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CIF / DIF 2014 - Q & A
July 31, 2013

 Center Innovation Fund / Director's Innovation Fund Request for Proposals
Questions & Answers

Questions and answers (Q&A) regarding the FY14 CIF / DIF RFP will be posted on this page and will be updated periodically as new questions are received. Questions can be posted on the website until one week prior to the Step-1 proposal due date,
or September 27, 2013.

Please submit your questions to: Jill Baumann <jill.bauman@nasa.gov>


Q: I submitted a proposal prior to the original deadline – can I resubmit an edited proposal?
A: Yes. Contact Julianna Fishman if you have difficulty with this.

Q: How do we account for spaceshop operational costs in our budget?
A: Because of the ongoing deliberation about spaceshop funding mechanisms, budgetary information with regard to spaceshop operational costs will not affect proposal selection. This information supersedes any prior informally communicated information (i.e. hourly rate, $5k/10% per project, etc.). You may handle this by including spaceshop operational costs as a blank line item in your budget. Procurement costs for materials specific to your project should still be specified in your budget.

Q: How will spaceshop utilization (focus area 2) be evaluated?
A: Focus area 2 proposals will be evaluated on the basis of reasonable use of spaceshop resources and capabilities. Please see the spaceshop website for a description of resources. Individuals associated with the spaceshop are available to help by providing further information about spaceshop capabilities. Discussions with these individuals or the individuals’ inclusion in a proposal will have no bearing on proposal selection. Please include in your proposal a brief description of what you intend to make in the shop, and with what equipment.

Q: I am writing a DIF proposal but wondering what the section "Hypothesis to be tested" is for.
A: The 2013 Directors Innovation Fund call for proposals is seeking hypothesis driven research that is needed to enable high priority science for anticipated or planned NASA research projects and missions, in the areas outlined in the Centerwide solicitation.  To assist the review of the proposals and to make sure that all DIF proposals submitted are hypothesis driven, we are requesting that the proposers clearly state the hypothesis, that the proposed research will be addressing, in the section "Hypothesis to be tested".  

Q: Some of the Division/Branches may ask for Division/Branch taxes of the CIF/DIF awardee.  Are the proposers supposed to roll this into their budget, and if so, how?
A: No Division or Branch taxes can be charged for CIF/DIF work.

The CIF/DIF call for proposals states that resources are not intended to fund or supplement work that is part of an existing project. Can you clarify this?
A: CIF/DIF funds may be used to develop a new technology that complements or enhances an existing project’s primary goal (e.g., brings the project in a new, unanticipated direction), and that also may be applicable to other efforts.

Q: If we have an external partner, with whom we will be collaborating and sending money, what paperwork (MOUs, NDAs) do we need to attach to the proposal?
A:  If the partner is an Ames’ contractor, the CIF/DIF work can be added to their existing task. If the partner does not have an existing contract in place with Ames, then we will determine the mechanism for collaboration on a case-by-case basis after the award.

Q: Is the "Resource Requirements" in Section 2 redundant to the "Budget" in Section 3?
A: The budget table in Section 3 was meant to be the main content of the "Resource Requirements" in Section 2. The Section 3 header is an error in the template, and should not be there. You can consider the budget table to be part of the "Resource Requirements" in Section 2.

Q: How will CIF proposals be evaluated for inter-center collaboration?
A: Any proposal with inter-center collaboration must submit proposal information to the NASA CIF: Agency Concepts for Collaboration website. The Chief Technologist Council will review those Focus Area 1 proposals and determine appropriateness of the stated partnership, including the division of responsibilities and facility usage. Proposals with weaker collaborations (e.g., one center only provides a consultant) will not be as highly ranked for its collaboration effort.

Q: Are all CIF proposals required to submit an "intent to submit", or just Focus Area 1 proposals?
A: Only proposals submitted to Focus Area 1, in which you want special consideration for partnerships with other centers, are required to submit an "intent to submit" to the NASA CIF: Agency Concepts for Collaboration website by September 18, 2013. If you already have a partner from another center, you must still upload your proposal information to this website.

Q: Can we upload the "intent to submit" for Focus Area 1 proposals without knowing our potential partner center's funding situation?
A: Yes, Focus Area 1 proposals should submit their "intent to submit" by September 18 even if they do not currently know the funding status of other centers. The Chief Technologists Council will meet prior to final selection, to coordinate funding for inter-center partnership proposals. The purpose of this website is to help PI’s identify potential collaborators.

Q: What is the URL to upload the "intent of submit"?
A: The URL for Focus Area 1 proposals to upload their "intent to submit" is: 

Q: If I have a Focus Area 1 proposal, in which I am partnering with another NASA center, is it possible that one proposal be accepted and the other, at a different center, be rejected?
A: Coordination of the Focus Area 1 proposals will be handled by the Agency’s Chief Technologist Council (CTC). The Chief Technologists from all partnering centers will jointly determine if a Focus Area 1 proposal will be selected. Either both will be selected, or neither will be. There is a possibility that if the Ames Chief Technologist determines the proposal to be a great value to Ames, and the partnering center does not want to fund the effort, that the Ames CCT will reexamine the proposal for exclusive Ames funding of the stated Ames’ tasks.

Q: For Focus Area 1 proposals, can the partnering centers write one proposal that clearly outlines the work each will do, and then submit a copy of that one proposal to each center?  
A: Yes, except for the budget section. The proposals should be consistent in the work plan, and other details submitted, and should clearly state the responsibilities of each center.  The budget submitted at each center, however, should outline only the funds needed to cover that center's work. However, each partner should adhere to their respective center’s proposal format requirements.

Q: For Focus Area 1 proposals, do both centers need to put an entry into the NASA Center Innovation Fund (CIF): Agency Concepts for Collaboration website?
A: No, you may coordinate the "intent to submit", and just have one entry.

Q: For Focus Area 1 proposals, would each center receive the full CIF award, or would each center have to split a single award?
A: While the proposals submitted at each center may be nearly identical, the budget submitted at each center should outline only the funds needed at that center to cover that center's work. See Question & Answer #TBD above.

Q: Can we include travel costs in the CIF/DIF proposals?  If so, how should that be shown in the budget?
A: No, at this time there are no travel funds for CIF awardees. The proposal template only allows for input of FTE and procurement requirements. At a later date, if the proposer can show absolute need for travel to complete the stated CIF goal, there may be a limited amount of travel funds available.

Q: What is the process for getting proposal approval from a Branch Chief or higher?
A: The first page of the proposal template includes a check-box to indicate that the PI received approval from a Branch Chief or higher prior to submitting the proposal. If the proposal is selected, the CCT office will verify management approval.

Q: Is there a page limit for Step-1 proposals? If the limit is exceeded will only the content up to that limit be considered?
A: Yes, there is a page limit for Step-1 proposals. The limit is 2 pages, excluding the 1st page, which is POC information related, and the 3rd page, which is the budget table.  If the remaining body content exceeds 2 pages, only the first 2 pages of the body content will be considered.



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Page Last Updated: November 7th, 2013
Page Editor: Sonja Caldwell