Solicitation Number: HHS-NIH-NLM-RDPS-10-121-KP

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services

Office: National Institutes of Health

NAICS: 541519 -- Other Computer Related Services

Notice Date:

Notice Type: Solicitation

Size Standard: $30 Million

NAICS code 541519 – An Information Technology Value Added Reseller (ITVAR) provides a total solution to information technology acquisitions by providing multi-vendor hardware and software along with significant value added services. Significant value added services consist of, but are not limited to, configuration consulting and design, systems integration, installation of multi-vendor computer equipment, customization of hardware or software, training, product technical support, maintenance, and end user support. For purposes of Government procurement, an information technology procurement classified under this exception and 150-employee size standard must consist of at least 15% and not more than 50% of value added services, as measured by the total contract price. In addition, the offeror must comply with the manufacturing performance requirements, or comply with the non-manufacturer rule by supplying the products of small business concerns, unless SBA has issued a class or contract specific waiver of the non-manufacturer rule. If the contract consists of less than 15% of value added services, then it must be classified under a NAICS manufacturing industry. If the contract consists of more than 50% of value added services, then it must be classified under the NAICS industry that best describes the predominate service of the procurement.

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Solicitation Number:


Notice Type:


Primary point of Contact:

Kimberly Pringle,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 301-496-6546 Fax: 301-402-0642


Added: May 04, 2010 4:47 pm
RECOVERY- The funding for this requirement will be made available under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and all qualification criteria that arise from the use of ARRA funding apply to this requirement.

It is the intent of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to procure, as part of its "Medical Advanced Research Projects Initiative" feasibility or "proof of concept" studies that could serve as the basis for future longer-term, more extensive research projects, that evaluate the feasibility of using innovative computational approaches to enhance the ability of clinicians and biomedical scientists to solve one or more significant cognitive tasks and bring improvement in medical care to patients, families, and the public. The focus of this requirement is to fund meritorious projects that are innovative and offer significant technological advances in NLM's mission in the fields of science and health.

The debate about whether the human brain is a protoplasmic "digital computer" or functions by other means does not preclude continuing interest in the possibility that computers can carry out tasks that would be viewed as requiring intelligence if performed by humans. Artificial intelligence (AI), a term coined in 1956, seemed to have limitless potential, including the development of "thinking machines" such as HAL, in Kubrick's film, 2001: a Space Odyssey. Much was accomplished in knowledge representation, programming languages, and in development of expert systems that could do useful things in this or that domain. The latter, "partially intelligent artifacts", however, fell far short of duplicating the general intelligence of the human. Key challenges, for example, understanding of natural language in texts and speech, as well as generation of innovative ideas and discovery, remain partially or wholly unresolved. Because few today believe that "strong AI" i.e. human-like cognition or better, is a likely near-term achievement, research and development largely gravitated to "weak" or "applied" AI, intended to produce "smart" tools, such as a security system capable of face recognition.

To invigorate research in the arena of computation and cognition (and to avoid the increasingly diffuse connotations of the term "AI" Artificial Intelligence), a number of fresh concepts, each focused on somewhat different aspects of the issues, have arisen in recent years: computational intelligence, machine learning, intelligence amplifying systems, flexible competence, human-computer collaboration, and computational thinking inter alia.

For NLM, three factors have combined to rekindle interest in the potential of computation to carry out more ambitious cognitive tasks.

• Continued advances in information technology and computer science

• Increased awareness that "intelligent" behavior by computers requires substantial understanding of the operational decision space, and the more distantly related surrounding turf.

• Redirection of goal from replacement of humans to enhancement of human intelligence by a human-machine partnership.

In biomedicine, clinicians and researchers now face formidable challenges in information management, innovation, and decision-making in an era which is seeing extraordinarily rapid growth of knowledge, distributed among a host of databases, and on a scale far larger than can be mastered by an individual. NLM believes that the remarkable speed, memory, and symbol-manipulating power of computers, if properly harnessed, can complement human cognitive strengths so as to enable efficient use of all of the knowledge relevant to solution of clinical and scientific problems.

The purpose of this procurement is to obtain contract development services that will develop and test computational approaches to one or more cognitive problems as commonly encountered by clinician, clinical researcher, biologist, or patient. NLM places no constraint on approach. Artificial neural nets, fuzzy systems, evolutionary computation, statistical (e.g., Bayesian inference, regression, etc.) and other methods, alone or in combination are acceptable as are novel approaches. NLM expects that progress on each proposed project will be an exploratory focus on feasibility testing; full scale development and formal testing are not requirements.

NLM intends to fund multiple contract awards to address these issues, with emphasis on novel approaches to computational thinking, and expects to fund a broad variety of methods of procedure in order to obtain an overview of what is promising in this arena and what is not.

Deliverables will be reports provided to NLM that include:
Proposed Future Directions

All deliverables must be free from encumbering licenses or restrictions.

The period of performance is anticipated to be for a one (1) year period.
This notice is for informational purposes only. This is not a RFP. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is expected to be released on or about May 20, 2010 through the website at POTENTIAL OFFERORS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DOWNLOADING THEIR OWN COPY OF THE SOLICITATION AND AMENDMENTS. Requests for the RFP will not be accepted via telephone, fax or e-mail. Offers will be tentatively due by July 6, 2010. Awards of this project are anticipated on or about August 20, 2010. Questions regarding this notice may be addressed to, ATTN: Kimberly D. Pringle, Contract Specialist. Please reference HHS-NIH-NLM-RDPS-10-121-KP on all correspondence. All responsible and responsive sources may submit a proposal that shall be considered by the National Library of Medicine. This requirement will allow for two pre-solicitation notices and two solicitation notices; one small business set-aside and one full and open. In order to receive an award, contractors must have valid registration certification in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) This advertisement does not commit the Government to award a contract.


Added: Jun 18, 2010 5:27 pm


TITLE: "RECOVERY - Computational Thinking to Support Clinicians and Biomedical Students (Part B-Full and Open)"

DATE RFQ ISSUED: May 25, 2010


CONTACT PERSON: Kimberly Pringle, Contract Specialist
Office of Acquisitions
National Library of Medicine
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 105
Bethesda, MD 20892-5488

QUOTE RECEIPT DATE: Monday, July 12, 2010, no later than 1:00 p.m., local prevailing time.
To all Vendors: The purpose of this Amendment is to: (1) revise the RFP and (2) respond to vendor questions to date.
(1) Page 1, Section A - Solicitation/Contract Form #9 of the RFQ is hereby revised to read as follows:
(2) Attachment 1, PACKAGING AND DELIVERY OF THE PROPSAL, Section B. Proposal Submission, is hereby revised to read as follows:

All proposal submissions (electronic and hard copies) must be received by 1:00 p.m. on Monday,
July 12, 2010.

In addition to electronic submission, one original and ten (10) copies of the technical proposal and one original and two (2) copies of the business proposal shall be provided to the address below:"
(3) Attachment 1, PACKAGING AND DELIVERY OF THE PROPSAL, Section C. Formatting and Layout, is hereby revised to include:
The technical and business proposal shall be submitted separately in two binders.
1) We are a privately owned and operate with foreign funding. We have an established office in the U.S. and we are not a registered entity with the small Business Administration (SBA). Are we eligible to submit a proposal for this RFP?

Offerors must consider all requirements, provisions and clauses to determine if they are eligible to apply. Foreign businesses can propose (and they have successfully) on ARRA requirements; however, all appropriate provisions for selection that are related to foreign contracts (i.e., Buy American, Foreign Currency, Trade Agreements, Trade Sanctions, etc...) apply to the solicitation/selection process, and foreign businesses must meet all requirements of the solicitation. In addition to the foreign terms and conditions applying to the contract, the reporting requirements under ARRA must be met by the foreign business in performance of the contract. All offerors must be registered with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) located at

2) Who will be the evaluators (academic, industry, fields....)?

The Technical Evaluation Group will be comprised of government and non-government experts qualified by training and experience in particular scientific or technical field.

3) What are the formal evaluation criteria and how will each be scored?

The evaluation criteria is listed in the RFP on page 74, Item 4, entitled ‘Technical Evaluation Criteria. Please note, the criteria is listed in order of relative importance along with the assigned weight for each criteria.

4) What is the strategy in selecting projects to fund?

NLM will select projects to fund based upon the outcome of the technical evaluation, negotiations and the rules and regulation of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

5) What level and type of justification is needed for fees for physician-consultants?
Justification should contain adequate documentation to support reasonableness of salaries proposed. For example: Proof that salary is commensurate with current or previous similar projects.

6) Will there be pre-award budget negotiations?

NLM anticipates that negotiations will be held with all contractors whose proposals are within the competitive range. However, the government reserves the right to award a contract without discussions if the Contracting Officer determines that the initial prices are fair and reasonable and that discussions are not necessary.

7) What outcome of the work will qualify the project for follow-on funding or constitute feasibility and/or successful completion of the project resulting in extension or renewal of the contractor with the same contractor?

At this time, the National Library of Medicine does not anticipate any follow-up funding for this requirement. However, if follow-up funding does become available, a new solicitation will be issued.

8) Is it important to have a publishable paper at the end of the project or is a report to the NLM sufficient?

A publishable paper is not a requirement for this effort. At project completion, the deliverable required is a final report with details of achievement and potential for further development.

9) Is NLM trying to review a broad collection of technologies covering a broad set of application areas, or are you trying to assess some specific solutions to some more narrow problems?

NLM is interested in a broad collection of technologies for a broad set of application areas, but understands that specific proposals are likely to apply one or only a few technologies to a narrow domain.

10) Are "Human Subject Disclosures" required for the clinicians?

If tools in development are being tested on clinicians or human subjects, "Human Subject Disclosures" should be obtained. Contractors should check with their Office of Sponsored Research, if applicable, for their own policy as it relates to human subjects. Information on human subjects is also available at NIH's OHRP website. The following websites provide additional information regarding human subjects:

11) Does the proposed process or development agenda have to involve live subjects/ cases?

Offerors may propose any project that is within the scope of work. Live subjects are allowed but are not necessary.

12) Is there a requirement to use data obtained from human subjects?

There is not a requirement to obtain data from human subjects. However, eventual applicability to
humans should be discussed.

13) If existing data is to be used, without involving human subjects, is it sufficient to state in the proposal that no human subject data was used, in order to be exempt from the human subject evaluation criteria?

If human data is not to be used, a statement to that effect is sufficient to justify exemption from human subject use regulations.

14) Is there a minimum number of records or data points required, in terms of establishing a result and achieving a minimum level of statistical significance, or can the project be based on a proof of concept with an initially limited data set?

A proof of concept with a limited data set is acceptable.

15) Is involvement by a MD required for a Principal Investigator on the academic side of the investigation team?

There is no requirement for a MD to be the Principal Investigator.

16) Do all technology pieces of the puzzle need to be sourced, identified and specified in the proposal or can there be a description of technology functionality, with part of the project involving development of that technology functionality as part of the project plan and specification?

There can be a description of technology functionality for which development is proposed. Offeror is responsible for providing sufficient detail to persuade that the approach is feasible.

17) In the proposal, can the focus be on one particular technology or approach? Is a narrow approach just as valid as a broad investigation of computational thinking?

A proposal can focus on a particular approach for a specific domain with no requirement that the approach will generalize to all other fields.

18) What are the exact deliverables for this project? What specifically would qualify as satisfactory completion of the work?
As stated in the solicitation, all offerors must submit a final report to the NLM that will be evaluated on the basis of feasibility of the approach, importance of the problem addressed, and potential for further development.

19) Will each funded project need a final demonstration to prove feasibility on a small scale? If so, when?
The final report, sent to NLM, should demonstrate feasibility of the project.

20) If we have an intriguing idea for a research project, will NLM help us find a data set that we can work on, or a partner in the biomedical field that we can partner with?
NLM is unable to assist offerors with data sets or finding partner organizations.

21) Is the proposed work to be performed onsite or offsite?

The place of performance for this requirement is offsite.

22) Page 1, section 9, says, "This solicitation requires delivery of proposals to two different locations..." I only see a Bethesda location. What is the other one?
As stated in Attachment I, all proposals shall be delivered to following address: 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 105, Bethesda, MD 20892. Page 1, Section 9, has been revised as follows: "This solicitation requires delivery of proposals to one location."

23) On page 41, the RFP states that we have to make an explicit request if we want to retain copyright. Does that go in the Business Proposal? On page 41 it says, "permission [to establish a copyright] is normally granted provided, a paid-up, world-wide, irrevocable, nonexclusive license to the Government is provided. This is to advise offerors that for this project, the Government intends to assert additional copyright permissions under this contract." Can you give us a clue or an example of what such permissions might be?

The scope of the governments' interest in the copyright will be determined during negotiations.

24) On page 44 the RFP states that we need to address Section 508 accessibility concerns, and that "The Section 508 standards applicable to this solicitation are identified in the Statement of Work/Specification/Performance Work Statement." The only "Statement of Work" specifications that I found started on page 45 and in Attachment 3. These say nothing about Section 508 or accessibility. So, given this lack the question is: if we are proposing a deliverable that is essentially a prototype of a research tool, and therefore has only a very rudimentary user interface, do we need to address Section 508 in our proposal?

Effective June 25, 2001, the Federal Government implemented Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Amendments of 1998 (29 U.S.C. S 794 (d)). Section 508 requires that the Federal Government only acquire electronic and information technology goods and services that provide access by persons with disabilities. For more information, please visit

25) Does the assurance of less than 100% federal FTE commitment mentioned on page 46 need to be in writing, and if so, where -- in the Technical Proposal?

Yes, Offerors shall confirm that proposed personnel are committed less than100% by completing Attachment 6, "Summary of Related Activities".
26) Page 33 of the RFP describes the contents of the "first page" of the proposal. Is this the same page as the "COVER PAGE" of the proposal as described on page 39?

No, please refer to pages 33 and 39 for specific details as each page is separate. The cover page should be the cover of the binder and the "fist page" of the proposal is the first page of the technical and/or business proposal.

27) Is the NIH-2043 form supposed to be separate from the Technical and Business proposals, as implied on page 39, or is it an attachment to the Business Proposal as shown in Section J - List of Attachments?

NIH-2043 is a separate attachment that should be included with the Business Proposal as shown in
Section J - List of Attachments.

28) Is it OK to have the Certification by IRB review be pending? If a delay review is permissible, how do I indicate this on the Protection of Human Subjects form (OMB 0990-0263) and the Proposal Summary and Data Record form NIH-2043?

IRB approval is not necessary at proposal submission time but is required before contract award.

29) What is a reasonable way to budget for the PI travel to the quarterly meetings if we only know the location of the two meetings?

There will be one travel day allowed for each of 2 meetings in Bethesda. All expenses should not exceed the government per diem rate. Two meetings will take place by way of conference call.

30) Is there an award budget maximum? (We had heard $500K, however could not find any mention of a maximum in the solicitation.
NLM anticipates that awards for this requirement should not exceed $400,000.00.
31) Is it allowable for a firm to submit multiple proposals in response to the RFQ?

Yes, a firm may submit multiple proposals if each proposal is for different work as represented in a different approach to project administration.

32) In "Section M - Evaluation Factors for Award", subsection 2 and 3 are both titled "Evaluation Data Sharing Plan." What is the significance of these sections existing separately versus together in a single section?

This requirement will not require a Data Sharing Plan.

33) Is the estimate of 6,400 labor hours for a single proposal or the total pool available for all proposals which are awarded?

The estimate of 6,400 labor hours is for a single proposed project.

34) What is the expected number of awards the government intends on making?
As stated in the RFP, multiple awards are anticipated.
35) Was this solicitation released under a specific contract vehicle or rather as a stand-alone solicitation?

This solicitation is for a new requirement.
36) Is it possible that contractors continue to have billable hours to NLM if the project is successful? If the contractor successfully completes the project, would NIH consider an extension or renewal of the contract? If NIH intends to put out a subsequent project after this contract, when will it be?
NLM does not anticipate any follow on projects, at this time. A new solicitation would be issued for a new requirement.

37) Can an individual consultant work for this task while he or she works for other NLM project as an in-house contractor?
Yes, however, no individual may commit to work exceeding 100 % level of effort as described in Attachment 6, "Summary of Related Activities".

38) We are a small company, how do we prove that we are a qualified small business source?
It is federally mandated that organizations wishing to do business with the federal government under a FAR-based contract must be registered in CCR before being awarded the contract. If you already have a DUNS number, you can register on-line at by clicking on "Register in CCR." If you need a DUNS number follow the instructions at Further information regarding registration is available in the CCR handbook at If you experience problems with your registration, please contact the CCR help desk at 888-227-2423. Please note there is no cost to vendors for registering in CCR. One's CCR registration in no way guarantees winning a contract or an increase in business.
Also, organizations must complete ORCA certification. The Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA) website can be found at: and clicking on "Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA)" on the left side of the screen. The following items are required in order to submit your Reps & Certs: (1) An active record in CCR, (2) An MPIN from that active CCR record. More information about ORCA can be found in the ORCA Handbook at:

Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) replaces most of the paper based Representations and Certifications (Reps and Certs) in Section K of solicitations with an Internet application. FAR 52.204-8 mandates the use of ORCA on or after January 1, 2005.



Solicitation 1

05/25/2010 05:00:00


Amendment 1

06/25/2010 05:00:00




Amendment 2

07/01/2010 05:00:00

RFP Amendment #4.pdf


Notice Type:


Posted Date:

Classification Code:

R -- Professional, administrative, and management support services


541519 -- Other Computer Related Services