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Preproposal Conference SOP

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This SOP has internal roles only.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To improve the understanding of government requirements and industry capabilities, thereby allowing potential offerors to judge whether or how they can satisfy the government’s requirements, and enhancing the government’s ability to obtain quality supplies and services at reasonable prices, and increase efficiency in proposal preparation, proposal evaluation, negotiation, and contract award.


Potential offerors, end users, contracting and program staff, and others involved in an acquisition may participate in a preproposal conference, conducted in accordance with FAR 15.201.

Statements made at the conference are informational only. In this way, the offerors' understanding of government requirements can be improved. This will allow them to judge how they can satisfy the government requirements and increase their efficiency in proposal preparation.

Changes resulting from the conference are official only if issued through an amendment to the solicitation.

Any exchange of information must be consistent with procurement integrity requirements (see FAR 3.104).

Contracting Officer's Representatives

  • Work with contract specialist and contracting officer to determine whether a preproposal conference would better an acquisition.
  • If the contracting officer decides to hold a preproposal conference, work with the contract specialist to create a preproposal conference agenda.
  • Work with the contracting officer to prepare answers for questions from offerors.
  • At a conference, present the solicitation background and objectives, serve as a resource on scientific aspects, and respond to technical questions.

Contracting Officers

  • With input from the contracting officer's representative (COR), decide whether to hold a preproposal conference.
  • Determine the time, date, location, purpose, and scope of conferences.
  • Work with the COR to prepare answers for questions from offerors.
  • Preside at meetings, respond to administrative and business questions, and describe award process.

Contract Specialists

  • If the contracting officer decides to hold a preproposal conference, ensure section L of the solicitation (or an amendment) includes the provision prescribed in the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Document Generation System (DGS) titled “Pre-Proposal Conference.”
    • The provision gives potential offerors adequate notice of the time, date, location, purpose, and scope of the conference, and invites them to submit questions in advance.
    • It also provides a cut-off date for questions before the conference date.
  • If the contracting officer and COR have questions and answers ready for the conference, prepare a handout that includes them. Be sure to remove any information that could be associated with an offeror.
  • Use the Preproposal Conference Checklist to organize and manage the conference.
  • Work with the COR to develop an agenda. Consider including the scientific review officer to discuss the NIH peer review and evaluation process.
  • Organize the conference.
  • Ensure that an official transcript is prepared for electronic posting with the solicitation amendment. Hire a transcriber to prepare it.
  • After the meeting, work with the COR to prepare a solicitation amendment that includes questions and answers, materials distributed, and the official transcript of proceedings. The amendment is typically posted to FedBizOpps about a week after the meeting.

Scientific Review Officers

  • Attend conferences to discuss the NIH peer review process.


See the Office of Acquisitions staff listing for a contract specialist.

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FAR Part 15.2, Solicitation and Receipt of Proposals and Information

Contracting Officer's Representatives (COR) SOP

FAR 3.104, Procurement Integrity

Contracting Officer SOP

Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) SOP

Last Updated March 20, 2015

Last Reviewed March 20, 2015