety and efficacy of human muscle.

DESCRIPTION:  For robots to be compelling partners for human beings, they must be as safe and as effective as their human counterparts. Amongst the most challenging mechanical robotic components to design are actuators. While current robot actuators perform adequately on a subset of the performance metrics of safety and efficacy, when compared to human muscle, present actuators do not perform adequately.  DARPA seeks novel actuators that meet or exceed the safety and efficacy of human muscle. To be safe, an actuator must have low minimum stiffness and low stored energy, even during fault conditions. To be effective, an actuator must have high force density, high (potentially logarithmic) force resolution, sufficient bandwidth, and be robust against unexpected collision. In addition, DARPA seeks approaches that do not rely on exotic or expensive materials or processes, and approaches exhibiting potential for low-cost manufacturing.

PHASE I:  Develop a conceptual design of an actuator that simultaneously meets or exceeds the safety and efficacy of human muscle.  The actuation system shall be applicable to manipulation (for example, a highly articulated hand), to mobility (for instance, multi-limbed locomotors), or to both. Simulate the actuator and compare its performance—including packaging, energy conversion and modulation—to the minimum stiffness, power density, stress, strain, and efficiency of human muscle.  Deliverables include (1) a conceptual design document containing specifications for the actuator system, and (2) a Phase I report that includes (a) a comparison of the actuator system to human muscle, and (b) a Phase II plan.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

About NSF: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 (Public Law 81-507) set forth NSF's mission and purpose: “To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense...”

The Act authorized and directed NSF to initiate and support:

Over the years, NSF's statutory authority has been modified in a number of significant ways. In 1968, authority to support applied research was added to the Organic Act. In 1980, The Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act gave NSF standing authority to support activities to improve the participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Another major change occurred in 1986, when engineering was accorded equal status with science in the Organic Act.

NSF has always dedicated itself to providing the leadership and vision needed to keep the words and ideas embedded in its mission statement fresh and up-to-date. Even in today's rapidly changing environment, NSF's core purpose resonates clearly in everything it does: promoting achievement and progress in science and engineering and enhancing the potential for research and education to contribute to the Nation. While NSF's vision of the future and the mechanisms it uses to carry out its charges have evolved significantly over the last four decades, its ultimate mission remains the same.

Robotics represents one of the few technologies capable of leading humanity to envision living in worlds imagined by futurists, in building whole new industries and companies, creating new jobs and in the long run addressing critical issues such as demographic trends and aging societies. For thoughtful public investments in robotics, it is imperative to craft multi-agency solicitations in areas such as visual object recognition, dexterity and manipulation, new sensor modalities, distributed/networked (“cloud”) robotics, haptic and bio-inspired feedback, and awareness/social interaction with humans. Researchers already use algorithms developed for self-repairing robots to uncover scientific laws hidden in raw data and in the creation of robot scientists, machines that independently discover new scientific knowledge (open science meets robotics), to learn about consciousness and creativity by teaching robots to work, to make robots self-aware and aware of their environments, and machines that can make other machines. Related research areas involve robot evolution, creation of trust in human-robot interactions, collaborative robotics, real time and bio-inspired control, and semi-autonomous tele-robotics.

NSF’s scientific interests for this joint-agency FOA include but are not limited to the following research area:

Robotics research frontiers can be envisaged in rehabilitative/assistive robotics; naturally inspired, biomimetic, neuromechanical robotics; and social robotics. Robotics pursuits are largely conceptualized in terms of today’s sensing, actuation and power capabilities.  Fundamental research advances must be made in materials, manufacturing, signal processing, MEMS/NEMS devices, neural control, social-assist robots, simulators, robots for training/learning processes and energy harvesting techniques. The other fundamental understanding that is essential to design better robots that have near human capability is a basic theory of human motor control, and to reverse engineer the brain (how humans make decisions). Robotics will become critical in healthcare. Human haptic research is essential, including concepts for protecting human hands (in various extreme environmental conditions), enhancing human limbs (e.g. dexterity, communication, proximetry), cognitive orthotics, and neuro-mechanical engineering.

The disabled and elderly have severe problems with mobility.  Wheel chairs and scooters provide mobility but confine the patient to a seated position which prevents them from speaking eye to eye with peers in conversation, from reaching objects on the stove in the kitchen, and from reaching top shelves in cabinets.  Lifting wheel chairs are rare, expensive, and not well engineered. The disabled and elderly have difficulty in getting from bed to a chair, to the toilet, or to a shower or bath, and back.  Care givers often suffer back injuries from attempting to lift heavy patients in and out of bed, or even from attempting to change sheets while the patient is in the bed.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

About USDA: President Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862, and since then the USDA has provided leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. USDA aims to expand economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production sustainability that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve and conserve our nation’s natural resources through restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is the principal extramural science agency in USDA and the grant awarding agency for this solicitation.  The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.

The following are the FY 2010-2015 USDA strategic goals: (more information can be found at http://www.usda.gov/ocfo/usdasp/usdasp.htm)

  1. Strategic Goal 1: Assist Rural Communities to Create Prosperity so They Are Self-Sustaining, Repopulating, and Economically Thriving
  2. Strategic Goal 2: Ensure Our National Forests and Private Working Lands Are Conserved, Restored, and Made More Resilient to Climate Change, While Enhancing Our Water Resources
  3. Strategic Goal 3: Help America Promote Agricultural Production and Biotechnology Exports as America Works to Increase Food Security
  4. Strategic Goal 4: Ensure that All of America’s Children Have Access to Safe, Nutritious, and Balanced Meals

The continuing trends of increasing labor cost and decreasing labor availability, combined with an increasing consumer desire for a safe and high quality food supply, the pressure of global competition, and the need to minimize agriculture’s environmental footprint, represent challenges for sustaining agricultural productive capacity in the US.  Producers and processors are urgently seeking new devices and systems which will aid them during production, harvesting, sorting, storing, processing, packaging, marketing, and transportation while also minimizing overall costs.

Currently, there is a lack of effective and efficient sensors and automation systems for agriculture.  This situation exists partly because agricultural robotic systems must operate in highly variable, unstructured environments that vary greatly from commodity to commodity.  Furthermore, the sensing systems required to make robotics truly useful still lack the flexibility and robustness needed to perform a variety of operations across vastly different environments.  New, more sophisticated robotics must successfully emulate human ability to perform tasks requiring hand-eye coordination, tactile sensing, and split-second decision making, and be robust enough for application to several operations in order to be commercially viable.

Competitive proposals will include the participation of appropriate application specialists with expertise in the integration of automation/robotics to commercial plant or animal production and/or protection, and address the potential for commercial application of the research.

Other factors of interest include the potential of non-agriculture specific projects to help innovate agriculture and food systems. Proposals must cover only scientific/technological research activities. USDA will not make awards that duplicate research funded (or to be funded) by other Federal agencies.  In the event that two or more applications are of approximately equal merit, the existence of a Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA) between one of the applicants and a USDA laboratory will be an important consideration

USDA/NIFA interests for this joint-agency FOA include, but are not limited to, research directed toward innovations and advancements in robotic technologies and devices, both systems and components, for:

1.    High-Throughput Robotic Technologies.  Examples include the following areas:

2.    Dexterous Manipulators with Tactile Feedback.  Examples include the following areas:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

About DHS: The Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, established the Department of Homeland Security as an executive department of the United States.  The Department is responsible for securing the Nation from the many threats it faces.  Specifically, the five homeland security missions are:  preventing terrorism and enhancing security; securing and managing our borders; enforcing and administering our immigration laws; safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and ensuring resilience to disasters.  Enhancing the use of science and technology underpins our national efforts to fulfill these missions.

The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is the primary research and development arm of DHS.  Its mission is to improve homeland security by providing to customers state-of-the-art technology that helps them achieve their mission.  S&T customers include the operating components of the Department, and state, local, tribal and territorial emergency responders and officials. 

Fostering innovative approaches and solutions through leading-edge science and technology. the DHS S&T Directorate’s SBIR Program’s scientific interests for this joint-agency FOA include research directed towards innovations or advancements in robotic technologies and devices in support of the following two program areas:  counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and cross border tunnels.

1.    The Respond/Defeat Program conducts R&D to better respond to and defeat explosive threats.  The Program develops technologies through basic and applied homeland security research, as well as through transition projects, to promote revolutionary changes to deliver advanced tools and technologies to increase the operational capabilities of the State and local bomb squads to defeat and mitigate improvised explosive devices (IEDs).  Particular emphasis is on technologies to remotely or robotically access, diagnose, and render safe IEDs.  Specific areas of research include:

2.    For cross-border tunnel surveillance, detection, exploitation, and mitigation, areas of research include, but are not limited to, the following research areas:

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grants, contracts, or other instruments, depending on the participating agencies policies

Application Types Allowed
 

New (Phase I)
Resubmissions, Revisions, and Renewals are not permitted under this FOA)

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon funds available within each participating agency, and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Applications submitted in response to this FOA will compete with all other recommended SBIR applications within the respective awarding agency.

Award Budget

Budgets up to $100,000 total costs for Phase I may be requested.

Note: NIH, DARPA, and NSF SBIR awardees may be eligible for an administrative supplement award from the agency that issued the award.  NIH will provide specific details about the supplemental award opportunity through a Notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. DARPA and NSF will provide such information through their respective Web sites. USDA and DHS will not make supplemental awards.

Award Project Period

Duration of award periods is normally 6 months for Phase I.

Projects selected for award under this joint-agency FOA will be managed by the individual participating agencies. If selected for an award, an agency participating in this joint-agency FOA may request that a revised budget and agency-specific forms be submitted in accordance with the requirements for that awarding agency.

NIH: NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this joint-agency FOA.

DARPA: PHASE I OPTION. DARPA has implemented the use of a Phase I Option that may be exercised to fund interim Phase I activities while a Phase II effort is being negotiated.  Only Phase I companies selected for Phase II will be eligible for the Phase I Option.  The Phase I Option covers activities over a period of up to four months and should describe appropriate Phase II activities that may lead to the successful demonstration of a product or technology. Phase I awards and options are subject to the availability of funds. DARPA will provide specific instructions with regard to procedures its Phase I awardees funded under this FOA must follow to be considered for the Phase I option.

USDA: All USDA Phase I awards will be issued as research grants in accordance with the guidelines contained in 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308, the authority contained in Section 630 of the Act making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies’ programs for fiscal year ending September 30, 1987 and for other purposes, as made applicable by Section 101(a) of Public Law Number 99-591, 100 Stat. 3341.  This program is administered by the NIFA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the USDA. NIFA anticipates making up to five awards under this FOA.  There is no commitment by NIFA to fund any particular application, to support any specific number of applications, or to make a specific number of awards. Applicants selected for funding will be provided additional instructions from USDA.   

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications for this opportunity. A small business concern is one that, at the time of award of Phase I and Phase II, meets all of the following criteria:

  1. 1.  Is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;

  2. Is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there can be no more than 49 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;

  3. Is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States,  or it must be a for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by another for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States, except in the case of a joint venture, where each entity to the venture must be 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States; and;

  4. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.

SBCs must also meet the other regulatory requirements found in 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both. Business concerns include, but are not limited to, any individual (sole proprietorship) partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, or cooperative. The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for detailed eligibility information.

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations must complete the following registrations as described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. Applicants must have a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin each of the following registrations.

All Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs) must also work with their institutional officials to register with the eRA Commons or ensure their existing eRA Commons account is affiliated with the eRA Commons account of the applicant organization.

All registrations must be completed by the application due date. Applicant organizations are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least four (4) weeks prior to the application due date.

Eligible Individuals (Project Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

Under the SBIR program, for both Phase I and Phase II, the primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. For projects with multiple PD/PIs, at least one must meet the primary employment requirement. Occasionally, deviations from this requirement may occur

The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for specific details on eligibility requirements. For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, see Multiple Principal Investigators section of the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

2. Cost Sharing

This joint-agency FOA does not require cost sharing.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

Similar grant applications with essentially the same research focus from the same applicant organization will not be accepted. This includes derivative or multiple applications that propose to develop a single product, process, or service that, with non-substantive modifications, can be applied to a variety of purposes. Applicants may not simultaneously submit identical/essentially identical applications under both this funding opportunity and any other federal funding opportunity, including each participating agencies' general SBIR and STTR solicitations.

Any application in response to this joint-agency FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review will not be accepted unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.

Contractual/Consortium Arrangements

 In Phase I, normally, a minimum of two-thirds or 67% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 33% of the total amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

In Phase II, normally, a minimum of one-half or 50% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 50% of the total Phase II amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties in Phase I or Phase II will be the total of the requested costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of SF424 (R&R) application forms.
Additional details are contained in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide

USDA: For both Phase I and Phase II, the research or research and development must be performed in the United States. However, based on a rare and unique circumstance, USDA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) approval may be granted to perform a particular portion of the research or research and development work outside of the United States, for example if a supply of material or other item or project requirement is not available in the united States. The USDA-ADO, after consultation with the agency SBIR National Program Leader, must approve each such specific condition in writing

 Planning for Phase II:  Note: This section is for planning purposes only.

Although this FOA is only for Phase I applications, small businesses should be aware of the following agency policies and procedures with regard to Phase II applications.

NIH: An NIH Phase I awardee may submit a Phase II application either before or after expiration of the Phase I budget period. To maintain eligibility to seek Phase II support, a Phase I awardee should submit a Phase II application within the first six due dates following the expiration of the Phase I budget period.

NIH Phase I grantees funded under this joint-agency FOA and who wish to apply for a Phase II award will need to use the NIH Parent SBIR FOA (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir.htm.)

Other Agencies: In addition to the information provided below, Phase I awardees funded under this joint-agency FOA will receive specific instructions with regard to Phase II submissions.

DARPA Program Managers may invite Phase I performers to submit a Phase II proposal based upon the success of the Phase I effort to meet the technical goals of the topic, as well as the overall merit based upon the criteria contained in this solicitation. Phase II proposals will be evaluated in accordance with the same evaluation criteria provided in this solicitation. Due to limited funding, DARPA reserves the right to limit awards under any topic and only proposals considered to be of superior quality will be funded. DARPA reserves the right to award contracts, grants, or Other Transaction Agreement for Phase II.

DHS uses the invitation process to accomplish an expeditious review leading to a Phase II award.  A Phase II proposal can be submitted only by a Phase I awardee and only in response to a request from the Contracting Officer.  Phase II proposals shall be submitted in accordance with instructions provided at the time of invitation. DHS is not liable for any costs expended by the applicant prior to award of a contract.

DHS Phase II Proposal Format. A Phase II proposal can be submitted only by a Phase I awardee and only in response to a request from the Contracting Officer.  DHS S&T Directorate Program Managers may recommend that Phase I participants be invited to submit Phase II proposals based upon site visits, the monthly and/or final reports, and progress made towards the accomplishment of Phase I technical objectives and plans for Phase II.  Not all Phase I participants will be invited to submit a Phase II proposal.  The number of Phase II proposal invitations will depend upon the number of Phase I awards, the availability of funding, and the quality of the Phase I research.  DHS reserves the right to invite all, some, or none of the Phase I awardees to submit Phase II proposals.

Phase II proposal format instructions will be provided with the Phase II invitation notice.  Phase II proposals will be reviewed and evaluated for overall merit based upon the criteria below in decreasing order of importance:

  1. The soundness, technical merit, and innovation of the proposed approach and its incremental progress toward the topic solution.
  2. The potential for commercial (Government or private sector) application and the benefits expected to accrue from this commercialization.
  3. The qualifications of the proposed principal/key investigators, supporting staff, and consultants.  Qualifications include not only the ability to perform the research and development but also the ability to commercialize the results.
  4. The cost realism and reasonableness of the cost proposal.

Final decisions will be made by DHS based upon the scientific and technical evaluations and other factors, including a commitment for Phase III follow-on funding, the possible duplication with other research or research and development, program balance, budget limitations, and the potential of a successful Phase II effort leading to a product of continuing interest to DHS.  No funding for direct reimbursement of the Phase II proposal development costs will be allowed.  DHS is not obligated to make any awards under Phase II, and all awards are subject to the availability of funds.  The number of Phase II awards will depend upon the results of the Phase I efforts and availability of funds.  DHS anticipates that approximately 30 percent of its Phase I awards will result in Phase II projects.  This is merely an advisory estimate and DHS reserves the right and discretion not to award any or to award less than or more than this percentage.  DHS reserves the right to award contracts, grants, or other instruments for Phase II awards.  DHS is not liable for any costs expended by the applicant prior to award of a contract, grant, or other instrument.

Phase II proposals will be subject to a technical review process similar to Phase I.  Final decisions will be made by DHS based upon the scientific and technical evaluations using the criteria contained in this joint-agency solicitation, as well as other factors, including:  a commitment for Phase III follow-on funding; the possible duplication with other research or research and development; program balance; budget limitations; and the potential of a successful Phase II effort leading to a product of continuing interest to DHS.  DHS is not obligated to make any awards under Phase II, and all awards are subject to the availability of funds.  DHS is not liable for any costs expended by the applicant prior to award of a contract, grant, or other instrument.

USDA Program Managers will provide specific details to its Phase I awardees funded under this FOA with regard to Phase II submissions.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

NIH is the receiving agency for applications under this joint-agency FOA. Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this joint-agency FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains assists agency staff with estimating the potential review workload and planning the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

Descriptive title of proposed research
Name, address, and telephone number of the PD(s)/PI(s)
Names of other key personnel
Participating institutions
Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Louis Quatrano, Ph. D.
Program Director, BSRE, NCMRR
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Blvd, Rm 2A03, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Office:  301-402-4221
Email: QuatranoL@mail.nih.gov

Email is preferred. Please place “Robotics Joint FOA LOI” in the email subject line.

Required and Optional Components

The forms package associated with this joint-agency FOA includes all applicable components, mandatory and optional.  Please note that some components marked optional in the application package are required for application submission. Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide to ensure you complete all appropriate “optional” components.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

PHS 398 Research Plan Component

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

 Appendix

 Note that Phase I SBIR Appendix materials are not permitted

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit in advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications via Grants.gov, the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

NIH: All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  For NIH awards, pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

DARPA: Phase I, Phase I options, Phase II and Phase II options are subject to the availability of funds. Due to limited funding, DARPA reserves the right to limit awards under any topic and only proposals considered to be of superior quality will be funded.

DHS: The number of Phase I awards will depend upon the availability of funding and the quality of the proposed research.  DHS reserves the right to fund all, some, or none of the Phase I applications relevant to its mission.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

As the issuing organization, NIH will be responsible for the receipt, referral and coordination of the review of all applications submitted under this joint-agency FOA. 

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Instructions. Paper applications will not be accepted. 

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders:

All PD/PIs must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF 424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the NIH Center for Scientific. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

Cover Letter: Given that the area of robotics cross-cuts multiple participating agencies in this joint-agency FOA, applicants are encouraged to include a cover letter with their application, in accordance with the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide. The cover letter is only for internal use and will not be shared with peer reviewers. The letter should contain any of the following information that applies to the application:

  1. Application title.
  2. Funding Opportunity (PA) title of the NIH initiative.
  3. Request of an assignment (referral) to a particular participating awarding component(s) (NIH Institute or Center, other agency).
  4. List of individuals (e.g., competitors) who should not review your application and why.
  5. Disciplines involved, if multidisciplinary.
  6. For late applications (see Late Application policy in Section 2.14) include specific information about the timing and nature of the cause of the delay.
  7. When submitting a Changed/Corrected Application after the submission date, a cover letter is required explaining the reason for the Changed/Corrected Application. If you already submitted a cover letter with a previous submission and are now submitting a Changed/Corrected Application, you must include all previous cover letter text in the revised cover letter attachment. The system does not retain any previously submitted cover letters until after an application is verified; therefore, you must repeat all information previously submitted in the cover letter as well as any additional information.
Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-10-115.,

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process of applications received under this joint-agency FOA. All eligible applications submitted will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field?  If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved?  How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Does the proposed project have commercial potential to lead to a marketable product, process or service?

Investigator(s)

Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?     

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? 

If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?   

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangement?   

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

Not Applicable under this joint-agency FOA.

Renewals

Not Applicable under this joint-agency FOA.

Phase IIB Applications

Not Applicable under this joint-agency FOA.

Revisions

Not Applicable under this joint-agency FOA.

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact/priority score.

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate NIH Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the Center for Scientific Review  (assignments will be shown in the eRA Commons), in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications will:

NOTE: During the referral process, NIH will use a two-letter “Joint Agency” code (JT) to identify applications that are relevant to the mission of, and may be considered for funding by, another participating agency.

NIH, DARPA, NSF USDA, and DHS staff will give careful consideration to applications relevant to their mission in making funding decisions. There is no commitment by any participating federal agency to fund any particular application, to support any specific number of applications, or to make a specific number of awards.

Applications selected for award by participating agencies will be transferred to those agencies to administer the awards. 

NIH: Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by an appropriate national Advisory Council. Note that this second level of review applies only to NIH.

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

DARPA: Phase I proposals will be evaluated on a competitive basis and will be considered to be binding for six (6) months from the date of closing of this solicitation unless the applicant states otherwise.  If selection has not been made prior to the proposal's expiration date, applicants will be requested as to whether or not they want to extend their proposal for an additional period of time.  Proposals meeting stated solicitation requirements will be evaluated by government scientific or technical personnel knowledgeable in the topic area. 

Proposals found to be relevant will then be evaluated using the criteria contained in this solicitation. DARPA may elect to fund several or none of the proposed approaches to the same topic.  In the evaluation and handling of proposals, every effort will be made to protect the confidentiality of the proposal and any evaluations.  There is no commitment by DARPA to make any awards on any topic, to make a specific number of awards or to be responsible for any monies expended by the proposer prior to award of a contract or grant.

The applicant's attention is directed to the fact that non-Government advisors to the Government may review and provide support in proposal evaluations during source selection. Non-government advisors may have access to the applicant's proposals, may be utilized to review proposals, and may provide comments and recommendations to the Government's decision makers. These advisors will not establish final assessments of risk and will not rate or rank applicant's proposals. They are also expressly prohibited from competing for DARPA SBIR or STTR awards in the SBIR/STTR topics they review and/or provide comments on to the Government. All advisors are required to comply with procurement integrity laws and are required to sign Non-Disclosure and Rules of Conduct/Conflict of Interest statements. Non-Government technical consultants/experts will not have access to proposals that are labeled by their proposers as "Government Only."

For proposals that have been selected for award, a Government Contracting or Granting Officer will draw up an appropriate contract or grant to be signed by both parties before work begins.  Any negotiations that may be necessary will be conducted between the applicant and the Government Contracting or Granting Officer.  It should be noted that only a duly appointed Contracting or Granting Officer has the authority to enter into a contract or issue a grant on behalf of the U.S. Government. 

Phase II proposals will be subject to a technical review process similar to Phase I.  Final decisions will be made by DARPA based upon the scientific and technical evaluations using the criteria contained in this solicitation.  DARPA is not responsible for any monies expended by the proposer prior to award of a contract or grant.

As funding is limited, DARPA reserves the right to select and fund only those proposals considered to be of superior quality and highly relevant to the DARPA mission.  As a result, DARPA may fund more than one proposal in a specific topic area if the quality of the proposals is deemed superior and are highly relevant to the DARPA mission, or it may not fund any proposals in a topic area. 

Restrictive notices notwithstanding, proposals may be handled, for administrative purposes only, by support contractors. All support contractors are bound by appropriate non-disclosure agreements.

DARPA will select proposals for funding based on potential benefit to DARPA and proposals offering the best value to the Government. 

Technical reviewers will base their conclusions only on information contained in the proposal.  It cannot be assumed that reviewers are acquainted with the firm or key individuals or any referenced experiments.  Relevant supporting data such as journal articles, literature, including Government publications, etc., should be contained or referenced in the proposal and will count toward the applicable page limit.

The responsibility for implementing DARPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program rests with the Small Business Programs Office.

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY
Attention: DIRO/SBPO
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA  22203-1714
(703) 526-4170
Home Page http://www.darpa.mil/sbpo

USDA: Final decisions will be made by USDA based upon the rating assigned by reviewers in consideration of the technical and commercial potential of the application, duplication of research, any critical USDA requirements, resubmission and budget limitation. In the event that two or more proposals are of approximately equal merit, the existence of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between one of the applicants and a USDA laboratory will be an important consideration. 

DHS: In addition to the reviewers ratings, the DHS staff will give careful consideration to the following when making funding recommendations/decisions:  (1) the soundness, technical merit, and innovation of the proposed approach and its incremental progress toward topic or subtopic solution; (2) the qualifications of the proposed principal/key investigators, supporting staff, and consultants -- the qualifications include not only the ability to perform the research and development but also the ability to commercialize the results; and (3) the potential for commercial (Government or private sector) application and the benefits expected to accrue from this commercialization. Further, cost realism and reasonableness will be assessed.  In order to be considered for funding, applications must be relevant to the DHS mission.

Restrictive notices notwithstanding, the applications/proposals may be handled, for administrative purposes only, non-government personnel.  In all cases, personnel handling applications/proposals will be bound by appropriate non-disclosure agreements to protect proprietary and source-selection information.  In the evaluation and handling of applications, every effort will be made to protect the confidentiality of the application and any reviews/evaluations.  Restrictive notices notwithstanding, proposals may be handled, for administrative purposes only, by support contractors.

Phase I proposals will binding for six (6) months from the date of closing of this joint-agency FOA unless the applicant states otherwise.  If selection has not been made prior to the application's expiration date, applicants will be requested as to whether or not they want to extend their proposal for an additional period of time.  Applications meeting stated joint-agency FOA requirements will be evaluated by government scientific or technical personnel knowledgeable in the subject area.  An application that meets the needs of DHS’s interest in will be considered relevant. 

Applications found to be relevant will be evaluated using the DHS-specific criteria contained in this joint-agency FOA . Final decisions will be made based upon these criteria and consideration of other factors including possible duplication of other work and program balance.  There is no commitment by DHS to make any awards in the robotics topics of interest, to make a specific number of awards, or, to be liable for any costs expended by the applicant prior to award of any award instrument. 

For applications that have been selected for award, a Government Contracting or Granting Officer will prepare a contract or grant to be signed by both parties before work begins.  Any negotiations that may be necessary will be conducted between the applicant and the Government Contracting or Granting Officer.  It should be noted that only a duly appointed Contracting or Granting Officer has the authority to enter into a contract or issue a grant on behalf of the U.S. Government. 

Phase II proposals will be subject to a technical review process similar to Phase I.  Final decisions will be made by DHS based upon the scientific and technical evaluations using the criteria contained in this joint-agency solicitation, as well as other factors, including:  a commitment for Phase III follow-on funding; the possible duplication with other research or research and development; program balance; budget limitations; and the potential of a successful Phase II effort leading to a product of continuing interest to DHS.  DHS is not obligated to make any awards under Phase II, and all awards are subject to the availability of funds.  DHS is not liable for any costs expended by the applicant prior to award of a contract, grant, or other instrument. 

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons

Information regarding the disposition of NIH applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

NIH: If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee business official.  Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

DARPA: Funding Decision Notification. All letters notifying applicants of selection or non-selection will be sent via e-mail to the person listed as the “Corporate Official” on the proposal.

DHS: Funding Decision Notification. Notification of selection or non-selection for funding will be sent via e-mail to the persons listed on the Cover Sheet (i.e., principal investigator and company point of contact). No funding for direct reimbursement of the Phase I application development costs will be allowed.  DHS S&T reserves the right to select for award and fund all, some, or none of the applications received in response to this joint-agency FOA.  The number of Phase I awards will be consistent with the S&T Directorate’s budget and the number of anticipated Phase II awards.  DHS reserves the right to award contracts, grants, or other instruments for Phase I awards.

USDA: Funding Decision Notification. Applicants selected for funding will be provided additional instructions from USDA.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

NIH: All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NGA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

DARPA: DARPA grant awards are issued with standard DARPA terms and conditions.  A copy of these standard terms and conditions can be found at http://www.darpa.mil/cmo/pdfs/exhibit_a___apr_08.pdf. DARPA contract awards are issued in accordance with the terms of the FAR.

DHS: DHS grant awards are issued with standard DHS terms and conditions.  DHS contract awards are issued in accordance with the terms of the FAR.

USDA:  USDA grant awards are made subject to specific terms and conditions. The terms and conditions generally applicable to awards under the SBIR Grants Program may be found at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/business/awards/awardterms.html.

3. Reporting

NIH: NIH requires that SBIR grantees submit the following reports within 90 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension.

Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI. For details about each specific required report, see the section on “Award Guidelines, Reporting Requirements, and Other Considerations,” in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

DARPA: DARPA requires that SBIR grantees submit the following reports within 90 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension.

DHS: Reporting requirements will be dependent on the funding instrument used.  For example, if a contract is awarded, monthly reports, invoices and a final report will be required.  Reporting requirements and/or deliverable requirements will be provided at the time of selection notification.  For planning purposes, a Phase I applicant to this joint-agency FOA should plan on submitting monthly reports every 30 days after the project start date, and a final report normally within 15 days after completion of the Phase I technical effort.

USDA: USDA Phase I grantees are required to submit the following technical reports.

(1)  Interim Technical progress report – This report must be submitted at approximately the mid-point in the project.
(2)  Comprehensive final technical report – This report must be submitted within 90 days following expiration of the Phase I grant.

For up to date information on reporting requirements, please see the terms and conditions generally applicable to awards under the SBIR Grants Program at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/business/awards/awardterms.html..

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.  

Application Submission Contacts

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading or navigating forms)
Contact Center Phone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone 301-435-0714
TTY 301-451-5936
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

eRA Commons Help Desk(Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, tracking application status, post submission issues)
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Peer Review Information

Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

Sponsoring Component

Scientific/Research Contact

Financial/Grants Mgmt. Contact

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Dr. Michael-David A.R.R. Kerns
Phone:  301-496-9322 
Fax:     301-402-2945
Email: Michael-David.Kerns@nih.gov

Ms. Linda Whipp
Phone:  301-496-1472
Fax:     301-402-3672
Email:  Linda.Whipp@nih.gov

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(NIAID)

Dr. Gregory Milman
Phone:  301-496-8666 
Fax:     301-402-0369
Email:  Gregory.Milman@nih.gov

Mr. Michael Wright
Phone:  301-451-2688
Fax: 301-493-0597
Email: mawright@mail.nih.gov

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Xibin Wang, Ph.D.
Phone:  (301) 594-5055
Fax: (301) 480-1284
Email: wangx1@mail.nih.gov  

Mr. Erik (Timothy) Edgerton
Phone:   301-594-3968 
Fax:      301-480-5450
Email:   edgertont@mail.nih.gov

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

Mr. John Haller
Phone:  301-594-3009 
Fax:     301-480-1614
Email:  hallerj@mail.nih.gov

Ms. Florence Turska
Phone:  301-496-9314 
Fax:     301-480-4974
Email:  turskaf@mail.nih.gov

National Cancer Institute
(NCI)

Mr. David Beylin
Phone:  301-496-0079
Fax: 301- 496-0079
Email:  beylind@mail.nih.gov

Ms. Rosemary Ward
Phone:  301-496-3182  
Fax: 301-496-8662
Email: wardros@mail.nih.gov

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD)

Dr. Louis A. Quatrano
Phone:  301-402-4221 
Fax:     301-402-0832
Email: Louis.Quatrano@nih.gov

Mr. Ted Williams
Phone:    301-435-6966
Fax:       301-451-5110
Email:    williate@mail.nih.gov

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
(NIDCD)

Dr. Roger Miller
Phone:  301-402-3458
Fax:     301-402-6251
Email: Roger.Miller@nih.gov  

Mr. Christopher P. Myers
Phone:   301-435-0713 
Fax:     301-402-1758
Email:  Christopher.Myers@nih.gov

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
(NIDCR)

Dr. R. Dwayne Lunsford
Phone :  301-594-2421 
Fax: 301-480-8319
Email:  lunsfordr@mail.nih.gov

Ms. Mary Daley-Greenwood
Phone:  301-594-4808 
Fax:     301-480-3562
Email:  mary.daley@nih.gov

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
(NIEHS)

Dr. Daniel Shaughnessy
Phone:  919-541-2506 
Fax: 919-541-4606
Email:  shaughn1@niehs.nih.gov

Ms. Pamela Clark
Phone:  919-541-7629 
Fax: 919-541-2860
Email: evans3@niehs.nih.gov

National Eye Institute (NEI)

Dr. Jerome R. Wujek
Phone:  301-451-2020 
Fax:     301-496-2297
Email:  wujekjer@nei.nih.gov

Mr. William Darby
Phone:  301-451-2020 
Fax: 301-496-9997
Email: wwd@nei.nih.gov 

National Institute of General Medical Sciences
(NIGMS)

Dr. Matthew E.  Portnoy
Phone:    301-594-0943
Fax:         301-480-2228
Email:    mportnoy@nigms.nih.gov

Ms. Patrice Molnar
Phone:  301-594-5136 
Fax: 301-480-2554
Email: molnarp@nigms.nih.gov

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI)

Ms. Susan Pucie
Phone:  301-435-0079 
Fax:     301-480-0867
Email: Susan.Pucie@nih.gov  

Mr. Robert Vinson, Jr.
Phone:   (301) 4...
Fax:  (301) 451-5462
Email: Robert.Vinson@nih.gov 

National Human Genome Research Institute
(NHGRI)

Dr. Jeff Schloss
Phone:  301-496-7531 
Fax:     301-480-2770
Email:  Jeffery_Schloss@nih.gov  

Ms. Cheryl Chick
Phone:  301-435-7858 
FAX: 301-402-1951
Email: ChickC@mail.nih.gov 

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Dr. Margaret Grabb
Phone:  301-443-3563
Fax:     301-443-1731
Email:  mgrabb@mail.nih.gov

Ms. Rebecca Claycamp
Phone:  301-443-2811 
Fax: 301-443-6885
Email: rclaycam@mail.nih.gov   

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
(NINDS)

Dr. Daofen Chen
Phone:   301-496-9964
Fax: 301- 480-1080
Email: chend@ninds.nih.gov

Ms. Tijuanna DeCoster, MPA
Phone:  301-496-9231 
Fax: 301-402-0219
Email:  decostert@mail.nih.gov  

National Institute of Nursing Research
(NINR)

Dr. Paul Cotton
Phone:  301-402-6423
Fax:     301-480-8260
Email: Paul.Cotton@nih.gov

Mr. Brian Albertini
Phone:  301-594-6869 
Fax: 301-402-4502
Email: albertib2@mail.nih.gov

National Center for Research Resources
(NCRR)

Ms. Lili M. Portilla, MPA
Phone:    301-451-1467
Fax:         301-480-3658
E-mail     LiliP@NIH.GOV

Ms. Leslie Le
Phone:  301-435-0856 
Fax: 301-480-3777
Email: LeLeslie@mail.nih.gov   

National Library of Medicine
(NLM)

Dr. Jane Ye
Phone:  301-594-4882 
Fax: 301-402-2952
Email: yej@mail.nih.gov

Mr. Dwight Mowery
Phone:  301-496-4221 
Fax: 301-402-0421
Email: mowerd@mail.nih.gov

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Dr. Gill Pratt
Defense Sciences Office
Phone: 571-218-4614
Fax: 703-807-1743
Email: Gill.pratt@darpa.mil
Regina Courtney (Assistant)
Phone: 703-526-4044
Fax: 703-807-1707
Email: regina.courtney.ctr@darpa.mil

Lisa Mattocks
National Business Center
U.S. Department of the Interior
Phone: 520.533.8944
Fax: 520.538.3761
Email: Lisa_A_Mattocks@nbc.gov
www.aqd.nbc.gov

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Dr. Murali Nair
703 292-7059
Email. Mnair@nsf.gov

Mrs. Jamie French
703 292-8644
Jhfrench@nsf.gov

 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Dr. Daniel Schmoldt
Phone:  202-720-4807
Fax: 202-401-5179
Email: dschmoldt@nifa.usda.gov

Mr. Scott Dockum
Phone: 202-401-4995
Fax: 202-401-6070
Email: sdockum@nifa.usda.gov

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate

Counter IEDs:
Dr. Joseph Foster
Email:  joe.foster@dhs.gov
Cross Border Tunnel:
Mr. Ed Turner
Email:  Edward.turner@hq.dhs.gov

Ms. Elissa I. Sobolewski
DHS SBIR Program Director
Phone:  202-254-6768
Fax:  202-254-6170
Email: elissa.sobolewski@dhs.gov


Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Awards issues by other agencies are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in their policy documents.

Authority and Regulations

The SBIR Program is mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorizing legislation (P.L. 99-443) and P.L. 102-564 (Small Business Research and Development Act).

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92 The SBIR Program is mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorizing legislation (P.L. 99-443) and P.L. 102-564 (Small Business Research and Development Act). The basic design of the NIH SBIR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive.

FOR USDA: This program is issued pursuant to the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982, Pub. L. No. 97-219, as amended (15 U.S.C. 638) and Section 630 of the Act making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies’ programs for fiscal year ending September 30, 1987, and for other purposes, as made applicable by Section 101(a) of Pub. L. No. 99-591, 100 Stat. 3341. This program is administered by the NIFA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the USDA.  Grants funded under the USDA SBIR program are subject to the provisions found at 7 CFR Part 3403. These provisions set forth procedures to be followed when submitting grant applications, rules governing the evaluation of applications and the awarding of grants, and regulations relating to the post-award administration of grant projects..

Note: Although the following agencies are not participating in this specific joint-agency FOA, these agencies may have contract topics in the area of robotics. You are encouraged to review their solicitations at the specific URLs listed below and follow their specific agency proposal instructions/processes.

DOD/Army: http://www.sbir.gov
DOD/Navy: http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/solicitations/
NASA: http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/SBIR.html
NIST: http://www.nist.gov/ts/otp/sbir/


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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