401.8 - Unsolicited Proposals
OPR: Admin/Procurement and Contracts
1. Purpose. This chapter describes the policy and procedures for the processing of unsolicited proposals received by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
2. Definition. An "Unsolicited Proposal" is a written proposal submitted to the USGS on the initiative of the submitter for the purpose of obtaining the award of a contract, cooperative agreement, or grant. An unsolicited proposal may be submitted in response to a general statement of need or interest publicized in the Commerce Business Daily or other appropriate media, but not in response to a formal or informal request/solicitation.
Advertising material, commercial product offerings, contributions, and technical correspondence, as defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.501 "Definitions," are not considered to be unsolicited proposals as discussed in this chapter. Consequently, proposals for commercial hardware or services may not be processed as unsolicited proposals.
A. It is the policy of the USGS to publicize the missions of the USGS, and the various scientific and technological areas of interest and expertise required to accomplish those missions.
B. The USGS will accept and objectively evaluate only those unsolicited proposals which are relevant to the missions and activities of the USGS. Contract proposals must comply with the requirements of both FAR 15.505, "Content of unsolicited proposals," and FAR 15.509, "Limited use of data."
C. Each unsolicited proposal should contain a written statement clearly indicating whether or not the submitter chooses to impose any restrictions on the proposal. The Government will not refuse to process an unsolicited proposal due to the presence of proprietary or restricted use markings. The Government assumes no liability for the disclosure or use of information contained in a proposal which the offeror failed to specifically identify as information subject to restriction in accordance with FAR 15.509 and 3.104-5.
4. Responsibilities. The Chief, Office of Procurement and Contracts, and the Chiefs of the Procurement and Contracts Branches for Central and Western Regions are responsible for the processing of unsolicited proposals.
Any correspondence or discussions with the submitter concerning the proposal shall be coordinated through the applicable contracting office.
(1) Upon receipt, proposals will be screened by the receiving contracting office against the criteria in the FAR Subpart 15.5 to determine whether or not the proposal should be processed as an unsolicited contract proposal.
(2) A proposal which has no relevance to the missions and interests of the USGS will be returned to the submitter with an explanation of the USGS interpretation of the proposal and the reason it will not be evaluated. Where known, the USGS will identify other Governmental agencies whose missions bear a reasonable relationship to the proposal's subject matter.
3) If any required information is missing from the proposal, the submitter will be given a chance to provide it.
(4) The submitter must clearly state in writing whether or not any restrictions apply to the use or disclosure of the proposal for purposes other than evaluation. Restrictions may be imposed on all or part of the proposal either by the submitter or any subcontractor or subrecipient who wishes to restrict material which is under the subcontractor's control. A proposal containing restricted data will be marked in accordance with FAR 15.509(d). If a disclosure statement (Figure 1) was not submitted with the proposal, one will be furnished for the submitter to complete. No further action will take place until the submitter has completed the disclosure form.
(5) Proposals suitable for consideration as unsolicited proposals will be acknowledged in writing and forwarded to appropriate Division Chief(s) for technical evaluation. The notice "Unsolicited Proposal, Use of Data Limited" (Figure 2) must be affixed to and retained with each proposal copy.
(1) The Division Chiefs are responsible for designating an individual to serve as a single point of contact at Headquarters and at each region (Reston, Denver, and Menlo Park) for coordinating the evaluation of unsolicited proposals. These individuals are responsible for seeing that a comprehensive technical evaluation of the unsolicited proposal is performed per the instructions in the request for technical evaluation. Each proposal must be evaluated by at least one employee with the appropriate scientific or technical expertise to provide a sound, comprehensive evaluation. Where multiple proposals are received in response to a notice of USGS interest, they must be evaluated by a panel of three or more qualified reviewers. The evaluation is to be completed within 45 days after the date of receipt of the proposal(s) and the request memo. (Proposals from the National Academy of Sciences must be reviewed within 10 days from receipt.) For contract proposals, the evaluator(s) must meet the procurement integrity provisions described in FAR 3.104 and the DIAR 1403.
(2) If evaluation by personnel outside of the USGS is necessary, the USGS shall obtain the submitter's written permission and agreement to disclosure of the data. Use of outside evaluators on contract proposals requires approval by DOI (FAR 15.413-2).
(3) The evaluator(s) will report the evaluation findings and recommendations to the requesting contracts office by completion of the Unsolicited Proposal Evaluation Form 9-3053 (Figure 3) and a memorandum addressing the applicable items indicated in the request for evaluation. If funding is recommended, the materials should be returned with a completed DI-1 requisition. All copies of unfunded proposals must be returned to the contracts office.
(4) A favorable technical evaluation of an unsolicited proposal is not, in itself, sufficient justification for negotiations with the submitter on a noncompetitive basis. When restrictive requirements and other considerations dictate noncompetitive contract award, a justification for other than full and open competition must be prepared in accordance with SM 404.3, and forwarded with the DI-1 to the contracts office.
(1) On receipt of the written technical evaluation findings and recommendations, the contracting office will advise the submitter in writing of the acceptance, rejection or other disposition of the proposal.
(2) Any DI-1 resulting from an unsolicited proposa will be processed in accordance with applicable procurement procedures, unless the action has a purpose of assistance authorized by statute. Grants or Cooperative Agreements may be awarded under authorized assistance programs.