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Contract Awards

Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

What percentage of the NIH and NIAID budgets are spent on contracts?

In FY 2012, about 8 percent of NIH's $24.1 billion budget went to R&D contracts, while NIAID spent about 19 percent of its $3.5 billion budget on R&D Contracts.

You can see funding levels by year at Awards and Total Funding by Mechanism and NIH Institute (MS Excel.)

How does NIAID decide to award a contract instead of a grant?

NIAID uses a contract when it wants to acquire a product or service, including research and development.

A grant is an assistance mechanism that allows a grantee considerable flexibility in determining the research direction. No fixed product is expected. Instead, grantees conduct research in good faith, even if it yields negative results.

Visit Contracts, Application, and Standard Operating Procedures for more information.

Are requirements and administrative processes more stringent for contracts?

Yes. Contracts describe in detail the deliverables and other work products the government expects from a contractor. Contracts are legally binding and may include statements of work that clearly define government requirements. See Contract Deliverables and Reporting Requirements SOP.

What kinds of academic organizations submit proposals for NIH R&D contracts?

Academic and other research organizations, such as commercial organizations and non-profits, submit proposals for NIH R&D contracts. Learn more about R&D contracts at Why You May Want to Consider a Contract.

May a subcontractor subcontract with another organization?

For contracts, NIAID may provide consent for a subcontractor to enter into a subcontract. Read the Providing Consent to Subcontract SOP.

Do subcontractors need a Commons account?

No. Neither prime contractor nor subcontractor organizations need to register with the eRA Commons.

Where can I find details on NIAID contracting procedures?

Find information at About NIAID Research and Development Contracts and in our SOPs; go to Extramural Standard Operating Procedures or Contracts SOPs by Stage.

Where do I find solicitations?

You can find solicitations in FedBizOpps, the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. NIAID's are listed at Extramural R&D Solicitations and Station Support and Simplified Acquisition Solicitations.

Do R&D contracts undergo a rigorous peer review?

Yes. For details on the process, go to About NIAID Research and Development Contracts and the Peer Review of R&D Contract Technical Proposals SOP.

Are contract proposals reviewed by Council?

No. Peer review is done by a scientific review group. See the Peer Review of R&D Contract Technical Proposals SOP. For more information, see NIH Policy Manual 6315-1, Initiation, Review, Evaluation, and Award of Research and Development (R&D) Contracts.

Is merit the primary criterion for awarding contracts?

That depends on the solicitation. Potential offerors should check Section M of the solicitation for the evaluation factors and their relative importance.

For R&D contracts, technical merit is usually the most important evaluation factor. Most NIAID solicitations also include evaluation factors for best value. These include cost, past performance, and small disadvantaged business participation.

Review criteria are solicitation-specific. To learn more, read "Why You May Want to Consider a Contract."

Do offerors in the competitive range answer scientific and other questions?

Yes. The NIAID contracting officer conducts discussions with each offeror in the competitive range. Offerors have a chance to respond about deficiencies, significant weaknesses, and adverse past performance. We may ask them to provide written responses to scientific questions raised by the peer reviewers as well as other questions; for example, questions about the business proposal or costs.

For details, see the Competitive Range for Contracts SOP, Contract Negotiations SOP, and About NIAID Research and Development Contracts.

What is source selection?

At the conclusion of discussions, each offeror still in the competitive range will be given an opportunity to provide a final proposal revision. NIAID reviews all the final revised proposals based on the solicitation's evaluation factors and selects a contractor for award.

For more information, go to About NIAID Research and Development Contracts.

Can I request a debriefing after a competition is over?

Yes. If you are excluded from the competitive range or otherwise excluded from the competition before award, you can request a preaward debriefing within three days after receipt of the notice of exclusion from the competition. At your request, we can delay this debriefing until after award and will include all information normally provided in a post-award debriefing.

If your proposal was in the competitive range but was not selected for award, you may request a post-award debriefing within three days after receipt of a notification of contract award.

How can I find an archive of NIAID contract awards and names of awardees?

We don't archive this information on our Web site, but you can review a list of awards at NIH RePORTER. Here's how to execute the search:

  • For Funding Mechanism, click the blue button and select R and D Contracts.
  • Include any other search criteria you'd like. For example, you could choose NIAID for Agency/Institute/Center.
  • Click Submit Query.

After your search is complete, click on an opportunity to see the contract award amount, summary, awardee information, and other details.

Where can I get guidance on audits and rate calculations for direct labor, fringes, and overhead on R&D contracts?

Check with your business office. If you're an institutional business official, contact NIH's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) or read DFAS - FAQ.

Where is the NIAID contracting office located?

For the mailing address, go to Contact Information; also find Directions to Our Office.

How do I find NIAID contracting staff?

Go to Office of Acquisitions on the Division of Extramural Activities Contacts list. For solicitation-specific questions, see the contacts listed in the solicitation.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Last Updated February 10, 2014

Last Reviewed February 10, 2014