The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is soliciting proposals to establish three new Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in Arizona, Maryland and Rhode Island. NIST has $3 million in funding to support the centers, which would join the existing network of more than 400 MEP centers and field offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The centers primarily help small- and medium-sized manufacturers enhance their productivity, innovative capacity, technological performance and global competitiveness.
NIST anticipates funding each project up to $1 million for the first year of operation, and each center must identify a nonfederal cost share of at least 50 percent of the total project cost for that first year. Any renewal funding of an award will require nonfederal cost sharing that increases to a maximum of two-thirds of the center's budget at year five and beyond.
U.S.-based nonprofit institutions or organizations, including universities, state and local governments and existing MEP centers are eligible to submit a proposal. An eligible organization may work individually or include proposed subawards or contracts with others in a project proposal, effectively forming a team. All proposals must be received no later than 5 p.m. Eastern time on August 20, 2012.
Manufacturing extension services are provided by using the most cost effective, local, leveraged resources through the coordinated efforts of a regionally based MEP center and local technology resources. The management and operational structure of each MEP center is based on the characteristics of the manufacturers in the region and locally available resources with demonstrated experience working with manufacturers.
Additional information on the application process is available in the notice of Federal Funding Opportunity posted at Grants.gov (www.grants.gov/) under Funding Opportunity Number 2012-NIST-MEP-AZ-MD-RI-01.
NIST MEP will hold an information webinar for organizations considering applying to this opportunity on July 18, 2012, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. More information is available on the NIST MEP website: www.nist.gov/mep.