Competition for the Management and Operation of the National Center
for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
The Division of Atmospheric Sciences (ATM) of the Directorate
for Geosciences (GEO) of the National Science Foundation (NSF)
is preparing a competition that is expected to lead to the award
of a single cooperative agreement for the future management and
operation of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
In accordance with the National Science Board’s resolution
97-224, NSF competes expiring awards unless it is judged to be
in the interest of U.S. science and engineering not to do so. Sources
that meet the eligibility requirements below are invited to submit
Capability Statements in accordance with the stated criteria no
later than May 1, 2006.
The competition for the management and operation of NCAR will be
open to universities or consortia of universities, other not-for-profit
or nonprofit organizations, and any industrial firm operating as
an autonomous organization or as an identifiable separate operating
unit of a parent organization.
NCAR operations must be conducted in the public
interest with objectivity and independence, free from
organizational conflicts of interest, and with full
disclosure of its affairs to NSF. NSF will have overall
responsibility for award oversight, including technical, programmatic,
and financial and administrative performance. For federal policy
considerations, please see FAR 35.017, “Federally Funded
Research and Development Centers” at http://www.arnet.gov/far/.
NCAR was established in 1960 in Boulder, Colorado as a center of
excellence for research and education in atmospheric science, providing
research, facilities and services for the atmospheric and wider
geosciences community. NCAR was designated as an NSF FFRDC in the
early 1970s. The current cooperative agreement, for a total amount
not exceeding $548M, began October 1, 2003 and will expire on September
30, 2008. The 2005 base budget for the operation of NCAR was approximately
$80M, with additional support from other agencies of approximately
The NCAR mission is to support, enhance and extend the capabilities
of the atmospheric and broader science community by planning, organizing
and conducting atmospheric and related research programs in collaboration
with universities and other institutions, providing state-of-the-art
research tools and facilities to the atmospheric sciences community,
supporting and enhancing university atmospheric science education,
and facilitating the transfer of technology to both the public
and private sectors.
NCAR facilities and computing infrastructure currently available
for use by the scientific community include two NSF-owned research
aircraft, ground-based and airborne radar, lidar and radiometer
systems, surface sounders and sondes. NCAR also develops and maintains
sophisticated climate and meteorological models, and provides high-end
supercomputing, network and data services for the atmospheric and
broader geosciences community.
SPONSOR’S CONCEPT OF NCAR OPERATIONS
The recipient of the award (hereinafter referred to as the “Awardee”)
shall manage space and equipment provided by NSF, will provide
additional space and equipment as necessary, and will provide support
and technical personnel to manage NCAR as an FFRDC. NCAR will act
as a strategic partner of NSF, and will plan and execute a broad
research program consistent with the objectives and priorities
of NSF and the scientific community. Although NSF is the sponsoring
agency, the scientific community is NCAR’s primary customer;
therefore, a significant portion of the research program will be
carried out in collaboration with the community. NCAR will enhance
the ability of the community to collectively explore, develop and
extend its ideas by providing access to shared observational facilities,
computational infrastructure and databases, and an integrated support
network of institutional and individual sources of expertise that
could not be contained within a single organization.
TASKS PERFORMED FOR OTHER THAN THE SPONSOR
As an FFRDC, NCAR may not use its privileged information or access
to facilities to compete with the private sector; however, NCAR
may perform work for other agencies under the Economy Act or other
applicable legislation, when the work is not otherwise available
from the private sector and is consistent with NCAR’s mission
as defined by NSF. Such work may be either accepted by NSF or authorized
via amendment to the cooperative agreement, or in some cases provided
by the other agency directly to NCAR.
CAPABILITY STATEMENT CONTENT
Interested organizations may submit a statement of their capabilities
to perform the sponsor’s concept of NCAR operations.
Organizations submitting capability statements will be assessed
on the following:
- Broad knowledge of, and connection to, the
atmospheric and wider geosciences community.
- An ability to
attract, develop and retain experienced and highly qualified
personnel for the facilities and research environments that
NCAR is expected to operate.
- Experience in the successful
management and operation of complex facilities, virtual or
physical, including responsibility for providing critical
logistics support for short and long-term scientific initiatives.
necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational
controls (including such elements as property control and
procurement systems), and technical skills, or the ability
to obtain them along with adequate financial resources.
The Capability Statement shall not exceed 10 pages, and shall provide
only substantive information essential for proper review. Attachments
are not authorized and will not be considered. The Government will
not pay for the cost of preparing and submitting the Capability
Statement. The submission must be received at NSF no later than
May 1, 2006 at 4PM EST. Amendments to responses after the close
of this notice are not authorized and will not be considered.
Written Capability Statements may be submitted by mail to the
National Science Foundation, Attn: Kristin Spencer, Grant & Agreement
Specialist, Division of Contracts and Complex Agreements, 4201
Wilson Boulevard, Room 475, Arlington, VA 22230 or electronically
to firstname.lastname@example.org . Facsimile responses are not authorized.
EVALUATION OF RESPONSES
Responses to this notice will be evaluated on the basis of the
aforementioned capabilities. Only information submitted in response
to this notice will be considered. Additional information and/or
amendments to responses after the close of this notice are not
authorized and will not be considered.
Based on the Government’s assessment of the information provided,
NSF will send a written notice advising respondents of their potential
to be viable competitors. Organizations providing capability statements
in response to this announcement will not be rank ordered, weighted
or scored. NSF’s response will be advisement only, not a
final determination. The advisement does not preclude any respondent
from submitting a proposal in the future competition, nor will
it guarantee award.
NSF will respond to written questions regarding the assessment.
The NSF response may be in writing or in a meeting at NSF, at
ANTICIPATED COMPETITION SCHEDULE
This notice does not constitute a solicitation; therefore, no award
of any kind will result from this notice. Although the competition
is still in planning stage, NSF anticipates that a program solicitation
will be issued on or about October 31, 2006.
It is expected that the solicitation will define the competition
as a two-stage process. Preliminary proposals outlining the organization’s
vision and/or concept of design for the future of NCAR would be
due on or about January 31, 2007. The preliminary proposal would
be intended to provide an overview of the applicant’s approach,
and as such would be limited in length. Applicants would be notified
of the outcome of evaluation of preliminary proposals by mid May
2007. Only those organizations successful in this stage would then
be invited to submit full proposals, with an expected due date
of August 1, 2007.
SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Kristin Spencer, NSF Grant & Agreement Specialist,
Jarvis L. Moyers
Division Director, GEO/ATM