RFP3 Questions and Answers


Request for Proposals Three,  QUESTIONS and ANSWERS:




Any questions regarding this opportunity can be submitted to roadmapprojects.info@cesmii.org  (an attempt will be made to answer all questions).


1 How are the Educational SM Apps and VR systems related to the Upskilling Curriculum?

CESMII has identified SM skills required in the workforce and these projects are directed to creating resources to equip the educator network to deliver the required education and training. The educational SM Apps and VR/simulator systems need to provide students with hands-on exercises in relation to the curriculum.

See this document for more information.

2 How does CESMII support small and medium manufacturers that want to participate but are not technically advanced and need assistance? Yes, CESMII has a variety of resources to assist with manufacturers, either other instatutes, system integrators, or vendors that are interested in working with you.  You should contact CESMII for more information.
3 Does the application vendor need to be USA based? All project team members need to be based in the USA. We do have provisions for a USA division of an international company, but there are additional cosiderations in that case that CESMII will help to manage.  You can purchase products that are supplied by international companies and use those in projects.  But actual project participants must be based in the USA.
4 Does CESMII provide assistance or subsidies for applicants that are working on proposals? Due to DOE regulations, we can not subsidize the process of proposal creation.  However, CESMII will offer assistance to educate and guide your process of proposal development.
5 We are a non-profit software development consortium.  How can we become involved with CESMII and your SMEs? CESMII offers a number of working groups.  As a CESMII member, you will have access to those groups and supporting the members therein.  In particular, there is a Small to Medium Manufacturer Affinity Group.
6 You state that you encourage proposals that combine the addressing of Focus Area 1 with either or both Focus Area 3 and Focus Area 4.  Can you explain further? There are cases where you have expertise in equipment, and you are interested in developing Profiles.  That is a value for Focus Area 3.  But at the same time, you have an application for that machine and that can be a solution for Focus Area 1.  The idea for CESMII is to maximize the results of projects to accress applications and the building blocks that make solutions of all types possible.
7 How does CESMII handle Support for Platform related items? Developer support if offered through our community on Discord.  We will also offer support via Zoom and email.  We ahve CESMII members that are developing our solutions and those supporting companies also offer support.
8 SM Innovation Platforms – What Standards are you using? We have a great deal of support for Standards.  The primary standard would be OPC UA for the information model.  We have an API standard based on GraphQL.  The Semantics, what words mean, is still open and there  are competing standards on that front, and we are working with both to some to a resolution.
9 Will the presentation be posted? Yes, our Presentation is posted in PDF form.  Also, our Webinar is posted to our YouTube channel and linked into the RFP Page.
10 Do we need to be a member to respond to the RFP? No, you do not need to be a member to respond, however, should your proposal be selected, you will need to become a member.  Membership information can be found here.
11 Hello I am an associate professor and interested to send proposal to the RFP#3, focus area 1 in collaboration with a professor from another University. One of us have the CESMII membership. Do both of us need to have the membership or just one is enough? You do not have to be members to apply for an RFP project. Once you are selected, all project partners (sub-recipients) should be members in good standing by the time the contract is awarded. Vendors do not have to be members. So in your case, both will need to be members by the time the project is awarded.
12 We are interested in an innovation industry project to produce the latest model of aviation vehicles.  Is that applicable? CESMII will consider project proposals that address the specific areas of interest described in the RFP. Application projects outside of the RFP may be considered as long as they are relevant to CESMII’s mission and objectives described on our website.

Please advise: the deadline for proposals on the website is Aug. 10 but the RFP pdf (page 8) says July 27.

The deadline for RFP3 proposals is August 10.  We will correct the RFP PDF document asap.

In the template, the first budget period shown is period 4 . Should we start with period 4, or was that simply an example and we should instead start with period 1? We weren’t sure if the budget period is a DOE period that supersedes the specific proposal.

“Budget periods” refer to the DOE budget periods.  For RFP3, all projects will begin and end in BP5, 2022Feb01 through 2023Jan31.  You should refer to only BP5 in all your documents.
15 What duration should each budget period be a 3 months, 6 months, or do we decide that based on some criteria? The example shows a 6 month period.

The budget period BP5 is from 2022 February 01 through 2023 January 31.

All RFP3 projects will be executed in BP5 which goes from Feb 1, 2022 through Jan 31, 2023

16 When does  the budget period start? Is the date based on the year calendar, federal fiscal calendar, or start date of the project? See above
17 The template states that the milestones should be reported by quarter. When do they start? Is it the year calendar, federal fiscal calendar, or start date of the project? There should be at least one milestone roughly every 3 months, during the project performance period.  Not tied to calendar quarters, but project duration.
18 What is the purpose of the go-no go step? We wouldn’t intend not to complete the project, so we aren’t sure how we should approach it. There is no Go-No-Go requirement for RFP3, since the projects are to be completed within Budget Period 5.
19 If the proposal is selected then what is the process and schedule of Federal Funding to our team? Is it released in 1 go or is it given in parts? What is it based on? The funding is provided on a reimbursement basis.  Teams can invoice CESMII/UCLA on a monthly basis to be reimbursed for project expenses incurred.
20 How can we access the SMIP to check if we can leverage it for our RFP3 project? Unfortunately, we do not have a means to provide access to SMIP for tryouts at the present time. We highly recommend that you review information posted for the SMIC on the resource page at  Technology – SM Innovation Platform – CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute.  Specific questions can be sent to devops@cesmii.org
21 Are Milestones reports for all open tasks require or Milestones per Task? As a minimum, one milestone every 3 months is required. The milestone should capture deliverables for main tasks during that period of time. There is no need for milestones for each task. Please refer to template example.
22 Could you explain what additional budget details are needed beyond what is listed in the summary section and what format/location should be used? For the proposal, CESMII is only  asking for general budgets on the following categories: Labor, Materia;/equipment, Software and travel. If the proposal is selected, CESMII will require more specific details for each budget category and examples will be provided at that time.
23  The proposal indicates there is a period of time where the Proposee has the ability to “back out” of the submitted proposal prior to contract negotiation. Can you please confirm this is accurate? Correct.  The proposing team(s) have the option to back out of the proposal/project prior to the contract negotiations.
24 We also understand there is the ability to submit the final proposal via an online CESMII portal. If so, can you please provide the link to this portal along with instructions on how to submit the response in this manner?
25 Can you clarify what the roles are for the contacts requested?  What is the technical and business contact responsible for?

Technical point of contact: Person responsible and familiar with all technical aspects of the project including scope, technology, objectives, etc.

This is the person providing regular technical updates and usually the Principal Investigators (PI) for the project.

Business Point of Contact: Person responsible for handling the business and financial related aspects of the project; budget, invoicing, cost share, etc.

26 Can you provide us with the guidance document for calculating fringe/indirect rates?
27 In the examples provided during the webinar, a software/hardware vendor can include costs for materials, etc as contribution-in-kind. Can we also include labor?
  • Yes.  A software vendor can include labor as cost share, for hours associated with achieving project work scope and milestones, per slide 32 of the webinar.  Labor will have to be classified as ‘Cash’ Cost Share. CESMII can provide additional guidance on how to represent this in the formal EERE 335 Budget document once the project is selected.
28 When is the due date for the RFP3 proposals? The RFP3 proposals is due (11:59pm) midnight on Monday, Aug 23.

IP management: We have existing IP we want to protect.  I downloaded the CESMII IP Management document but is there any other document we should be reviewing around IP and how to split “background IP” from a deliverable from the project?

    • “At a minimum, the Roadmap Project Participants will be required to grant the Institute a paid-up, royalty-free non-exclusive license under their interest in any Roadmap IP to enable other members to use such Roadmap Project IP for solely for R&D testing, evaluation, and educational purposes. Additionally, Roadmap Project Participants will be expected to grant CESMII Members access to their respective ownership interests in the Roadmap Project IP through an IP Licensing Agreement. While such IP Licensing Agreement will provide that the Roadmap Project Participant will extend a free license to their copyrights in any such Roadmap Project IP, CESMII and such Roadmap Project Participant will negotiate in good faith reasonable consideration (which may include in-kind consideration) to be provided to the Roadmap Project Participant in exchange for the grant of a license to any patent rights contained in such Roadmap Project IP (e.g., Foreground or Background patent rights). The level of consideration to be returned to the Roadmap Project Participant will be based on their respective contributions to the Roadmap Project (e.g., if Roadmap Project Participant provides full cost share, then CESMII may negotiate a revenue-sharing arrangement with such Roadmap Project IP owner, whereas if a Roadmap Project Participant provides less than full cost share, then such Roadmap Project Participant may provide a free license to its patent rights in such Roadmap Project IP).”
    • See additional information here.





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