NIAID Contract Solicitations

The 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.

Find Contract Opportunities

The OA posts contract funding opportunities at FedBizOpps.

About R&D Contracts

The 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.

Overview of R&D Contracting Process

Concept Review

National Institutes of health (NIH) scientific peer review regulations require peer review and approval of all biomedical and behavioral R&D project Concepts: Potential Opportunities 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 OA works with NIAID program staff to create a solicitation.

FedBizOpps is a public website that features notices of federal business opportunities, including proposed contract actions, solicitations, contract awards, and other procurement information.

FedBizOpps publications include the following:

  • Presolicitation notices convey the solicitation availability in FedBizOpps. This information is also used to create the NIH Guide notice.
  • Combined Synopsis/Solicitation combines in a single document the synopsis requirement in FAR 5.203 with the solicitation issuance for commercial items only.
    • The response time for the combined synopsis/solicitation should be no longer than necessary to give offerors a chance to respond to the solicitation. Therefore, the combined synopsis/solicitation allows NIH to shorten the statutorily required 15-day synopsis period and 30-day offer period, allowing for a more streamlined commercial procurement procedure.
    • The procedure for the combined synopsis/solicitation is found in FAR 12.203.
  • Sources Sought notices survey the market to determine if there are sources that can satisfy our requirements.
    • Small Business Sources Sought notices specifically try to determine if there are two or more capable small businesses.
    • Notices summarize our requirements and request a capability statement that shows an organization's ability to satisfy our requirements.
      • Capability statements are evaluated by the contracting officer's representative and other scientific program staff to determine capability.
      • If two or more small businesses are determined to be capable, the solicitation must be issued as a set-aside for small business.
    • In most cases, a sources sought notice should be published. However, sources sought notices are not needed for Broad Agency Announcements.
  • Special Notices for RFIs and Draft Solicitations promote early information exchange to identify and resolve issues about an acquisition, including contract type, terms and conditions, planning schedules, the feasibility of requirements (statements of work, performance, and data issues), and the suitability of proposal instructions and evaluation criteria.
    • Program staff and the OA jointly decide whether the use of either a request for information or a draft solicitation would be beneficial. Allow extra time in the milestone schedule for this step.
    • The OA director approves use of RFIs and draft solicitations.

Solicitation

The solicitation contains all the elements necessary for prospective offerors to submit a proposal. It includes the following:

  • Schedule
  • Contract clauses
  • Lists of documents, exhibits, and other attachments
  • Representations and instructions
  • Evaluation factors for award

Solicitations are advertised in FedBizOpps and the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. See NIAID solicitation lists above.

Proposal

Prospective offerors should carefully review each element of the solicitation to ensure that they understand the requirements and are able to fully respond.

Learn how NIAID uses the electronic Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) system for the electronic submission, capture, tracking, and review of NIAID contract proposals. See How To Submit an Electronic Proposal and electronic Contract Proposal Submission Frequently Asked Questions.

Evaluation

Proposals are evaluated to determine an offeror's ability to perform the prospective contract successfully. The 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 the NIAID 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 the 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.

Proposal's Competitive Status

The 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.

Content last reviewed on May 29, 2019