QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (Q&A)

 

1. Where can you find the roadmap?

The CESMII Roadmap can be found at https://www.cesmii.org/cesmii-roadmap/

 

2. Who is cost sharing?

The cost share must be at least 30% of the total allowable costs for the project (i.e., the sum of the CESMII share and the recipient share of allowable costs equals the total allowable cost of the project) and must come from non-Federal sources unless otherwise allowed by law. (See Section 10 of the RFP for the applicable cost sharing requirements.) Cost share requirements apply to the project as a whole and will be provided by the member or members (project team) that submit proposal to the RMC.

 

3. Are we contracting with CESMII or the RMC?

CESMII will negotiate a subrecipient agreement to provide financial and other support with the Regional Manufacturing Centers (RMCs). The RMC will negotiate sub-agreements with their Project Teams that include mandatory flow-down terms and conditions from the CESMII agreement.

 

4. When CESMII reviews the projects, are they tackling the tech that we need?

RMCs collaborate with their members, other RMCs, Affinity Groups and project teams to develop responses to the RFP. Only RMCs may submit proposals in response to the RFP. The basic flow of documentation begins with vetting of potential project ideas and concepts generated by the CESMII members or potential members, Affinity Groups, the RMC and the CESMII Chief Technical Officer. The RMC initially reviews the proposed ideas. If an idea satisfies the assessment factors found in Section 11- Application and Submission, it will go forward with the development of a proposal to be submitted to CESMII HQ.

 

5. What does CESMII evaluate, and what issues do they specifically address?

Please refer to the RFP, Section 13- Application Review Information, Section 11- Application and Submission Information and, Section 14- Portfolio Selection Criteria.

 

6. What is the difference between the sub recipient and vendor?

A vendor (is defined as a dealer, distributor, merchant, or other seller providing goods or services that are required for the conduct of a Federal program.  Vendors are not awarded funds by the same means as sub recipients and are not subject to the terms and conditions of the Federal financial assistance award. The characteristics of a vendor that make it distinct from a sub recipient are summarized below. A vendor:

  • Provides the goods and services within normal business operations;
  • Provides similar goods or services to many different purchasers;
  • Operates in a competitive environment;
  • Provides goods or services that are ancillary to the operation of the Federal program;
  • Is not subject to compliance requirements of the Federal program.

A subrecipient is a non-federal entity that carries out the CESMII funded program. They deliver services, conduct research, or perform other activities for the benefit of CESMII.

Characteristics of a subrecipient:

  • Has performance measured against the objectives of the program.
  • Has responsibility for programmatic decision making.
  • Uses the funds to carry out a program of CESMII as compared to providing goods or services.
  • Is subject to comply with all mandatory flow down clauses.

 

7. Can you clarify the Proposal Submission Process?

See Section 11 for more detail. RMCs collaborate with their members, other RMCs, Affinity Groups and project teams to develop responses to the RFP. Only RMCs may submit proposals in response to the RFP. Affinity Groups will work with RMCs and CESMII HQ to provide ideas and guidance to develop projects for review and submission in response to the RFP. The RMC will then submit proposals to CESMII. Any project team members who are not CESMII members will be required to finalize CESMII membership and be in good standing prior to the selection of the proposal by CESMII Head Quarters (HQ).

 

8. We can’t subcontract with the funding agency. Is it really the case?

Please see Section 11 of the RFP.

 

9. Is the cost of the RMC part of the proposal?

The sub recipient agreement for the RMC will be negotiated by CESMII. The RMC costs for project management and project monitoring should not be included in the member or member team’s proposals.

 

10. Are there going to be deadlines interacting with the RMC?

Members will work with the RMCs during the selection and development of proposals through submission.  The RMC may set a date at their discretion to allow time for a thorough proposal review and still meet the submission date.

 

11. When do you need to be a member to be selected?

All members (or members of the project team) submitting proposals to an RMC must be members in good standing by the time a proposal has been selected by CESMII. A member is in good standing if they have executed a membership agreement and are current with their annual dues. Information regarding CESMII Membership can be found at the CESMII website, https://www.cesmii.org/membership-information/.

 

12. Do you require committed budgets in the Jan 31 submission?

A Budget Justification Workbook EERE 335 will be a post selection requirement.  See Section 16- Post Selection Requirements. However, letters of commitment from all subrecipient/third party cost share providers must be provided in an appendix to the proposal.  Please see Section 12- Proposal for further budgetary requirements.

 

13. If you’re a national member, how do you pick a region to work with you? On what basis do you choose the RMC?

All members have an RMC that is based on the member’s geographic location. If you are not a member, CESMII recommends finding an RMC within your geographic location. If there are resource needs outside of the geographically selected RMC, CESMII Headquarters and the RMC will collaborate with other RMCs to ensure that the needs of the member are met.

 

14. Are the RMC’s limiting the number of submissions?

There is no set limit to the number of proposals to be submitted. Please see Section 11 Application and Submission.

 

15. Can Proposals cross-cut multiple areas of interest?

CESMII intends to fund Roadmap Projects with the greatest chance of helping achieve the goals and mission of CESMII. CESMII may award an entire proposal or any part of a proposal at a funding level that will be negotiated with the applicant.  If the proposal responds to more than one area of interest, the tasks and the cost related to each area of interest must be clearly separated within the proposal for appropriate evaluation.

 

16. What if you need resources in another region?

CESMII expects collaboration amongst the RMCs in order to provide resources that will result in proposals that meet the mission, goals, and objectives of CESMII.

 

17. Will these teams consist of several organizations? – who are the members of the team?

Project proposals can be developed by one member or a team of members working with the RMC in order to provide resources that will result in proposals that meet the mission, goals, and objectives of CESMII.

 

18. What are the appropriate means to show that your project works?

All proposals must support the CESMII Goals and Objectives as described within the RFP. All sub awardees are accountable to meet or exceed the CESMII goals. After selection, there will be a detailed work plan negotiated, including Milestones, Specific Deliverables and GO/NO GO decision points.  All projects will be monitored and managed according to this work plan.

 

19. Do you have a guideline or template for the project agreements?  

Model Agreements can be found at https://www.cesmii.org/model-subagreement/

 

20. How will you be judging the 5-year and 10-year metrics? The potential to reach those goals in the given time frame?

A baseline will be developed, and progress tracked using the Department of Energy and other sources’ periodic reports on energy efficiency and productivity.

 

21. Can multiple RMC’s submit a collaborative proposal (say in a workforce development?)

CESMII encourages collaboration among the RMCs and membership that provides resources that will result in proposals that meet the mission, goals, and objectives of CESMII. All members have an RMC that is based on the member’s geographic location. If there are resource needs outside of the geographically selected RMC, CESMII Headquarters and the RMC will collaborate with other RMCs to ensure that the needs of the member are met.

 

22. Is there a listing of what is acceptable as an in-kind contribution? Is it strictly labor or does it include materials, etc.?

Please refer to Appendix A: Cost Sharing at https://www.cesmii.org/request-for-proposal/.

 

23. If we use DOE funds to co-fund software tools, will CESMII force their claim on IP and prevent us from releasing as open source to industry?

 Each proposal should identify how the IP developed will be protected or released, and provide an analysis of how the value to CESMII is impacted by release or protection.  The value to CESMII should be analyzed in terms of CESMII’s overarching objectives. Please refer to https://www.cesmii.org/model-subagreement/ and https://www.cesmii.org/membership-information/ for additional information in regards to Intellectual Property.

 

24. If we pay lease costs for use of an experimental automated manufacturing cell to perform the project tasks, will that qualify as in-kind cost share to attract matching funds?

Please refer to Appendix A Cost Sharing at https://www.cesmii.org/request-for-proposal/.

 

25. Are software licenses donated by software vendors considered cost share?

Please refer to Appendix A Cost Sharing at https://www.cesmii.org/request-for-proposal/.

 

26. The RFP mentions "previous work efforts" should be put in the Resources section of the proposal. Should this not be included in the Project Description?

  • Please refer to Section 12 of the RFP: Project Summary --Background: Discuss the background of project team, including the history, successes, and current research and development status (i.e., the technical baseline) relevant to the topic/technical area of interest being addressed in the Proposal.
  • Resources- This section should also include relevant, previous work efforts, demonstrated innovations, and how these enable the applicant to achieve the project objectives.

 

27. How will team members interact with the RMC?

Section 11 of RFP- RMCs collaborate with their members, other RMCs, Affinity Groups and project teams to develop responses to the RFP.  Only RMCs may submit proposals in response to the RFP. Affinity Groups will work with RMCs and CESMII HQ to provide ideas and guidance to develop projects for review and submission in response to the RFP. The RMC will then submit proposals to CESMII.

 

28. Do RMC's need to be part of the proposal team?

Please see Section 11 of the RFP. Additionally, the RMC costs for project management and project monitoring should not be included in the member or member team’s proposals.

 

29. Did you just say that if a vendor is going to provide cost share, they NEED to be a member?

If a vendor is providing cost share, the cost share is subject to all the DOE/CESMII Terms and Conditions and Federal Regulations as reflected in the Model Subagreement, ( https://www.cesmii.org/model-subagreement/). In this case the vendor will be required to become a member.  If a vendor is providing a routine commercial service and is not providing a cost share contribution to the project, membership to CESMII is not required.

 

30. Does the RMC just help shape the idea or are they required to be part of the team?

RMCs collaborate with their members, other RMCs, Affinity Groups and project teams to develop responses to the RFP. Only RMCs may submit proposals in response to the RFP. Affinity Groups will work with RMCs and CESMII HQ to provide ideas and guidance to develop projects for review and submission in response to the RFP. The RMC will then submit proposals to CESMII.

 

31. Here you say team can be one member. At the meeting last week, you said an industry partner is required. From this, not sure if a non-industry member can submit a proposal (alone) or not.

CESMII has clarified the issue and released a modification to the RFP.  There is no requirement for an industry partner to be a member of the project team.  However, please review Section 11 of the RFP specifically 13.1 Roadmap Project Proposal Evaluation Criteria; number 2. Technical Approach to address commercialization.

 

32. Can a proposal draw upon two funding categories (Areas of Interest)?

CESMII intends to fund Roadmap Projects with the greatest chance of helping achieve the goals and mission of CESMII. CESMII may award an entire proposal or any part of a proposal at a funding level that will be negotiated with the applicant.  If the proposal responds to more than one area of interest, the tasks and the cost related to each area of interest must be clearly separated within the proposal for appropriate evaluation.

 

33. If the team members are from multiple regions, can the team choose which region to work with?

Please select an RMC to begin the process. CESMII Headquarters and the RMC will collaborate with other RMCs to ensure that the needs of the members are met.

 

34. The reference to number of Awards. Is this the number of RMCs that are awarded contracts or the number of teams?

In the RFP, Section 3.1.1 Estimated Funding -Table 1: Summary of Funding reflects the number of member proposals that CESMII anticipates being selected for negotiation.

 

35. What are the differences between affinity group and technology areas?

Please refer to Section 2 of the RFP for details on the Technical Areas of Interest as well as the CESMII Roadmap found on the following link https://www.cesmii.org/cesmii-roadmap/.  Additional information on Affinity Groups can be found at  https://www.cesmii.org/affinity-group-listings/ and by contacting the RMC in your geographic location.

 

36. When a sub-recipient provides cost share versus a vendor providing cost share - is there a preference by CESMII as to which may be considered better?

The cost share must be at least 30% of the total allowable costs for the project (i.e., the sum of the CESMII share and the recipient share of allowable costs equals the total allowable cost of the project) and must come from non-Federal sources unless otherwise allowed by law. (See 2 CFR 200.306 and 2 CFR 910.130 for the applicable cost sharing requirements.)  Each Project Team is free to determine how best to allocate the cost share requirement among the team members. The amount contributed by individual Project Team members may vary, if the cost share requirement for the project as a whole is met.

 

37. What do you mean by Reusability?

The ability for repeated use of engineered hardware/software IT and OT data, application and infrastructure configurations as templates, Toolkits and shared infrastructure for maximum sharing of technology and practice for cross function and cross industry use.

 

38. How do you think energy efficiency improvement should be quantified?

One way will be to compare progress against baselines; total energy consumption, savings, productivity, etc.

39. What is the cost to become a member?

Please see the CESMII Membership cite at https://www.cesmii.org/membership-information/ and contact the RMC in your geographic location for additional information and guidance.

40. Are you going to get extra points for providing more cost share?

Please refer to Section 14 PORTFOLIO SELECTION CRITERIA of the RFP. CESMII will create a balanced portfolio and select projects that are complementary and support the accomplishment of CESMII objectives. This will include Fit with current Budget Period (BP) funding profiles which may give preference to proposals that provide additional cost share.   

 

41. What is CESMII's project success rate - by internal metric?

CESMII will use internal metrics to measure and track project success.

 

42. The competition is national, not regional, right?

The competition is national, not regional

 

43. Page 14, First line of Section 16 Post Selection Requirements states “The following documents are required to be submitted within 30-days after selection during award negotiations:” and goes on to list the documentation such as the SOPO, SF 424, EERE 335 etc. which together represents the Full Project Plan.  However, Figure 1 of Section 11.1 Roadmap Project Process Overview, indicated the period to develop the Full Project Plan as 4 – 6 weeks.  Which is the actual requirement? 

The requirement is for 30 days after selection as stated in Section 16 of the RFP.