16.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Proposal Submission Instructions
The Air Force (AF) proposal submission instructions are intended to clarify the Department of Defense (DoD) instructions as they apply to AF requirements.
Please note that there have been changes made to these instructions. Firms must ensure their proposal meets all requirements of the solicitation currently posted on the DoD website at the time the solicitation closes. Incomplete proposals will be rejected.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is responsible for the implementation and management of the AF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.
The AF Program Manager is David Shahady, 1-800-222-0336. For general inquiries or problems with the electronic submission, contact the DoD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at [1-800-348-0787] or Help Desk email at [firstname.lastname@example.org] (9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). For technical questions about the topics during the pre-solicitation period (11 December 2015 through 10 January 2016), contact the Topic Authors listed for each topic on the Web site. For information on obtaining answers to your technical questions during the formal solicitation period (11 January through 17 February 2016), go to https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/sitis.
General information related to the AF Small Business Program can be found at the AF Small Business website, http://www.airforcesmallbiz.org. The site contains information related to contracting opportunities within the AF, as well as business information, and upcoming outreach/conference events. Other informative sites include those for the Small Business Administration (SBA), www.sba.gov, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, www.aptacus.org/new/Govt_Contracting/index.php. These centers provide Government contracting assistance and guidance to small businesses, generally at no cost.
The AF SBIR Program is a mission-oriented program that integrates the needs and requirements of the AF through R&D topics that have military and/or commercial potential.
Efforts under the SBIR program are expected to fall within the scope of fundamental research. The Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics) defines fundamental research as "basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community,” which is distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons. However, the research shall not be considered fundamental where the funded effort presents a high likelihood of disclosing performance characteristics of military systems or manufacturing technologies that are unique and critical to defense. See DFARS 252.227-7018 for a description of your SBIR/STTR rights.
PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION
The Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Office is instituting new requirements in an initiative to combat fraud in the SBIR/STTR program. As a result, each Small Business is required to visit the AF SBIR Program website: http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Firm/downloads/SBIRSTTR%20Program%20Rules.pdf and read through the "Compliance with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Rules" training. The Certificate of Training Completion at the end of the training presentation and/or as pg. AF-11 of this document, MUST be signed by an official of your company, AND ATTACHED to your proposal. Failure to do this will result in your proposal being removed from consideration. NOTE: your signed certification of completion must be dated within 90 days of receipt of proposal. This form will not count against the 20-page limitation.
Read the DoD program solicitation at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/ for program requirements. When you prepare your proposal, keep in mind that Phase I should address the feasibility of a solution to the topic. For the AF, the contract period of performance for Phase I shall be nine (9) months, and the award shall not exceed $150,000. We will accept only one Cost Volume per Topic Proposal and it must address the entire nine-month contract period of performance.
The Phase I award winners must accomplish the majority of their primary research during the first six months of the contract with the additional three months of effort to be used for generating final reports. Each AF organization may request Phase II proposals prior to the completion of the first six months of the contract based upon an evaluation of the contractor’s technical progress and review by the AF technical point of contact utilizing the criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD solicitation. The last three months of the nine-month Phase I contract will provide project continuity for all Phase II award winners so no modification to the Phase I contract should be necessary.
The Phase I Technical Volume has a 20-page-limit (excluding the Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), Company Commercialization Report, Non-Disclosure Agreement Form and Certificate of Training Completion Form).
Limitations on Length of Proposal
The Technical Volume must be no more than 20 pages (no type smaller than 10-point on standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper with one (1) inch margins. The Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), and Company Commercialization Report, Non-Disclosure Agreement Form and Certificate of Training Completion Form are excluded from the 20 page limit. Only the Technical Volume and any enclosures or attachments count toward the 20-page limit. In the interest of equity, pages in excess of the 20-page limitation (including attachments, appendices, or references, but excluding the Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), Company Commercialization Report, Non-Disclosure Agreement Form and Certificate of Training Completion Form will not be considered for review or award.
Phase I Proposal Format
Proposal Cover Sheet: The Cover Sheet does NOT count toward the 20 page total limit. If your proposal is selected for award, the technical abstract and discussion of anticipated benefits will be publicly released on the Internet; therefore, do not include proprietary information in these sections.
Technical Volume: The Technical Volume should include all graphics and attachments but should not include the Cover Sheet or Company Commercialization Report (as these items are completed separately). Most proposals will be printed out on black and white printers so make sure all graphics are distinguishable in black and white. It is strongly encouraged that you perform a virus check on each submission to avoid complications or delays in submitting your Technical Volume. To verify that your proposal has been received, click on the “Check Upload” icon to view your proposal. Typically, your uploaded file will be virus checked. However, if your proposal does not appear after an hour, please contact the DoD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at [1-800-348-0787] or Help Desk email at email@example.com (9:00 am to 6:00 pm ET Monday through Friday).
Key Personnel: Identify in the Technical Volume all key personnel who will be involved in this project; include information on directly related education, experience, and citizenship. A technical resume of the principle investigator, including a list of publications, if any, must be part of that information. Concise technical resumes for subcontractors and consultants, if any, are also useful. You must identify all U.S. permanent residents to be involved in the project as direct employees, subcontractors, or consultants. You must also identify all non-U.S. citizens expected to be involved in the project as direct employees, subcontractors, or consultants. For all non-U.S. citizens, in addition to technical resumes, please provide countries of origin, the type of visa or work permit under which they are performing and an explanation of their anticipated level of involvement on this project, as appropriate. You may be asked to provide additional information during negotiations in order to verify the foreign citizen’s eligibility to participate on a contract issued as a result of this solicitation.
Voluntary Protection Program (VPP): VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into the VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. An “Applicable Contractor” under the VPP is defined as a construction or services contractor with employees working at least 1,000 hours at the site in any calendar quarter within the last 12 months that is NOT directly supervised by the applicant (installation). The definition flows down to affected subcontractors. Applicable contractors will be required to submit Days Away, Restricted, and Transfer (DART) and Total Case Incident (TCIR) rates for the past three years as part of the proposal. Pages associated with this information will NOT contribute to the overall Technical Volume page count. NOTE: If award of your firm’s proposal does NOT create a situation wherein performance on one Government installation will exceed 1,000 hours in one calendar quarter, SUBMISSION OF TCIR/DART DATA IS NOT REQUIRED.
Phase I Work Plan Outline
NOTE: THE AF USES THE WORK PLAN OUTLINE AS THE INITIAL DRAFT OF THE PHASE I STATEMENT OF WORK (SOW). THEREFORE, DO NOT INCLUDE PROPRIETARY INFORMATION IN THE WORK PLAN OUTLINE. TO DO SO WILL NECESSITATE A REQUEST FOR REVISION AND MAY DELAY CONTRACT AWARD.
At the beginning of your proposal work plan section, include an outline of the work plan in the following format:
List the major requirements and specifications of the effort.
Provide a brief outline of the work to be accomplished over the span of the Phase I effort.
Kickoff meeting within 30 days of contract start
Technical review within 6 months
Final report with SF 298
Cost Volume information should be provided by completing the on-line Cost Volume form and including the Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j) specified below. The Cost Volume detail must be adequate to enable Air Force personnel to determine the purpose, necessity and reasonability of each cost element. Provide sufficient information (a-j below) on how funds will be used if the contract is awarded. The on-line Cost Volume and Itemized Cost Volume Information (a-j) will not count against the 20-page limit. The itemized listing may be placed in the “Explanatory Material” section of the on-line Cost Volume form (if enough room), or as the last page(s) of the Technical Volume Upload. (Note: Only one file can be uploaded to the DoD Submission Site). Ensure that this file includes your complete Technical Volume and the Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j) information.
a. Special Tooling and Test Equipment and Material: The inclusion of equipment and materials will be carefully reviewed relative to need and appropriateness of the work proposed. The purchase of special tooling and test equipment must, in the opinion of the Contracting Officer, be advantageous to the Government and relate directly to the specific effort. They may include such items as innovative instrumentation and/or automatic test equipment.
b. Direct Cost Materials: Justify costs for materials, parts, and supplies with an itemized list containing types, quantities, and price and where appropriate, purposes.
c. Other Direct Costs: This category of costs includes specialized services such as machining or milling, special testing or analysis, costs incurred in obtaining temporary use of specialized equipment. Proposals, which include leased hardware, must provide an adequate lease vs. purchase justification or rational.
d. Direct Labor: Identify key personnel by name if possible or by labor category if specific names are not available. The number of hours, labor overhead and/or fringe benefits and actual hourly rates for each individual are also necessary.
e. Travel: Travel costs must relate to the needs of the project. Break out travel cost by trip, with the number of travelers, airfare, per diem, lodging, etc. The number of trips required, as well as the destination and purpose of each trip should be reflected. Recommend budgeting at least one (1) trip to the Air Force location managing the contract.
f. Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is permitted. However, cost sharing is not required nor will it be an evaluation factor in the consideration of a proposal. Please note that cost share contracts do not allow fees. If proposing cost share arrangements, please note each Phase I contract total value may not exceed $150K total, while Phase II contracts shall have an initial Not to Exceed value of $750K NOTE: Subcontract arrangements involving provision of Independent Research and Development (IR&D) support are prohibited in accordance with Under Secretary of Defense (USD) memorandum “Contractor Cost Share”, dated 16 May 2001, as implemented by SAF/AQ memorandum, same title, dated 11 July 2001.
g. Subcontracts: Involvement of university or other consultants in the planning and/or research stages of the project may be appropriate. If the offeror intends such involvement, describe in detail and include information in the Cost Volume. The proposed total of all consultant fees, facility leases or usage fees, and other subcontract or purchase agreements may not exceed one-third of the total contract price or cost, unless otherwise approved in writing by the Contracting Officer. Support subcontract costs with copies of the subcontract agreements. The supporting agreement documents must adequately describe the work to be performed (i.e., Cost Volume). At a minimum, an offeror must include a Statement of Work (SOW) with a corresponding detailed Cost Volume for each planned subcontract.
h. Consultants: Provide a separate agreement letter for each consultant. The letter should briefly state what service or assistance will be provided, the number of hours required and hourly rate.
i. Any exceptions to the model Phase I purchase order (P.O.) found at http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Proposals/Default.aspx (see “NOTE” below).
NOTE: If no exceptions are taken to an offeror’s proposal, the Government may award a contract without discussions (except clarifications as described in FAR 15.306(a)). Therefore, the offeror’s initial proposal should contain the offeror’s best terms from a cost or price and technical standpoint. In addition, please review the model Phase I P.O. found at https://www.afsbirsttr.com/Proposals/Default.aspx and provide any exception to the clauses found therein with your cost proposal Full text for the clauses included in the P.O. may be found at http://farsite.hill.af.mil. If selected for award, the award contract or P.O. document received by your firm may vary in format/content from the model P.O. reviewed. If there are questions regarding the award document, contact the Phase I Contracting Officer listed on the selection notification. (See item g under the “Cost Volume” section, p. AF-4.) The Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Contracting Officer later determines them to be necessary.
j. DD Form 2345: For proposals submitted under export-controlled topics (either International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) or Export Administration Regulations (EAR)), a copy of the certified DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, or evidence of application submission must be included. The form, instructions, and FAQs may be found at the United States/Canada Joint Certification Program website, http://www.dlis.dla.mil/jcp/. Approval of the DD Form 2345 will be verified if proposal is chosen for award.
NOTE: Only Government employees and technical personnel from Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) Mitre and Aerospace Corporations, working under contract to provide technical support to AF Life Cycle Management Center and Space and Missiles Centers may evaluate proposals. All FFRDC employees have executed non-disclosure agreement (NDAs) as a requirement of their contracts. Additionally, AF support contractors may be used to administratively or technically support the Government’s SBIR Program execution. DFARS 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends (Mar 2011), allows Government support contractors to do so without company-to-company NDAs only AFTER the support contractor notifies the SBIR firm of its access to the SBIR data AND the SBIR firm agrees in writing no NDA is necessary. If the SBIR firm does not agree, a company-to-company NDA is required. The attached “NDA Requirements Form” must be completed, signed, and included, with your proposal indicating your firm’s determination regarding company-to-company NDAs for access to SBIR data by AF support contractors. Proposal packages that do not contain an Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements Form (pg AF-10) will be considered incomplete, and will NOT be considered for award. This form will not count against the 20-page limitation.
k. The Air Force does not participate in the Discretionary Technical Assistance Program. Contractors should not submit proposals that include Discretionary Technical Assistance.
PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION CHECKLIST
Failure to meet any of the criteria or to submit all required documents will result in your proposal being REJECTED and the Air Force will not evaluate your proposal. NOTE: If you are not registered in the System for Award Management, https://www.sam.gov/, you will not be eligible for an award.
1) The Air Force Phase I proposal shall be a nine-month effort and the cost shall not exceed $150,000.
2) The Air Force will accept only those proposals submitted electronically via the DoD SBIR Web site (https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/).
3) You must submit your Company Commercialization Report electronically via the DoD SBIR Web site (https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/).
It is mandatory that the complete proposal submission -- DoD Proposal Cover Sheet, Technical Volume with any appendices, Cost Volume, Itemized Cost Volume Information, and the Company Commercialization Report, Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements Form, (pg AF-10) and Certificate of Training Completion Form -- be submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR Web site at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/. Each of these documents is to be submitted separately through the Web site. Your complete proposal must be submitted via the submissions site on or before the 6:00 am ET, 17 February 2016 deadline. A hardcopy will not be accepted.
The AF recommends that you complete your submission early, as computer traffic gets heavy near the solicitation closing and could slow down the system. Do not wait until the last minute. The AF will not be responsible for proposals being denied due to servers being “down” or inaccessible. Please assure that your e-mail address listed in your proposal is current and accurate. By late February, you will receive an e-mail serving as our acknowledgement that we have received your proposal. The AF is not responsible for ensuring notifications are received by firms changing mailing address/e-mail address/company points of contact after proposal submission without proper notification to the AF. Changes of this nature that occur after proposal submission or award (if selected) for Phase I and II shall be sent to the Air Force SBIR/STTR site address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIR FORCE SBIR/STTR SITE
As a means of drawing greater attention to SBIR accomplishments, the AF has developed a SBIR/STTR site at http://www.afsbirsttr.com. Along with being an information resource concerning SBIR policies and procedures, the SBIR/STTR site is designed to help facilitate the Phase III transition process. To this end, the SBIR/STTR site contains SBIR/STTR Success Stories written by the Air Force and Phase II summary reports written and submitted by SBIR companies. Since summary reports are intended for public viewing via the Internet, they should not contain classified, sensitive, or proprietary information.
AIR FORCE PROPOSAL EVALUATIONS
The AF will utilize the Phase I proposal evaluation criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD solicitation in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the qualifications of the principal investigator (and team), and followed by Commercialization Plan. The AF will utilize Phase II evaluation criteria in section 8.0 of the DoD solicitation; however, the order of importance will differ. The AF will evaluate proposals in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the Commercialization Plan, and then qualifications of the principal investigator (and team). Please note that where technical evaluations are essentially equal in merit, and as cost and/or price is a substantial factor, cost to the Government will be considered in determining the successful offeror. The next tie-breaker on essentially equal proposals will be the inclusion of manufacturing technology considerations.
The proposer's record of commercializing its prior SBIR and STTR projects, as shown in its Company Commercialization Report, will be used as a portion of the Commercialization Plan evaluation. If the "Commercialization Achievement Index (CAI)”, shown on the first page of the report, is at the 20th percentile or below, the proposer will receive no more than half of the evaluation points available under evaluation criterion (c) in Section 6 of the DoD 16.1 SBIR instructions. This information supersedes Paragraph 4, Section 5.4e, of the DoD 16.1 SBIR instructions.
A Company Commercialization Report showing the proposing firm has no prior Phase II awards will not affect the firm's ability to win an award. Such a firm's proposal will be evaluated for commercial potential based on its commercialization strategy.
On-Line Proposal Status and Debriefings
The AF has implemented on-line proposal status updates for small businesses submitting proposals against AF topics. At the close of the Phase I Solicitation – and following the submission of a Phase II via the DoD SBIR/STTR Submission Site (https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/) – small business can track the progress of their proposal submission by logging into the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site (http://www.afsbirstr.com). The Small Business Area (http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Firm/login.aspx) is password protected and firms can view their information only.
To receive a status update of a proposal submission, click the “Proposal Status” link at the top of the page in the Small Business Area (after logging in). A listing of proposal submissions to the AF within the last 12 months is displayed. Status update intervals are: Proposal Received, Evaluation Started, Evaluation Completed, Selection Started, and Selection Completed. A date will be displayed in the appropriate column indicating when this stage has been completed. If no date is present, the proposal submission has not completed this stage. Small businesses are encouraged to check this site often as it is updated in real-time and provides the most up-to-date information available for all proposal submissions. Once the “Selection Completed” date is visible, it could still be a few weeks (or more) before you are contacted by the AF with a notification of selection or non-selection. The AF receives thousands of proposals during each solicitation and the notification process requires specific steps to be completed prior to a Contracting Officer distributing this information to small businesses.
The Principal Investigator (PI) and Corporate Official (CO) indicated on the Proposal Cover Sheet will be notified by e-mail regarding proposal selection or non-selection. The e-mail will include a link to a secure Internet page containing specific selection/non-selection information. Small Businesses will receive a notification for each proposal submitted. Please read each notification carefully and note the Proposal Number and Topic Number referenced. Again, if changes occur to the company mail or email address(es) or company points of contact after proposal submission, the information shall be provided to the AF at email@example.com.
A debriefing may be received by written request. As is consistent with the DoD SBIR/STTR solicitation, the request must be received within 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection. Written requests for debrief must be uploaded to the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site (http://www.afsbirsttr.com). Requests for debrief should include the company name and the telephone number/e-mail address for a specific point of contract, as well as an alternate. Also include the topic number under which the proposal(s) was submitted, and the proposal number(s). Further instructions regarding debrief request preparation/submission will be provided within the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site. Debrief requests received more than 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection will be fulfilled at the Contracting Officers' discretion. Unsuccessful offerors are entitled to no more than one debriefing for each proposal.