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Process for the Small Business Applied Research Program

The award process under the Small Business Applied Research (SBAR) Program Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) has three stages:

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Preliminary Concept Papers must address the required content described in Section VIII of the BAA and be delivered in the format required in Section VIII as outlined in the solicitation. Preliminary Concept Papers will be evaluated in accordance with the evaluation criteria described in Section IX. If a problem statement includes additional evaluation criteria, the Preliminary Concept Paper will be evaluated in accordance with the additional evaluation criteria as well. Each Preliminary Concept Paper must address a discrete problem statement. Offerors may submit more than one Preliminary Concept Paper in response to a problem statement and may respond to more than one problem statement.

USAID will review and evaluate Preliminary Concept Papers using a team of technical peers and in accordance with the evaluation criteria. USAID missions and Washington-based Operating Units (OU) may select for further consideration those U.S. small businesses that are determined to have met the eligibility requirements and offer compelling solutions based on the evaluation criteria.

Some organizations that submit a Preliminary Concept Paper may not be invited to proceed to Stage 2. Due to the anticipated number of Preliminary Concept Papers, USAID may be unable to provide complete details on why Preliminary Concept Papers are not selected for further consideration.


After USAID missions and OUs have selected Preliminary Concept Papers for further consideration, mission and OU staff will notify and invite selected organizations to elaborate on their solution, and may provide redirection, comments, and questions. This is expected to be an iterative process. Organizations may be invited to collaborate on certain award parameters, such as the level of effort and activity objectives, period of performance, and budget.

All directions for the development of the Final Concept Paper will be provided by the respective mission or OU. The Final Concept Paper will form the basis for the award’s performance work statement or other work description format.

Unless provided otherwise, costs incurred by the organization to prepare Concept Papers or participate in negotiations with missions or OUs are at the organization’s expense and may not be charged as a direct cost to a resulting award; however, missions and OUs are committed to keeping costs to a minimum. U.S. small businesses should be prepared for the possibility of tele- and video-conferencing as a cost-efficient alternative to on-site discussions.


Not all Final Concept Papers considered during Stage 2 will necessarily result in awards. Participating missions and OUs will review evaluation committee recommendations and make a determination whether to move forward with an award based on the Final Concept Paper. For Final Concept Papers that have been determined to demonstrate a valid and compelling innovation to address the Problem Statement, the mission’s or OU’s Contracting Officer will assess the U.S. small business’s responsibility and identify the appropriate award type to facilitate project implementation.

Request for Additional Information: Throughout this iterative process, USAID may request additional information from the organization concerning its technical approach, capacity, management and organization, past performance, and final budget, as well as representations and certifications, as needed.

Final Review and Negotiation: The USAID Contracting Officer will engage in a final review, negotiation, responsibility determination, cost/price evaluation, and other steps as needed prior to award. Except as stated below, if the prospective U.S. small business awardee and USAID cannot agree to the award terms, USAID may cancel the negotiation and award process at no cost to the Government.

Award:  Award decisions will be made by the USAID Contracting Officer. The basis for selecting Final Concept Papers for funding shall be the evaluation criteria, including technical considerations, importance to agency programs, and funds availability. Cost/price realism and reasonableness shall also be considered to the extent determined appropriate by the USAID Contracting Officer. The standard clauses or provisions for awards are generally prescribed by law and regulation and may vary by award type. Information regarding clauses and provisions will be offered to the prospective U.S. small business awardee during negotiations.