15 CFR 290.6 - Proposal evaluation and selection criteria.
(a) In making a decision whether to provide financial support, NIST shall review and evaluate all qualified proposals in accordance with the following criteria, assigning equal weight to each of the four categories.
(1) Identification of target firms in proposed region. Does the proposal define an appropriate service region with a large enough population of target firms of small- and medium-sized manufacturers which the applicant understands and can serve, and which is not presently served by an existing Center?
(i) Market analysis. Demonstrated understanding of the service region's manufacturing base, including business size, industry types, product mix, and technology requirements.
(ii) Geographical location. Physical size, concentration of industry, and economic significance of the service region's manufacturing base. Geographical diversity of Centers will be a factor in evaluation of proposals; a proposal for a Center located near an existing Center may be considered only if the proposal is unusually strong and the population of manufacturers and the technology to be addressed justify it.
(2) Technology resources. Does the proposal assure strength in technical personnel and programmatic resources, full-time staff, facilities, equipment, and linkages to external sources of technology to develop and transfer technologies related to NIST research results and expertise in the technical areas noted in these procedures?
(3) Technology delivery mechanisms. Does the proposal clearly and sharply define an effective methodology for delivering advanced manufacturing technology to small- and medium-sized manufacturers?
(i) Linkages. Development of effective partnerships or linkages to third parties such as industry, universities, nonprofit economic organizations, and state governments who will amplify the Center's technology delivery to reach a large number of clients in its service region.
(ii) Program leverage. Provision of an effective strategy to amplify the Center's technology delivery approaches to achieve the proposed objectives as described in § 290.3(e).
(4) Management and financial plan. Does the proposal define a management structure and assure management personnel to carry out development and operation of an effective Center?
(i) Organizational structure. Completeness and appropriateness of the organizational structure, and its focus on the mission of the Center. Assurance of full-time top management of the Center.
(ii) Program management. Effectiveness of the planned methodology of program management.
(iii) Internal evaluation. Effectiveness of the planned continuous internal evaluation of program activities.
(iv) Plans for financial matching. Demonstrated stability and duration of the applicant's funding commitments as well as the percentage of operating and capital costs guaranteed by the applicant. Identification of matching fund sources and the general terms of the funding commitments. Evidence of the applicant's ability to become self-sustaining in six years.
(v) Budget. Suitability and focus of the applicant's detailed one-year budget and six-year budget outline.