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Request for Proposals (RFP)

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

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


To enable NIAID to communicate requirements to prospective contractors and to solicit proposals for contracts.


RFPs are solicitations for proposals under negotiated procedures (see FAR 15.203). They are initiatives, developed and approved within the Institute. For biomedical and behavioral R&D, concepts for RFPs go through NIAID's advisory Council for clearance. See the Concept Development SOP.

RFPs contain all the information that prospective offerors need to prepare proposals. At a minimum, RFPs for competitive acquisitions should describe the following:

  1. Government's requirement.
  2. Terms and conditions that NIAID anticipates will apply to the contract:
    • The solicitation may authorize offerors to propose alternative terms and conditions, including the contract line item number (CLIN) structure.
    • When alternative CLIN structures are permitted, the evaluation approach should consider the potential impact on other terms and conditions or the requirement (e.g., place of performance or payment and funding requirements.) See FAR 15.206.
  3. Information the offeror’s must include in the proposal.
  4. Factors and significant subfactors that will be used to evaluate the proposal and their relative importance.

Letter RFPs may be used in sole source acquisitions and other appropriate circumstances. Use of a letter RFP does not relieve the contracting officer from complying with other FAR requirements. Letter RFPs should be as complete as possible and, at a minimum, contain the following:

  1. RFP number and date.
  2. Name, address (including email address and FAX number, if appropriate), and telephone number of the contracting officer.
  3. Type of contract contemplated.
  4. Quantity, description, and required delivery dates for the item.
  5. Applicable certifications and representations.
  6. Anticipated contract terms and conditions.
  7. Instructions to offerors and evaluation criteria for other than sole source actions.
  8. Proposal due date and time.
  9. Other relevant information (e.g., incentives, variations in delivery schedule, cost proposal support, and data requirements.)

Oral RFPs are authorized when processing a written solicitation would delay the acquisition of supplies or services to the detriment of the Government and a notice is not required under FAR 5.202 (e.g., perishable items and support of contingency operations or other emergency situations). Use of an oral RFP does not relieve the contracting officer from complying with other FAR requirements.

  1. The contract files supporting oral solicitations should include the following:
    • A description of the requirement.
    • Rationale for using an oral solicitation.
    • Sources solicited, including the date, time, name of people contacted, and prices offered.
    • The solicitation number provided to the prospective offerors.
  2. The information furnished to potential offerors under oral solicitations should include appropriate items 1 through 9 from the list shown above for letter RFPs.

NIAID staff prepare RFPs using the uniform contract format:

  • Part I—The Schedule
    1. Solicitation/contract form
    2. Supplies or services and prices/costs
    3. Description/specifications/statement of work
    4. Packaging and marking
    5. Inspection/acceptance
    6. Deliveries or performance
    7. Contract administration data
    8. Special contract requirements
  • Part II—Contract Clauses
    1. Special contract clauses
  • Part III—List of Documents, Exhibits and Other Attachments
    1. List of Attachments
  • Part IV—Representations and Instructions
    1. Representations, certifications, and other statements of offerors or respondents
    2. Instructions, conditions, and notices to offerors or respondents
    3. Evaluation factors for award

RFP publication dates are based on a plan approved by heads of NIAID's Office of Acquisitions (OA), Scientific Review Program (SRP), the relevant program division, and the DEA phasing coordinator.

Published RFPs can be found on Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) at Extramural R&D Solicitations until the closing date, after which FedBizOpps moves them to the Archives.


  • Go to FedBizOpps to check for new solicitations and amendments to existing solicitations.
    • NIAID Extramural R&D Solicitations and Station Support Solicitations are found on the FedBizOpps.
    • NIH does not directly notify you of amendments, so you must continue checking your chosen solicitation for amendments to ensure that you are responding to the solicitation in its entirety.  
  • Follow the instructions in the RFP to submit electronic and paper proposals.

Contract Specialists

  • Prepare complete RFP packages consistent with the approved Acquisition Plan (AP).
  • Before posting, you must send all RFP files to the Office of Initiative Development (OID) for final OID, DEA, SRP, and program review.  
  • Get final approval of RFPs from OA branch chief.

Contracting Officer's Representative (COR)

  • Work with the contracting officer to prepare the AP.
  • Review RFPs before sending to OA branch chief for approval.

OA Branch Chiefs

  • Give final approval of RFPs before they are published.

OA Procurement Technicians


Refer to the contacts listed in the RFP or see the OA staff listing for contract specialists.

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff

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Contract Deliverables and Reporting Requirements SOP

Mandatory Qualification Criteria for Offerors SOP

FAR Part 15.2, Solicitation and Receipt of Proposals

Independent Government Cost Estimate SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Directory of RFPs Listed by Institute

NIH Manual 6315-1, Initiation, Review, Evaluation, and Award of Research & Development (R&D) Contracts

Specification Package—Template with Instructions for Broad Agency Announcement

Withdrawal of a Nonresponsive Application SOP

Last Updated July 16, 2014

Last Reviewed May 11, 2012