This document consists of four sections, with the respective objectives of (1) describing in general terms the Airfield Asphalt Pavement Technology Program (AAPTP) and its administration by Auburn University, (2) describing the sequence of events leading to research, (3) describing the administrative requirements to which agencies are contractually committed, and (4) setting forth the specific instructions for preparing and submitting proposals on AAPTP projects. Readers are cautioned that a thorough understanding of both the third and fourth sections is necessary to the preparation of acceptable proposals. Matters of ambiguity should be covered with AAPTP staff prior to proposal preparation so that the risk of proposal rejection may be minimized.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides annual funding for a large amount of hot mix asphalt (HMA) for construction and maintenance of airfield pavements. Approximately 90% of all paved runways are HMA. Due to this high utilization of HMA, research is needed to ensure that optimum results are obtained.
There are many new developments in HMA that are being finalized and adopted to improve performance and reduce costs. These new developments need to be identified and adapted to airfield pavements. Airfield pavements have special needs and research is needed to solve these specific airfield pavement problems. There is a desire to develop procedures to reduce overall costs and to produce longer lasting, saver pavements.
Section 704 of Vision 100 -- Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (Public Law 108-176) authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration Administrator to consider awards to concrete and asphalt pavement research foundations to improve the design, construction rehabilitation, and repair of airfield pavements to aid in the development of safer, more cost effective, and more durable airfield pavements. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (Public Law 108-199) provides $4 million to carry out the provisions of Section 107, Public Law 108-176.
The Airport Asphalt Pavement Technology Program (AAPTP) will be administered through Auburn University. Auburn University (AU) is a non-profit organization through which the program will be managed. The research will be directed towards improving quality of HMA, reducing costs, improving safety, and providing training and training materials as needed. Auburn University is eligible to receive grants from federal and state governments, as well as to receive contributions from corporations and individuals.
The technical staff at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), and within the NAPA membership will provide credibility to the AAPTP. The work performed through this cooperative arrangement with FAA will not duplicate any ongoing research at AU or NCAT.
The AAPTP will be administered by Auburn University using a process that involves three levels of oversight. A Program Coordination Group (PCG), multiple Project Technical Panels (PTP), and individual Research Providers (RP) make up the three levels. All three levels will have avenues through which to receive input from FAA and other aviation industry representatives. The procedures are documented herein to ensure the smooth operation by and among the three oversight groups. The oversight will include, among other things, standard agreements and forms for reporting travel reimbursement, contract administration, bias elimination, and administrative functions.
The FAA is the partner for the development of the overall AAPTP. The FAA will have a voting representative on the Program Coordination Group. The FAA will appoint a representative to sit on each of the Project Technical Panels. Specifically, the FAA will be responsible for general program oversight, monitoring and evaluation to help ensure appropriate accomplishments through the AAPTP during the administration of the projects funded under the Cooperative Agreement. The FAA Agreement Officer's Technical Representative (AOTR) will participate in the planning and management of the HMA research program, and will coordinate activities between the AAPTP and the government. The FAA will:
The AAPTP will have three levels of oversight by independent panels to ensure that there is a broad stakeholder participation in the management and coordination of the research program.
The Program Coordination Group (PCG) is the upper level of management. The people participating in the group will represent aviation industry interests and each member will have one vote.
The FAA and the AAPTP will each maintain a non-voting liaison representative to the PCG (Hence FAA will have one voting member and one non-voting member on the PCG). Each representative will be responsible for carrying the decisions of the PCG to their representative organizations for appropriate action. These members maintain lines of communication with their organizations and assist the PCG by bringing results of past or current research to the attention of the PCG. This helps provide assurance that research projects selected for execution by the PCG are not duplicative of other research efforts.
Members of the PCG serve voluntarily without compensation. The PCG members are not expected to be technical experts but they do represent the airport industry and will serve in a capacity as advisors to the researchers. Any PCG guidance will go to the researchers based upon the consensus of the group membership. Members of the PCG are prohibited from participating in proposals on research activities for this program.
Meetings of the PCG are open to attendance to anyone that has a business interest but only PCG members have voting rights when a final decision is required.
The responsibilities of the PCG include at a minimum:
A Project Technical Panel (PTP) composed of approximately five individuals make up the Tier 2 management structure. Each project will be assigned to a PTP. Nomination for appointments to the PTP will be made by various organizations and individuals, the AAPTP Director will make panel appointments with concurrence by the PCG. Panel members will be invited to participate based upon their demonstrated experience and technical expertise and may include individuals from local, state, and Federal government agencies, universities, HMA industry, aviation industry groups, and other groups with related interests.
Members of the PTP serve voluntarily without compensation. The PTP members are the technical experts and they represent the airport industry. They are appointed for the duration of the individual projects and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the research and reporting stages of the project. Each PTP shall have a Project Director (PD) that serves as chairperson and is responsible for conduct and notes from all meeting. In most cases the AAPTP Director will serve as Project Director and a non-voting (except in cases of ties) member of the PTP. Guidance on aspects of the research shall be based upon the consensus of the PTP members. The guidance/information from the PTP shall be furnished to the AAPTP Director for contract execution. Individuals or organizations can not submit a proposal for a project if there is a conflict of interest created on the PTP, such as a member of the PTP working for the same organization or any other perceived conflict of interest. Although Auburn University is the manager of this grant program, proposal from Auburn University staff and associated organizations may be considered. In the event that Auburn University or a group associated with Auburn University submit proposal, a Project Director, not associated with Auburn University, shall be appointed prior to the evaluation of any proposal submitted for that project.
Individuals at Tier 3 are the research providers. The providers are the people that respond to the RFP or Project Statement and successfully negotiate a subagreement award. These researchers, including private sector research firms, universities, research foundations, and government and industry laboratories, conduct the research in accord with the research plan approved by the Technical Panel. The providers prepare periodic reports and drafts of their reports for review and approval by the Technical Panel.
The PCG is charged with developing initial project statements which will be released on a yearly basis on the AAPTP website. A PTP will be formed and a detailed project statement and project request for proposal (RFP) be developed. The RFP announcement will be posted on the AAPTP website as they become available. The RFP announcement shall contain statement of work, objective, product tasks, time requirement, funding amount, and contact information for each project.
Research programs to be administered under the AAPTP are referred annually to Auburn University by the FAA, PCG and others. Each annual program consists of a group of initial statements of research problems that contain project scope and need for items that are of national importance to asphalt airport pavements.
The PCG will prioritize the projects within the annual program and concur with project funding amounts. Following FAA acceptance of the prioritized program, AAPTP will form project panels to prepare the RFP that describes the problem, specific objectives and tasks that are directed toward problem solution.
After the RFP has been developed by the panel, they are posted on the AAPTP for a 4-6 week solicitation period.
Issuance of a RFP does not constitute an award commitment by the AAPTP or Auburn University nor does it obligate Auburn University to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal.
In response to AAPTP's RFP, eight (8) hard copies and one (1) electronic file of a single-bound volume that meets the requirements of section IV shall be submitted (send to AAPTP, 277 Technology Parkway, Auburn, AL, 36830). Any interested agency or individual may submit a proposal to determine whether or not the respondent possesses, either singly or though a collaborative effort with others, the requisites necessary to ensure successful completion of the research project. In the instances of a collaborative effort, a lead agency must be assigned, with full justification if the lead agency will not carry out over 50 percent of the work (budgeted cost). Proposals become the property of the AAPTP and are treated as privileged documents. AAPTP reserves the right to reject all proposals.
AAPTP research may be conducted by colleges, universities, industry, research institutions and foundations, engineering consultants, or others who possess extensive, demonstrated capability coupled with a proven experience record in the project area. Overseas agencies may, but are not encouraged to, submit proposals. Although they may be able to document that they possess sufficient depth of knowledge of American practice, the complicated logistics involved in surveillance and administration of subagreements overseas might make it less likely that such agencies would be selected.
The FAA and Auburn University encourage participation of small businesses, minority-owned firms, and women's business enterprises as subagreements for AAPTP projects.
It is emphasized that the AAPTP procedures do not provide for pre-proposal briefings or for meetings with staff and panels in due course of proposal evaluation or agency selection. The proposal, therefore, constitutes the one-and-only opportunity for the agency to state its case.
Instructions for preparing proposals appear in the fourth section of this document. Proposers should read and comply with section four very carefully. In order to facilitate the review of multiple proposals by the project panels and the AAPTP staff, compliance with the instructions for preparing proposals is mandatory. Failure to comply with these instructions and submitting the required forms may result proposal rejection or penalizations during the evaluation/selection process.
Acceptable proposals are forwarded to the appropriate panels for review and evaluation. Selection of an agency is made only by the responsible panels considering the following factors: (1) demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan and/or ability for application of results; and (5) the adequacy of the facilities. The total funds available are made known in the RFP, and line items of the budget are examined to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of funds to the various tasks. If the proposed total cost exceeds the funds available, the proposal is rejected. On rare occasions, after the panel has made initial screening of proposal, a telephone interview may be held between the PTP and the proposing organization to clarify specific aspects of the proposal.
Soon after panel review, the agency selected is so notified and the subcontract negotiations with Auburn University are initiated. An alternative proposal is selected and the alternative agency is requested to remain on standby for 30-60 days in case negotiations with the first selected agency can not be completed. All other proposals are designated as unsuccessful, the agencies are so notified, and the proposals are disposed of according to Auburn University policies. If requested, unsuccessful applicants will receive a summary of the review comments.
Once agency selection has been made, the proposal review comments of the panel and the AAPTP staff may be submitted to the selected agency, and a response is required. Some minor modifications to the proposal may result.
When all parties are satisfied that there is clear understanding of the intent of the research and that the research can be conducted as planned, the subagreement is prepared by Auburn University and sent to the agency for execution.
TYPE OF RESEARCH SUBAGREEMENTS
A cost-reimburse subcontract agreement is typically used but the program reserves the right to use fixed price agreement when applicable.
1. Cost-Reimbursement (CR), which provides for payment to the subrecipient of allowable costs incurred in the performance of the subagreement, to the extent prescribed in the subagreement. This type of subagreement establishes maximum costs for purposes of (a) obligating funds, and (b) setting a ceiling, which the subrecipient may not exceed (except at the subrecipient's risk) without prior approval of Auburn University. This type of subagreement is used when costs cannot be estimated reasonably adequately because sufficient uncertainty surrounds subagreement performance to preclude the use of a fixed-price subagreement. In addition, for this type of subagreement, it is essential that the subrecipient's cost accounting system is adequate for the determination of costs applicable to the subagreement and that appropriate surveillance by AAPTP personnel during performance will provide reasonable assurance that the effort is proceeding satisfactorily.
2. Fixed-Price (FP), which provides for a price that is not subject to any adjustment by reason of the cost experience of the subrecipient in the performance of the subagreement. It is suitable for use when reasonably definite design or performance specifications are available and whenever firm and reasonable prices can be established at the outset of the effort.
Subrecipients are required to comply with pertinent regulations of the FAA relative to nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs of the FAA and shall not discriminate against any worker because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In the fulfillment of this provision, the subrecipient is required to provide all information and reports required by the regulations, or orders and instructions issued pursuant thereto, and will permit access to its books, records, accounts, other sources of information, and it facilities as may be determined by the FAA or Auburn University to be pertinent to ascertain compliance with such regulations, orders, and instructions.
After executing the subagreement, the agency is expected to pursue the research aggressively and with due regard to the performance period. Visits may be made by the AAPTP staff to maintain liaison with the project throughout the subagreement period. Annual trips to Auburn University by the principal investigator (PI) for consultation with Program staff may be requested. The initial primary point of contact on shall be the AAPTP Director unless otherwise directed. Technical concerns and issues will be forwarded to and from the PTP members as required.
QUARTERLY PROGRESS REPORTS
Quarterly progress reports (two (2) hard copies and an electronic copy in Microsoft Word format) are required from the subrecipient and are always prepared on the basis of calendar quarters. The subrecipient mails the reports directly to the AAPTP Director by the last day of the quarter. Each report includes the following:
A cover letter providing (a) a clear and complete account of the work performed on each task during that quarter; (b) an outline of the work to be accomplished during the next quarter; (c) summary of the project's fiscal status; and (d) a description of any problem encountered or anticipated that might affect the completion of the subagreement within the time and fiscal constraints as set forth in the subagreement, together with recommended solutions to such problems (or a statement that no problems exist).
FINAL AND INTERIM REPORTS
Format information for final and interim reports are provided in "Requirements for Interim and Final Submissions" Final reports are required for all projects, and agencies should budget for one trip of the PI to the AAPTP offices to present a draft final report and hear the comments and issues required in the preparing and editing of the final documents. This preliminary draft is reviewed by the cognizant PTP panel and staff, and formal review comments are transmitted to the PI. The PI then prepares a final report that incorporates the reviewers' comments and reflects editing by a competent technical editor. Final report requirements and deadlines will be addressed in the project statement.
This procedure obviously requires agencies to give careful thought during proposal preparation to the level of funds that will be required to ensure satisfactory compliance with subagreement commitments regarding preparation, editing, submission, and revision of preliminary draft reports, and preparation and submission of the report.
ADHERENCE TO ORIGINAL RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND BUDGET ESTIMATES
The proposal submitted by the research agency becomes the binding scope of work in the subagreement with Auburn University. Thus, in addition to the specific research objectives outlined in the subagreement, the research agency's cost proposal is a part of the agreement. The approved total funds cannot be exceeded, and anticipated major changes in the original estimate must be discussed in advance with the AAPTP. The AAPTP must be notified when promising new leads or unproductive lines of inquiry are discovered, especially if they might lead to significant deviations from the objectives of the original research.
The research is considered to be under the technical direction of the PI identified in the proposal. Because it is expected that the PI will have had the major hand in determining the scope of work and setting it forth in the proposal, it is further expected that the PI will be available for the full subagreement period and will have major involvement in the pursuit of the research objectives. Replacement of the PI is subject to approval from the AAPTP.
FULFILLMENT OF SUBAGREEMENT
Fulfillment of the subagreement includes submission by the research agency of an acceptable report. Other actions to be taken in closing out a subagreement involve audit of subagreement costs (including approval of final overhead rates), submission of a final invoice by the agency, disposition of data and equipment, resolution of patent rights, completion of a certificate of performance and release form, and other related business matters.
Proposals are invited only in response to the issuance of AAPTP problem statements contained in the requests for proposal (RFP). Submitting organizations are highly encouraged to read the entire AAPTP procedures manual to provide complete understanding of the program. The AAPTP is an applied research program that does not operate on a grant basis and has no funds available to support unsolicited proposals, however meritorious they may be. The projects are structured to seek remedies for pressing problems that exist nationwide; hence, proposals are desired only from agencies or individuals already having extensive, demonstrated capability and experience in the subject problem area. Further, it is expected that only this high level of capability will be applied in meeting the commitments of the proposal-capability and cannot be developed at project expense.
The deadline for receiving proposals, as shown on each project statement, is rigid, and extensions are not granted. Proposals may be withdrawn at any time. In order to be considered, proposals must have been received in the offices of the AAPTP not later than the deadline shown. All proposals arriving after the deadline shown on the project statement will be rejected. Send proposals to: AAPTP, 277 Technology Parkway, Auburn, AL, 36830.
The proposal package must be received by the AAPTP (AAPTP, 277 Technology Parkway, Auburn, AL, 36830) no later than the close of business on the date stated in the RFP. The package shall consist of eight (8) hard copies and one electronic file in Microsoft Word or PDF format of the proposal. The electronic file shall be delivered with the hard copies and may be on a CD-ROM or computer diskettes. A letter of transmittal need not be sent with the proposal package. In the event an agency elects to send a transmittal letter, it is cautioned that the transmittal letter must not include information vital to the proposal. All information that is to be considered as part of the proposal must be bound in a single volume that will constitute the proposal in its entirely. Brochures, pamphlets, and other descriptive materials pertaining to the agency may be included as Appendix material. CD- ROMs, video tapes, or computer diskettes are not acceptable for inclusion in AAPTP proposals, unless specifically called for in the AAPTP project statement.
The AAPTP will not acknowledge receipt of accepted proposals. AAPTP will, as quickly as possible, advise agencies of proposals rejected from consideration, conveying the reason(s) for rejection.
Proposers are cautioned to be concise and straightforward in their single-volume proposals. Material that is extraneous and not germane to the research project under consideration will detract from the quality of the proposal. The research approach (described below) of the proposal should not exceed 20 pages. All pages of the proposal shall be numbered; using 10-, 11-, or 12-point type, with margins of 0.5 to 1 inch.
The proposal information shall be presented in a single-bound volume that has been checked sufficiently to ensure completeness and accuracy of detail. Proposals that do not comply with the instructions will not be accepted. It is mandatory that the proposal contain the following information and that it be presented in the following order:
DETAILS OF ESSENTIAL CONTENTS
Please remember that noncompliance with the following will result in automatic rejection:
Maintained by Linda Kerr