[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 103 (Monday, June 1, 2009)]
[Pages 26209-26213]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-12667]



National Institute of Standards and Technology

[Docket Number: 090306283-9284-01]

Recovery Act Measurement Science and Engineering Research Grants 

AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is 
establishing a financial assistance program to award research grants 
and cooperative agreements to support measurement science and 
engineering research proposals in the following six focus areas: 
Energy; environment and climate change; information technology/
cybersecurity; biosciences/healthcare; manufacturing; and physical 
infrastructure, as part of NIST's activities implementing the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or Recovery Act).

DATES: All proposals must be received no later than 3 p.m. Eastern 
Daylight Saving Time on Monday, July 13, 2009. Late proposals will not 
be reviewed or considered.

ADDRESSES: Proposals may be submitted in hard copy or in electronic 
format. Hard copy proposals may be submitted to Dr. Jason Boehm, 
National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 
1060, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1060. Electronic proposals may be uploaded 
to http://www.Grants.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For complete information about this 
program and instructions for applying by paper or electronically, read 
the Federal Funding Opportunity Notice (FFO) at http://www.grants.gov. 
A paper copy of the FFO may be obtained by calling (301) 975-5718. 
Technical questions should be addressed to Dr. Jason Boehm at the 
address listed in the Addresses section above, or at Tel: (301) 975-
4455; E-mail: [email protected]; Fax: (301) 216-0529. Grants 
Administration questions should be addressed to Grants and Agreements 
Management Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 1650, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1650; Tel: (301) 
975-5718; E-mail: [email protected]; Fax: (301) 840-5976. For assistance 
with using Grants.gov contact [email protected].


    Authority: 15 U.S.C. Sec.  272(b) and (c); Pub. L. 111-5, 123 
Stat. 115.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Name and Number: Measurement 
and Engineering Research and Standards--11.609
    Program Description: In response to the American Reinvestment and 
Recovery Act (Pub. L. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115), the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology (NIST) will provide grants and cooperative 
agreements for measurement science and engineering research in the 
following six focus areas of critical national importance: Energy; 
environment and climate change; information technology/cybersecurity; 
biosciences/healthcare; manufacturing;

[[Page 26210]]

and physical infrastructure, with priority funding in areas of special 
interest to NIST. Please see the FFO for detailed information on each 
area of critical national importance. The program is intended to 
advance the state of knowledge and practice in these areas of critical 
national importance, in support of NIST's mission to promote U.S. 
innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement 
science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic 
security and improve our quality of life. The program will advance 
purposes established in Section 3 of the Recovery Act by creating jobs, 
promoting economic recovery, providing investments needed to increase 
economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and 
health, making investments in research areas such as environmental 
protection and infrastructure that will provide long-term economic 
benefits, and will help stabilize state and local government budgets, 
in order to minimize and avoid reductions in essential services and 
counterproductive state and local tax increases.
    Competitive proposals will also result in achieving commencement of 
expenditures and activities as quickly as possible consistent with 
prudent management. Applicants may propose projects that include 
collaboration between scientific staff and NIST to help advance these 
program objectives. Please see information below regarding 
collaborations with NIST employees.
    Program Priorities: Proposals submitted to the Recovery Act 
Measurement Science and Engineering Research Grants Program must 
address one of the areas of critical national importance described in 
the FFO. Applicants should clearly note which program area (e.g., 
energy) the proposal is addressing. Proposals that address the sub-
topics listed in the FFO will receive high priority for consideration 
of funding. Applicants whose proposal addresses a sub-topic listed in 
the FFO should also clearly note which sub-topic the proposal 
    Funding Availability: NIST plans to award up to $35 million in 
grants and cooperative agreements (20-60 awards expected), as 
appropriate to support measurement science and engineering research in 
areas of critical national importance. Where cooperative agreements are 
used, the nature of NIST's ``substantial involvement'' will generally 
be collaboration with the recipient by working jointly with a recipient 
scientist in carrying out the scope of work, or specifying direction or 
redirection of the scope of work due to inter-relationships with other 
projects requiring such cooperation.
    Proposals for research or other activity under this notice should 
have a duration lasting between one and three years. All projects 
approved by NIST, including multiple-year projects, will be fully 
funded at the time of award. Award terms will describe how recipients 
with satisfactory performance will draw down funds as needed from a 
Department of Treasury account.
    Individual awards are expected to range between $500,000 and 
$1,500,000. Projects are expected to start by September of 2009.
    Cost Share Requirements: None.
    Eligibility: This program is open to U.S. institutions of higher 
education; U.S. non-profit organizations; U.S. commercial 
organizations; and state, local, and Indian tribal governments.
    Evaluation Criteria: The evaluation criteria the technical 
reviewers will use in evaluating the proposals are as follows:
    1. Technical merit of the proposal. Reviewers will consider the 
applicant's approach and the extent to which the proposal effectively 
addresses scientific and technical issues necessary to achieve success.
    2. Qualifications of Technical Personnel. Reviewers will consider 
the ability of the proposed personnel to perform the proposed work as 
measured by evidence of skills, training and past professional 
    3. Relevance to NIST Programs. Reviewers will consider the degree 
to which the proposed work addresses topics of national importance as 
identified in the solicitation as well as the relevance of the work to 
advancements in measurement science and engineering of interest to 
current and future NIST programs.
    4. Potential Impact of Proposal. Reviewers will consider the 
potential technical effectiveness of the proposal, the value it would 
contribute to the field of research, and its potential to enhance U.S. 
economic security and quality of life.
    Each of these factors will be given equal weight in the evaluation 
    Selection Factors: The Selecting Official anticipates recommending 
proposals for funding in rank order unless a proposal is justified to 
be awarded out of rank order based on one or more of the following 
selection factors:
    a. Availability of Federal funds,
    b. Redundancy,
    c. Balance/distribution of funds by research areas described in the 
Funding Opportunity Description section of the FFO,
    d. Relevance to objectives of Recovery Act and alignment with 
subtopics described in the Funding Opportunity Description section of 
the FFO.
    Therefore, the highest scoring proposals may not necessarily be 
selected for an award. If an award is made to an applicant that 
deviates from the scores of the reviewers, the Selecting Official shall 
justify the selection in writing based on selection factors described 
    Review and Selection Process: An initial administrative review of 
timely submitted proposals will be conducted to determine compliance 
with requirements and completeness of the proposal. Responsive and 
complete proposals will be considered further. Proposals that are 
nonresponsive and/or incomplete will be eliminated. Applicants will be 
notified if their proposal will not receive merit review. Each 
responsive and complete proposal will receive three independent 
technical reviews, which will include three individual written 
evaluations and scores, based on the evaluation criteria. The three 
scores for each proposal will be averaged. No consensus advice will be 
given by the technical reviewers. The individual proposal evaluations 
and average scores of each proposal will be considered by an Evaluation 
Board (a committee made up of seven (7) Federal employees: one chair 
and one coordinator for each of the focus areas). This Board will rank 
the proposals and make funding recommendations based on the selection 
factors described above to a Selecting Official for further 
consideration. In making final selections, the Selecting Official 
(Chief Scientist, NIST) will select funding recipients based upon the 
Evaluation Board's rank order of the proposals and the selection 
factors. NIST reserves the right to negotiate the cost and scope of the 
proposed work with the applicants that have been selected to receive 
awards. Applicants may be asked to modify work plans or budgets and 
provide supplemental information required by the agency prior to final 
approval of an award. NIST also reserves the right to reject a proposal 
where information is uncovered that raises a reasonable doubt as to the 
responsibility of the applicant. The final approval of selected 
proposals and award of grants will be made by the NIST Grants Officer. 
The award decision of the NIST Grants Officer is final.
    The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements:

[[Page 26211]]

The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements, which are contained in the Federal 
Register Notice of February 11, 2008 (73 FR 7696), are applicable to 
this solicitation. On the form SF-424, the applicant's 9-digit Dun and 
Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number must be 
entered in item 8.c. Organizational DUNS. The DUNS number provided MUST 
be the DUNS number for the entity within the applying institution that 
will be responsible for drawing down funds from the Automated Standard 
Application for Payment System (ASAP). Institutions that provide 
incorrect DUNS numbers may experience significant delays in receiving 
    Collaborations with NIST Employees: All proposals should include a 
description of any work proposed to be performed by an entity other 
than the applicant, and the cost of such work should be included in the 
    If an applicant proposes collaboration with NIST, the statement of 
work should include a statement of this intention, a description of the 
collaboration, and prominently identify the NIST employee(s) involved, 
if known. Any collaboration by a NIST employee must be approved by 
appropriate NIST management and is at the sole discretion of NIST. 
Prior to beginning the merit review process, NIST will verify the 
approval of the proposed collaboration. Any unapproved collaboration 
will be stricken from the proposal prior to the merit review.
    Use of NIST Intellectual Property: If the applicant anticipates 
using any NIST-owned intellectual property to carry out the work 
proposed, the applicant should identify such intellectual property. 
This information will be used to ensure that no NIST employee involved 
in the development of the intellectual property will participate in the 
review process for that competition. In addition, if the applicant 
intends to use NIST-owned intellectual property, the applicant must 
comply with all statutes and regulations governing the licensing of 
Federal government patents and inventions, described at 35 U.S.C. 200-
212, 37 CFR Part 401, 15 CFR 14.36, and in Section B.21 of the 
Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements 73 FR 7696 
(February 11, 2008). Questions about these requirements may be directed 
to the Office of the Chief Counsel for NIST, 301-975-2803.
    Any use of NIST-owned intellectual property by an applicant is at 
the sole discretion of NIST and will be negotiated on a case-by-case 
basis if a project is deemed meritorious. The applicant should indicate 
within the statement of work whether it already has a license to use 
such intellectual property or whether it intends to seek one.
    If any inventions made in whole or in part by a NIST employee arise 
in the course of an award made pursuant to this notice, the United 
States government, acting through NIST, may retain its ownership rights 
in any such inventions. Disposition of NIST's retained rights in such 
inventions will be determined solely by NIST, and may include, but is 
not limited to, the grant of a license(s) to parties other than the 
applicant to practice such inventions, or placing NIST's retained 
rights into the public domain.
    Collaborations Making Use of Federal Facilities: All proposals 
should include a description of any work proposed to be performed using 
Federal facilities. If an applicant proposes use of NIST facilities, 
the statement of work should include a statement of this intention and 
a description of the facilities. Any use of NIST facilities must be 
approved by appropriate NIST management and is at the sole discretion 
of NIST. Prior to beginning the merit review process, NIST will verify 
the availability of the facilities and approval of the proposed usage. 
Any unapproved facility use will be stricken from the proposal prior to 
the merit review. Examples of some facilities that may be available for 
collaborations are listed on the NIST Technology Services Web site, 
    Paperwork Reduction Act: The standard forms in the application kit 
involve a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction 
Act. The use of Standard Forms 424, Application for Federal Assistance, 
424A, Budget Information Non-Construction, 424B, Assurances Non-
Construction, SF-LLL, Certification Regarding Lobbying, and CD-346, 
Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, has been approved by OMB under the 
respective Control Numbers 0348-0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040, 0348-0046, 
and 0605-0001.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection subject to the requirements of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act, unless that collection of information 
displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.
    Research Projects Involving Human Subjects, Human Tissue, Data or 
Recordings Involving Human Subjects: Any proposal that includes 
research involving human subjects, human tissue, data or recordings 
involving human subjects must meet the requirements of the Common Rule 
for the Protection of Human Subjects, codified for the Department of 
Commerce at 15 CFR Part 27. In addition, any proposal that includes 
research on these topics must be in compliance with any statutory 
requirements imposed upon the Department of Health and Human Services 
(DHHS) and other federal agencies regarding these topics, all 
regulatory policies and guidance adopted by DHHS, the Food and Drug 
Administration, and other Federal agencies on these topics, and all 
Presidential statements of policy on these topics.
    NIST will accept the submission of proposals containing research 
activities involving human subjects. The human subjects research 
activities in a proposal will require approval by Institutional Review 
Boards (IRBs) possessing a current registration filed with DHHS and to 
be performed by institutions possessing a current, valid Federal-wide 
Assurance (FWA) from DHHS that is linked to the cognizant IRB. In 
addition, NIST as an institution requires that IRB approval 
documentation go through a NIST administrative review; therefore, 
research activities involving human subjects are not authorized to 
start within an award until approval for the activity is issued in 
writing from the NIST Grants Officer. NIST will not issue a single 
project assurance (SPA) for any IRB reviewing any human subjects 
protocol proposed to NIST.
    President Obama has issued Executive Order No. 13,505 (74 FR 10667, 
March 9, 2009), revoking previous Executive Orders and Presidential 
statements regarding the use of human embryonic stem cells in research. 
NIST will follow any guidance issued by the National Institutes of 
Health (NIH) pursuant to the Executive Order and will develop its own 
procedures based on the NIH guidance before funding research using 
human embryonic stem cells. NIST will follow any additional polices or 
guidance issued by the current Administration on this topic.
    Research Projects Involving Vertebrate Animals: Any proposal that 
includes research involving vertebrate animals must be in compliance 
with the National Research Council's ``Guide for the Care and Use of 
Laboratory Animals,'' which can be obtained from National Academy 
Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20055. In 
addition, such proposals

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must meet the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et 
seq.), 9 CFR Parts 1, 2, and 3, and if appropriate, 21 CFR Part 58. 
These regulations do not apply to proposed research using pre-existing 
images of animals or to research plans that do not include live animals 
that are being cared for, euthanized, or used by the project 
participants to accomplish research goals, teaching, or testing. These 
regulations also do not apply to obtaining animal materials from 
commercial processors of animal products or to animal cell lines or 
tissues from tissue banks.
    Notification of Recovery Act Requirements: Recovery Act limitations 
are applicable to the projects funded in this Notice. Recipients must 
comply with the following three provisions of the Recovery Act, as 
applicable, and any other terms required by the Act or that may be 
added to the recipient's award pursuant to guidance implemented by the 
Office of Management and Budget.
    Buy American Act Provision: Unless waived by DoC, none of the funds 
appropriated or otherwise made available by the Recovery Act may be 
used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or 
repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron, 
steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the 
United States. This provision shall be applied in a manner consistent 
with United States obligations under international agreements.
    Davis-Bacon Act: Under Section 1606 of the Recovery Act, projects 
using Recovery Act funds require the payment of not less than the 
prevailing wages under the Davis-Bacon Act to ``all laborers and 
mechanics employed by contractors and subcontractors on projects funded 
directly by or assisted in whole or in part by and through the Federal 
    False Claims Act: Each recipient or sub-recipient awarded funds 
under the Recovery Act shall promptly refer to an appropriate inspector 
general any credible evidence that a principal, employee, agent, 
contractor, sub-grantee, subcontractor, or other person has submitted a 
false claim under the False Claims Act or has committed a criminal or 
civil violation of laws pertaining to fraud, conflict of interest, 
bribery, gratuity, or similar misconduct involving those funds.
    Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. The agency 
expects programs under this notice to be implemented in general 
compliance with any guidance issued by the Office of Management and 
Budget regarding the President's Memorandum for the Heads of Executive 
Departments and Agencies of March 20, 2009, Ensuring Responsible 
Spending of Recovery Act Funds, 74 FR 12531 (March 25, 2009).
    Best Practices to Promote Equality of Opportunity. Pursuant to OMB 
Guidance (see, ``Updated Implementing Guidance for the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,'' April 3, 2009) and consistent 
with the Recovery Act and other applicable laws, DoC encourages 
recipients to implement best practices to promote equality of 
opportunity, to provide opportunities for small and disadvantaged 
businesses, including veteran-owned small businesses and service 
disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and to follow sound labor 
    Reporting Requirements: Reporting requirements are described in the 
Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and 
Conditions, dated March, 2008, found on the Internet at: http://oamweb.osec.doc.gov/docs/GRANTS/DOC%20STCsMAR08Rev.pdf. The references 
in Sections A.01 and B.01 of the Department of Commerce Financial 
Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions, dated March, 2008, to 
``Financial Status Report (SF-269)'' and ``SF-269'' are hereby replaced 
with ``Federal Financial Report (SF-425)'' and ``SF-425,'' 
respectively, as required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
(73 FR 61175, October 15, 2008). As authorized under 15 CFR 14.52 and 
24.41, the OMB-approved SF-425 shall be used in the place of the SF-269 
and SF-272 under the uniform administrative requirements and elsewhere 
under awards in this program where such forms are referenced.
    In addition, as set out in Sec. 1512(c) of the Recovery Act, no 
later than ten (10) days after the end of each calendar quarter, any 
recipient that receives funds under the Recovery Act from NIST must 
submit a report to NIST that contains:
    a. The total amount of Recovery Act funds received from NIST;
    b. The amount of Recovery Act funds received that were expended or 
obligated to projects or activities;
    c. A detailed list of all projects or activities for which Recovery 
Act funds were expended or obligated; and
    d. Detailed information on any subcontracts or subgrants awarded by 
the recipient to include the data elements required to comply with the 
Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 
109-282), allowing aggregate reporting on awards below $25,000 or to 
individuals, as prescribed by the Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget.
    Recipients that must report information in accordance with 
paragraph (d) above must register with the Central Contractor 
Registration database (http://www.ccr.gov/) or complete other 
registration requirements as determined by the Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget. Section 1512(d) further requires that no 
later than thirty (30) days after the end of each calendar quarter, 
NIST must make the information in reports submitted under section 
1512(c) of the Recovery Act as outlined above publicly available by 
posting the information on a Web site. OMB Memo M-09-10, ``Initial 
Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009,'' which can be accessed at http://www.recovery.gov/, provides 
information on requirements for Federal agencies under the Recovery 
Act. Recipients must also comply with any additional guidance which may 
be forthcoming related to responsibilities of recipients of grants and 
cooperative agreements under the Recovery Act.
    Funding Availability and Limitation of Liability: The funding 
periods and funding amounts referenced in this notice and request for 
proposals are subject to the availability of funds, as well as to 
Department of Commerce and NIST priorities at the time of award. The 
Department of Commerce and NIST will not be held responsible for 
proposal preparation costs. Publication of this notice does not 
obligate the Department of Commerce or NIST to award any specific grant 
or cooperative agreement or to obligate all or any part of available 
funds. No funding is anticipated at this time to provide further 
support beyond the award period to any project that may receive funds 
under this program.
    Executive Order 12866: This funding notice was determined to be not 
significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism): It has been determined that 
this notice does not contain policies with federalism implications as 
that term is defined in Executive Order 13132.
    Executive Order 12372: Proposals under this program are not subject 
to Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
    Administrative Procedure Act/Regulatory Flexibility Act: Notice and 
comment are not required under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 
U.S.C. 553), or any other law, for rules relating to public property, 
loans, grants, benefits or contracts (5 U.S.C. 553 (a)). Because notice 
and comment are not required under 5 U.S.C. 553, or any

[[Page 26213]]

other law, for rules relating to public property, loans, grants, 
benefits or contracts (5 U.S.C. 553(a)), a Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis is not required and has not been prepared for this notice, 5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    Dated: May 26, 2009.
Patrick D. Gallagher,
Deputy Director.
[FR Doc. E9-12667 Filed 5-29-09; 8:45 am]