17.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Phase I 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. Firms must ensure their proposal meets all requirements of the announcement currently posted on the DoD website at the time the announcement closes.
The AF Program Manager is Mr. David Shahady. The AF SBIR/STTR Program Office can be contacted at 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-announcement period (30 Nov 2016 through 09 Jan 2017), contact the Topic Authors listed for each topic on the Web site. For information on obtaining answers to your technical questions during the formal announcement period (10 Jan 2017 through 8 Feb 2017), go to https://sbir.defensebusiness.org.
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, http://www.aptacus.us.org. These centers provide Government contracting assistance and guidance to small businesses, generally at no cost.
PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION
The Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Office has instituted 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 and read through the "Compliance with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Rules” training located at the bottom of this page: www.wpafb.af.mil/AFSBIRSTTR. The Certificate of Training Completion at the end of the training presentation and/or as pg. AF-9 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.
Read the DoD program announcement 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 announcement. 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.
Limitations on Length of Proposal
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) The Technical Volume must be in no type smaller than 10-point on standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper with one (1) inch margins. 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 will not be considered for review or award.
Phase I Proposal Format
Proposal Cover Sheet: 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. 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. 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 announcement.
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:
Scope: List the major requirements and specifications of the effort.
Task Outline: 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 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 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 information below.
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: 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. Please note that cost share contracts do not allow fees. 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. 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 www.wpafb.af.mil/AFSBIRSTTR should be included in your cost proposal. Full text for the clauses included in the P.O. may be found at http://farsite.hill.af.mil.
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. 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. 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 (May 2013), 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, the “Yes” box should be checked, and a company-to-company NDA should also be submitted. 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-8) 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-8) 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, 8 Feb 2017 deadline. A hardcopy will not be accepted.
The AF recommends that you complete your submission early, as computer traffic gets heavy near the announcement 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. 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 PROPOSAL EVALUATIONS
The AF will utilize the Phase I proposal evaluation criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD announcement in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the qualifications of the principal investigator (and team), followed by the potential for Commercialization Plan. The AF will utilize Phase II evaluation criteria in section 8.0 of the DoD announcement. Please note that where technical evaluations are essentially equal in merit, 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 17.1 SBIR instructions. This information supersedes Paragraph 4, Section 5.4e, of the DoD 17.1 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.
Proposal Status and Debriefings
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. If changes occur to the company mail or email address(es) or company points of contact after proposal submission, the information should be provided to the AF at email@example.com.
As is consistent with the DoD SBIR/STTR announcement, any debriefing requests must be submitted in writing, received within 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection. Written requests for debrief must be sent to the Contracting Officer named on your non-selection notification. 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). 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.
IMPORTANT: Proposals submitted to the AF are received and evaluated by different offices within the Air Force and handled on a Topic-by-Topic basis. Each office operates within their own schedule for proposal evaluation and selection. Updates and notification timeframes will vary by office and Topic. If your company is contacted regarding a proposal submission, it is not necessary to contact the AF to inquire about additional submissions. Additional notifications regarding your other submissions will be forthcoming.
We anticipate having all the proposals evaluated and our Phase I contract decisions within approximately three months of proposal receipt. All questions concerning the status of a proposal, or debriefing, should be directed to the local awarding organization SBIR Program Manager.
PHASE II PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS
Phase II is the demonstration of the technology that was found feasible in Phase I. Only Phase I awardees are eligible to submit a Phase II proposal. All Phase I awardees will be sent a notification with the Phase II proposal submittal date and a link to detailed Phase II proposal preparation instructions, located here: https://www.wpafb.af.mil/afsbirsttr. Phase II efforts are typically 27 months in duration (24 months technical performance, with 3 additional months for final reporting), and an initial value not to exceed $750,000.
NOTE: Phase II awardees should have a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) approved accounting system. It is strongly urged that an approved accounting system be in place prior to the AF Phase II award timeframe. If you have questions regarding this matter, please discuss with your Phase I Contracting Officer.
All proposals must be submitted electronically at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/ by the date indicated in the notification. The Technical Volume is limited to 50 pages (unless a different number is specified in the notification). The Commercialization Report, any advocacy letters, SBIR Environment Safety and Occupational Health (ESOH) Questionnaire, and Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-i) will not count against the 50 page limitation and should be placed as the last pages of the Technical Volume file that is uploaded. (Note: Only one file can be uploaded to the DoD Submission Site. Ensure that this single file includes your complete Technical Volume and the additional Cost Volume information.) The preferred format for submission of proposals is Portable Document Format (.pdf). Graphics must be distinguishable in black and white. Please virus-check your submissions.
AIR FORCE SBIR PROGRAM MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTS
The AF reserves the right to modify the Phase II submission requirements. Should the requirements change, all Phase I awardees will be notified. The AF also reserves the right to change any administrative procedures at any time that will improve management of the AF SBIR Program.
AIR FORCE SUBMISSION OF FINAL REPORTS
All Final Reports will be submitted to the awarding AF organization in accordance with the Contract. Companies will not submit Final Reports directly to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).
17.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements
DFARS 252.227-7018(b)(8), Rights in Noncommercial Technical Data and Computer Software – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program (May 2013), allows Government support contractors access to SBIR data 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.
“Covered Government support contractor” is defined in 252.227-7018(a)(6) as “a contractor under a contract, the primary purpose of which is to furnish independent and impartial advice or technical assistance directly to the Government in support of the Government’s management and oversight of a program or effort (rather than to directly furnish an end item or service to accomplish a program or effort), provided that the contractor—
(i) Is not affiliated with the prime contractor or a first-tier subcontractor on the program or effort, or with any direct competitor of such prime contractor or any such first-tier subcontractor in furnishing end items or services of the type developed or produced on the program or effort; and
(ii) Receives access to the technical data or computer software for performance of a Government contract that contains the clause at 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends.”