Procurement Information Circular

March 12, 2003


PURPOSE: To revise PIC 02-07 guidance to emphasize the need for early acquisition planning for the recompetition of NASA University Affiliated Research Centers (NUARCs) at the end of the period of performance when there is a continuing requirement.


BACKGROUND: NASA has a rich history of working with the university community under a variety of contractual arrangements and assistance programs (grants, cooperative agreements). These arrangements have included Science and Research Institutes (NPG 5000.1), the National Technology Transfer Center, and many others.

NASA is committed to fostering greater involvement with the academic community and developing partnerships or strategic relationships with academia that go beyond that envisioned by institutes and other arrangements mentioned above. It is expected that these partnerships (referred to as NASA University Affiliated Research Centers - NUARCs) will focus on areas traditionally considered core research, science, engineering, and/or other technical functions performed by NASA to support its long-term mission objectives. Fostering these relationships requires innovative integration and collaboration between NASA and academia and where appropriate, the industrial community. The NUARC concept may take a variety of forms and structures depending on the scope and mission areas to be included. However, they are distinguished from prior programs with academia in that they will include performance of core competency areas historically performed by NASA. Further, NASA, rather than the university, shall provide the central focus for the science and research programs conducted at the NUARC. It is expected that the synergy of the partnership relationship that is the foundation of the NUARC concept will result in many benefits, including improved collaboration between NASA and academic institutions, enhanced research and technology development capability for NASA mission needs, and enhanced retention of human capital knowledge, skills, and abilities.

A NUARC will be distinguished by the following characteristics:

(a) Performance of a long-term, core scientific, engineering, or other technical NASA mission objectives.

(b) Established through a competitive process.

(c) A period of performance of 10 years that should normally be structured as a 5-year base period with appropriate option periods.

(d) Extensions to the term of the NUARC beyond that contained in the original award instrument (except as provided in PIC 00-22) or a non-competitive follow-on shall require the submission to and approval by the Assistant Administrator for Procurement (Code HS) of a request for exception. The exception request shall require a justification as to why the NUARC must continue with the same academic institution. Other regulatory requirements, such as a synopsis and a Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition (JOFOC), are still required.

(e) The lead entity shall be a domestic academic institution (preferably a single, degree granting university). Use of other entities (partnerships, consortiums, etc.) shall be justified in the acquisition plan.

(f) The purpose and mission must be clearly defined and stated in writing, with clearly delineated benefits.

(g) The business arrangement (instrument) will most appropriately be in the form of a contract although other instruments may be appropriate if properly justified.

(h) The instrument shall be structured to provide for periodic independent reviews. Prior to exercising an option or executing a renewal, an independent review is mandatory.

(i) The instrument shall be structured to provide appropriate mechanisms to reduce the period of performance in the event that the need for the function no longer exists as a result of budgetary changes, and/or changes in mission requirements, or to dissolve the relationship for failure to achieve or maintain acceptable performance levels.

GUIDANCE: The formation of this type of strategic partnership represents a significant and long-term commitment on the part of the Agency. In accordance with NFS 1807.7101(c)(4), the Master Buy Plan applies to the establishment of a NUARC when the contemplated total contract value is expected to exceed $5 million. This does not fulfill the NFS 1807.7101(b) requirement unless it is one of the three largest acquisitions at the installation.

In addition to the written acquisition plan contents identified in FAR 7.105 and NFS 1807.105, the following areas must be addressed when applicable:

(a) Location Where the activity will be performed (on-site, near site, university campus, etc.). Ownership, funding, outfitting, and maintenance and operation must also be discussed.

(b) Staffing If civil servants will be displaced, provide a transition plan. This plan should address retention goals and handling of displaced civil servants. Areas to emphasize are post employment restrictions, retirement and benefits portability,

salary disparity, retraining of displaced employees and statutory constraints (if applicable).

(c) Management Plan Provide the proposed NASA management structure and identify the roles and responsibilities of the NASA workforce and the contractor workforce.

CANCELLATION: PIC 02-07 is hereby canceled.


EFFECTIVE DATE: This PIC supersedes PIC 02-07, is effective as dated, and shall remain in effect until canceled or superseded.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Ron Lentz, Code HK, (202) 358-1064, email: ronald.b.lentz@nasa.gov.

Tom Luedtke

Assistant Administrator for Procurement