UPDATE: This opportunity has closed. The execution of awards will be in December 2018.
NIST invites eligible organizations to submit an application for cooperative agreement funding for the operations of one (1) MEP Center in the State of Alaska. The MEP Center will provide manufacturing extension services to primarily small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) and will become part of the MEP National Network™.
The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The National Program Office (NIST MEP) which provides the federal government funding for the MEP National Network is located in Gaithersburg, MD.
The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. Focused on helping SMMs generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy, the MEP National Network is comprised of NIST MEP, the 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and over 1,300 trusted advisors and experts at more than 400 MEP service locations, providing any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources they need to succeed.
The MEP National Network's strength is in its partnerships. Through its collaborations at the federal, state and local level, the MEP Center in Alaska is expected to engage Alaska manufacturers to develop new products and customers, expand and diversify markets, adopt new technology, and enhance value within supply chains. The MEP Program serves as a bridge to other organizations and federal research labs that share a passion for enhancing the manufacturing community.
The statutory authority for the MEP program is 15 U.S.C. § 278k, as implemented in 15 C.F.R. part 290. In the event of any inconsistency between the NOFO and the notice published in the Federal Register, the notice published in the Federal Register controls.
Please submit your proposals via www.grants.gov under Funding Opportunity Number 2018-NIST-MEP-AK-01
Cooperative Agreement. See Section II.1. of the NOFO for additional information concerning the funding instrument for this award.
NIST anticipates funding one (1) award at a funding level of up to $500,000 per year of operation for an MEP Center in the State of Alaska. The project awarded under this NOFO will have a budget and performance period of up to five (5) years. In addition, as set forth in Section II.4. of this NOFO, awards issued pursuant to this NOFO may be renewed by NIST on a non-competitive basis for an additional period of two (2) years at the end of the initial award period.
Who is Eligible
The eligibility requirements set forth in 15 U.S.C. § 278k(a)(5) and in Section III.1. of the NOFO will be used in lieu of, and to the extent they are inconsistent with will supersede the eligibility requirements provided in the MEP regulations found in 15 CFR part 290, specifically 15 CFR § 290.5(a)(1). Each applicant for and recipient of an MEP award must be a United States-based nonprofit institution, or consortium thereof, an institution of higher education, or a State, United States territory, local, or tribal government. Existing MEP awardees and new applicants that meet the eligibility criteria set forth in Section III.1. of the NOFO may apply. An eligible organization may work individually or may include proposed subawards to eligible organizations or proposed contracts with any other organization as part of the applicant’s proposal, effectively forming a team. However, as discussed in Section I.4. of the NOFO, NIST generally will not fund applications that propose an organizational or operational structure that, in whole or in part, delegates or transfers to another person, institution, or organization the applicant’s responsibility for core MEP Center management and Oversight functions. In addition, the applicant must have or propose an Oversight Board or Advisory Committee and Governance structure or plan for establishing a board structure within 90 calendar days from the award start date (Refer to Section I.3. of the NOFO).
Cost Sharing Requirements
In accordance with 15 U.S.C. § 278k(e)(2), the minimum non-Federal cost share for MEP Center cooperative agreements is 50 percent of the total approved project budget, which is determined on an annual basis. The MEP statute requires that minimum cost share requirements must be met annually; there can be no carryover of excess cost share from one year to the next. See Section III.2. of the NOFO for more information on the non-Federal cost sharing requirements under MEP awards.
Below is an outline of the key steps along with the target timing of each. These actions will take place over the next several months. Updates and changes will be posted to this site as needed.
Webinar Information Session
An information webinar was held on Thursday, September 6, 2018. You can view the presentation slides or watch the recorded webinar.
MEP National Network Resources
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions from applicants pertaining to MEP eligibility, cost-sharing requirements, evaluation criteria and selection factors, selection process, and the general characteristics of a competitive MEP proposal will not be considered on an informal basis. Applicants must submit all such questions in writing to mepnofo [at] nist.gov (mepnofo[at]nist[dot]gov).
Questions submitted along with the response will be incorporated into an FAQ document.