See the Glossary for more terms.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Office of Acquisitions (OA) supports the Institute's mission through planning, soliciting, negotiating, awarding, and administering biomedical and behavioral Research and Development (R&D) contracts, contracts for the direct support of R&D, station support contracts, and simplified acquisitions.
NIAID OA uses R&D contracts to address critical needs, such as the acquisition of clinical trials, vaccine development, statistical and data coordinating centers, animal models, and maintaining reagent and specimen repositories.
R&D contracts do not include grants and cooperative agreements.
Concept Review: NIH Scientific Peer Review regulations require peer review and approval of all biomedical and behavioral R&D project Concepts and proposals before contract award. Peer review of R&D project concepts evaluates the basic purpose, scope, and objectives of the projects and establishes relevance, priority, and need to accomplish NIH objectives. After the peer review and approval of project concept, the Office of Acquisitions works with NIAID program staff to create a solicitation.
Solicitation: The solicitation contains all the elements necessary for prospective offerors to submit a proposal. It includes the following:
Prospective offerors should carefully review each element of the solicitation to ensure that they understand the requirements and are able to fully respond. Solicitations are advertised in FedBizOpps and the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. See NIAID's Requests for Proposals list.
Evaluation: Proposals are evaluated to determine an offeror's ability to perform the prospective contract successfully. NIAID OA evaluates all competitive proposals and assesses their relative qualities solely on the evaluation factors and subfactors specified in the solicitation. OA staff work with NIAID's Scientific Review Program (SRP) to assemble ad hoc peer reviewers with background and experience in the subject area that is pertinent to the proposed contract award. These peer reviewers are screened to ensure that they have no conflict of interest with organizations submitting proposals. During the peer review meeting, reviewers discuss each technical proposal and then score each one independently against the technical evaluation criteria stated in the solicitation.
Competitive Range: After peer review is complete, the contracting officer determines the competitive range of all of the most highly rated proposals, based on the ratings of each proposal against all evaluation factors in the solicitation. Offerors in the competitive range are notified and oral and/or written negotiations are conducted. When negotiations are conducted in a competitive acquisition, they are called discussions. They take place after OA establishes the competitive range.
Discussions: Discussions are tailored to each offeror's proposal and must be conducted by the contracting officer with each offeror within the competitive range. The primary objective of discussions is to maximize the government's ability to obtain best value, based on the requirements and the evaluation factors set forth in the solicitation. During discussions, the contracting officer may request or allow written responses to business and technical questions and proposal revisions to clarify and document understandings reached during discussions. At the conclusion of discussions, each offeror still in the competitive range will be given an opportunity to submit a final proposal revision.
NIAID OA will not provide an offeror information on its competitive status until a competitive range consisting of the highest rated proposals has been determined. At that time, offerors will be notified of whether their proposal is in the competitive range.
Much of the information involved in reviewing contracts is confidential, including the identity of offerors. After the contract is awarded, we inform all offerors of the number of proposals submitted, contract number, name and address of the successful offeror, dollar value, and period of performance. Offerors may also submit a written request for a debriefing on their respective proposal's strengths and weaknesses in accordance with FAR Part 15.505 and 15.506.
See our Mission Statement, Contracts Standard Operating Procedures, and Directions to Our Office.
Return to the main R&D Contracts Web page.
Last Updated July 11, 2014
Last Reviewed July 11, 2014