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MEP State Partnership Support Project

Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO)

Back to Closed Federal Funding Opportunities

UPDATE: This opportunity has closed. The execution of the official award package will be in April–May 2016.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites proposals from eligible and qualified organizations to support efforts of the MEP Program, including MEP Centers and the entire MEP system of partners, to develop and enhance effective collaborative relationships with states and other stakeholders. These activities will advance the MEP's network of relationships with state stakeholders and partners to help MEP achieve its mission of improving productivity and technological performance in United States manufacturing.

To view a PDF of the full Federal Funding Opportunity, click here.

Please submit your proposals via under Funding Opportunity number 2016-NIST-MEP-STATE-PARTNERSHIP-01

Partnerships are critical to the success of MEP. In particular, regional, state and local partners:

  • demonstrate leadership to generate action to address regional, state and local challenges and opportunities;
  • set priorities for economic development and complementary activities (e.g., workforce, technology, sustainability, etc.) in their jurisdictions;
  • develop strategies and programs to advance those priorities; and
  • provide significant financial co-investment (non-federal cost share) that supports the operation of MEP Centers.

NIST MEP has long recognized the value of these partnerships and sought to nurture and deepen the relationships with state leaders in both state executive branch agencies and state legislatures. This is a complex challenge, given the number of states, the differences in economies, markets, culture, political philosophies, and spending priorities, the rapidly-changing composition of elected and appointed officials, shifting trends in public policy priorities, and related considerations. The purpose of the MEP State Partnership Support Program is to generate strategies, market intelligence, and analytical resources to support the efforts of MEP Centers, NIST MEP and of the Nation's manufacturers to undertake this challenge. There are certain base-level activities that underpin the success of this work:

  • Collecting and analyzing available data to inform strategies, services, and performance;
  • Conducting research about current practices and trends to inform MEP system program initiatives and policy decisions;
  • Developing and expanding the network of State, regional and local leaders supporting manufacturers, MEP Centers and the MEP mission;
  • Enabling MEP Centers to better align their work with State priorities; and
  • Increasing State support of MEP work.

NIST MEP anticipates that these base-level activities will occur during all five years of the cooperative agreement.

In addition to the annual base-level activities under the cooperative agreement, NIST MEP plans to work with the recipient to conduct more intensive, targeted activities in one of the five years (to be determined jointly) to proactively engage State, regional and local leaders. While the specifics and timing of the targeted activities will be jointly determined after award, the applicant should propose approaches that would accomplish the following:

  • Target a selected number of States and regions with concentrations of manufacturers;
  • Directly engage teams of State, regional and local leaders from diverse backgrounds to explore and inform their thinking about strategies to support and grow manufacturing;
  • Convene forums where State and local leaders can interact with MEP Center leaders around strategies to support manufacturing;
  • Provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning among selected participants; and
  • Provide exposure to research and leading thinkers regarding strategies that work to support manufacturers in key areas such as accelerating companies' technology adoption, increasing access to new markets, fostering innovative approaches; and effective supply chain practices.

Activities during the year of heightened intensity may include a combination of convening meetings, conducting targeted research, consulting with individuals or groups of participants, and other such activities that help to accomplish intended outcomes. Up to $750,000 of additional MEP funding will be provided for the year of more intensive activities. (See Section II.2. of this FFO.)

Note that the activities conducted under this cooperative agreement will occur in the context of advancing NIST MEP's Strategic Plan:

ENHANCE COMPETITIVENESS – Enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturers, with particular focus on small and medium-sized companies.

SUPPORT PARTNERSHIPS – Support national, state, and regional manufacturing, eco-systems and partnerships.

CHAMPION MANUFACTURING – Serve as a voice to and a voice for manufacturing and manufacturers in engaging policy makers, stakeholders, and clients.

DEVELOP CAPABILITIES – Develop MEP's capabilities as a learning organization and high performance system.

The NIST MEP Strategic Plan can be found at

Who is Eligible: Applicants must be a U.S.-based for-profit or not-for-profit institution or organization. An applicant may propose to work individually or may include proposed subawards to eligible organizations or proposed contracts with other organizations in its application, effectively forming a team.

State Partnership Support Project Time-line:
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.

  • December 16, 2015 – Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) (75 Day Posting)
  • January 15, 2016 at 12 p.m. (Eastern) – Informational Webinar
  • February 29, 2016 – Due Date for Proposals
  • March–April 2016 – Review Process Continues and Selection of Proposed Awardees
  • April–May 2016 – Negotiations (if applicable) and Execution of Official Award Package

Information Webinar:
An information webinar was held on Friday, January 15, 2016. The presentation slides and

are available online. 


MEP Resources
The following resources are currently available:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
MEP will post FAQs as they are received. Please submit questions regarding this funding Opportunity to Diane Henderson at mepffo [at] (mepffo[at]nist[dot]gov). To download the FAQ document, click here.


For General Information

  • MEP Headquarters
    (301) 975-5020
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 4800
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800
Created December 15, 2015, Updated November 15, 2019