The National Academies

NCHRP 20-44(40) [RFP]

Implementing the Agency Capability Building Framework to Activate Organizational Change
[ NCHRP 20-44 (NCHRP Implementation Support Program) ]

Posted Date: 4/18/2022

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 24 months
Authorization to Begin Work: 8/1/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jennifer L. Weeks
   Phone: 202/334-2122
   Email: jlweeks@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 6/1/2022
Fiscal Year: 2020

State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies regularly face practical and functional challenges that require specific organizational needs and capabilities. Such factors may include changes in legislative or regulatory mandates, a budget cut or revenue shortage, or new technology to deploy.

In 2019 NCHRP Project 20-24(95)A, "Ensuring Essential Capability for the Future Transportation Agency", produced the Agency Capability Building (ACB) portal and digital guidebook and associated website that can be found at
https://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_20-24(95)_Final_Documents.pdf. The purpose of these products is to make information, tools, and resources available to agencies to efficiently and effectively address a specific agency need or challenge.

The ACB framework leads agency officials through a process to identify specific organizational needs through change forces, e.g., external factors and trends affecting a DOT. The ACB provides organizational and role-specific recommendations, tools, and other resources for executives, agency directors of human resources, communications, information technology, and other core agency functions, including but not limited to planning, design, and asset management.

The objective of this research is to facilitate the use of the ACB by transportation agencies. The  research team awarded this project will develop communications materials and modules; and deliver presentations, webinars, training, and/or other structured opportunities that will market and build awareness of the ACB products and facilitate their use by state DOTs.  While focused on state DOTs, the ACB and this implementation project may appeal to DOT partner agencies such as metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local transportation agencies seeking to improve executive functions.  

The media and forums developed to encourage implementation must be designed for a broad array of potential agency beneficiaries of the ACB, including but not necessarily limited to executives, managers, and senior practitioners. The proposers shall consider the unique time constraints, levels of authority and responsibility, availability of resources, and the various ways people learn and absorb information in the design and execution of the research plan. No changes will be made to the ACB portal.

NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the project objective. Proposers are expected to describe project work plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must capture, in sufficient detail, the proposers' current thinking to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
A kick-off web conference of the research team, the project panel, and NCHRP will be held within 30 days of the contract’s execution. The research team will use the kick-off to discuss the details of the amplified research plan and the proposed methodology for achieving the project objective.
Note: NCHRP approval of the amplified research plan is required before work can proceed on subsequent tasks.
The research approach should delineate the specific tasks or activities required to accomplish the research objective. Potential activities envisioned as part of NCHRP Project 20-44(40) should at a minimum:
1. Promote the dissemination and use of the ACB products by communicating their value and content through multiple communications and outreach media, such as brochures, videos, and/or other promotional materials.
2. Make presentations at webinars, conferences, AASHTO meetings, and other events attended by transportation agency leaders to bring attention to the ACB, its benefits, and how to use it.
3. Plan and execute pilot implementation workshop case studies that demonstrate agency application of the research products oriented around a specific agency capacity need or challenge. These workshops should lead to the building of one or more capabilities using strategies and resources from the ACB guidebook and implementing the ACB action planning process. The contractor shall document the state DOT pilot use cases, including lessons learned regarding promotion and instruction on the use of the ACB products, and the outcome of the process.
4. Document the research process, including activities conducted, participants, data collected, and lessons learned in a conduct of research report. 
Note: NCHRP is responsible for the cost of panel meetings, including travel and venue. The cost of travel and materials for other research activities must be accommodated within the constraints of project budget.
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.
A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were modified in November 2020 to include maximum file size and page limits for all CRP proposals. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8 ½” X 11” paper, and the entire proposal must not exceed 60 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected.  For other requirements, refer to chapter V of the instructions.
B. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a "federally" Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
C. The NCHRP is a practical, applied research program that produces implementable products addressing problems faced by transportation practitioners and managers. The benefits of NCHRP research are realized only when the results are implemented in state DOTs and other agencies. Implementation of the research product must be considered throughout the process, from problem statement development to research contract and beyond completion of the research. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," must include the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, and (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in deploying the research product. The project panel will develop and maintain an implementation plan throughout the life of the project. The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, and others in order to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.
D. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) how the proposer approaches inclusion and diversity in the composition of their team and research approach, including participation by certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; and, if relevant, (6) the adequacy of the facilities.
Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 11 of the proposal.
E. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB's Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB's policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, "Use of Copyrighted Material," in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.
F. If the research approach includes human subjects testing, proposers should be aware that contracts will be subject to approval by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). This review may be conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s IRB, but NASEM will delegate the review to the contracting agency’s IRB if that agency’s process meets all federal requirements for the protection of human subjects.

Proposals should be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/ojvKQN5bshaJwdRy06GY
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 6/1/2022.

This is a firm deadline, and extensions are not granted. In order to be considered for award, the agency's proposal accompanied by the executed, unmodified Liability Statement must be in our offices not later than the deadline shown, or the proposal will be rejected.

Liability Statement

The signature of an authorized representative of the proposing agency is required on the unaltered statement in order for TRB to accept the agency's proposal for consideration. Proposals submitted without this executed and unaltered statement by the proposal deadline will be summarily rejected. An executed, unaltered statement indicates the agency's intent and ability to execute a contract that includes the provisions in the statement.

Here is a fillable PDF version of the Liability Statement. A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at https://www.adobe.com.

General Notes

1. According to the provisions of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 21, which relates to nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs, all parties are hereby notified that the contract entered into pursuant to this announcement will be awarded without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

2. The essential features required in a proposal for research are detailed in the current brochure entitled "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals". Proposals must be prepared according to this document, and attention is directed specifically to Section V for mandatory requirements. Proposals that do not conform with these requirements will be rejected.

3. The total funds available are made known in the project statement, and line items of the budget are examined to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of funds to the various tasks. If the proposed total cost exceeds the funds available, the proposal is rejected.

4. All proposals become the property of the Transportation Research Board. Final disposition will be made according to the policies thereof, including the right to reject all proposals.

5. Potential proposers should understand that follow-on activities for this project may be carried out through either a contract amendment modifying the scope of work with additional time and funds, or through a new contract (via sole source, full, or restrictive competition).

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