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The National Academies

NCHRP 23-30 [RFP]

Strategies to Improve Application of Research Results in the Research Life Cycle

Posted Date: 12/29/2022

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 24 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 7/15/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: David M. Jared
   Phone: 202/334-2358
   Email: djared@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/16/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023

BACKGROUND 

State departments of transportation (DOTs) have invested a significant amount of effort to support the implementation of applied transportation research results. However, research results often go unused, or the adoption of the results is incomplete. There is also some concern among state DOTs that the value of research is not commensurate with the investment, which could hinder future investment and ultimately innovation within the transportation community. 

The incomplete adoption of applied research results in the implementation phase is not unique to transportation. To address this problem, the health and education sectors have used “knowledge translation” (KT), a knowledge management practice that maps the research life cycle from ideation to implementation, evaluates research products, and incorporates the adoption of research results in real-world settings. The transportation sector has explored elements of KT as part of an overall effort to increase the speed of research implementation but has focused only on segments of the research life cycle. 

Application of KT to the entire research life cycle can provide the means to consider and address the human and organizational aspects of implementation in each life cycle segment, examining each segment to identify weaknesses and opportunities for intervention to improve adoption. This broader application of KT, however, as a knowledge management strategy has yet to be explored. Research is needed to examine the application of KT to the entire transportation research life cycle and help state DOTs develop resources for this application to improve the value of research and the adoption of research results. 

OBJECTIVE 

The objective of this research is to develop resources that support state DOTs in the application of KT to the research lifecycle. The resources developed should provide the following: 

  • Definition of KT and explanation of (1) KT practices, including participants, activities, and resources needed at each stage of the KT life cycle; and (2) the relationship between KT and transportation research implementation;
  • Comparison of current transportation research models with the KT life cycle to identify leverage points, improvement opportunities, and potential barriers; and 
  • Identification of strategic actions to promote KT practices within the transportation research life cycle to improve implementation of research results. 

RESEARCH TASKS 

The NCHRP is seeking insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers’ current thinking described in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach in meeting the research objective. 

PHASE I

Task 1. Delineate KT methods and investigate current KT practices. 

Task 1a. Review literature on KT. Identify sectors leveraging KT methods and summarize uses of KT and variations in application. Include peer-reviewed and gray literature within and outside the transportation sector on KT and a review of transportation research and innovation implementation and adoption practices relative to KT. 

Task 1b. Develop a draft stakeholder engagement plan. The goal of the engagement plan is to gain a better understanding of current practices as outlined in the objective. Engagement could include interviews and/or surveys about research and innovation implementation and adoption practices. Stakeholder contacts may include state DOT research managers, subject matter experts that help communicate and implement research practices, KT practitioners, change management practitioners, and researchers. Review current state DOT research models and practices to integrate research implementation, including end-user engagement patterns. Submit a technical memorandum summarizing the results of Task 1 and including the draft engagement plan. NCHRP approval of the technical memorandum is required before work on subsequent tasks begins. 

Task 2. Conduct stakeholder engagement. Balanced representation of stakeholders from different sectors and within those sectors is essential. Provide updates to NCHRP on progress at appropriate points in the outreach, for example, concurrent with the submittal of progress reports. 

Task 3. Propose written and electronic draft resources to be developed in Phase II. Resources must include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Research administration guide aimed at state DOTs; 
  • Researcher handbook on applying KT principles throughout the research life cycle;
  • Summary of KT principles, practices, and value for leadership; and
  • Learning modules for different audiences and levels of KT maturity. 

Task 4. Interim report. Submit an interim report summarizing the findings of Tasks 1 to 3, including draft resources, outreach, and evaluation plan. Present the interim report to NCHRP at an in-person meeting. NCHRP will fund travel for project panel members. NCHRP approval of the interim report and deliverables is required before work on subsequent tasks begins. 

PHASE II 

Task 5. Develop and evaluate draft resources. Further stakeholder input on resource utility and adaptability is recommended as part of the outreach and evaluation activities. Submit a technical memorandum summarizing the results of resource development and evaluation for NCHRP approval. NCHRP approval is required before work on subsequent tasks begins.   

Task 6. Finalization of resources. Use findings from Task 5, including stakeholder input, to finalize resources. 

Task 7. Submit final deliverables. Final deliverables shall include (1) a conduct of research report summarizing the entire research effort, (2) the final resources on KT, (3) an implementation memo (see Special Note I below), and (4) a slide summary. 

Note: Following receipt of the preliminary draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the revised final deliverables. 

SPECIAL NOTES 

A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2022. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow. 

B. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8½” 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. 

C. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs have been modified to include a revised policy and instructions for disclosing Investigator Conflict of Interest. For more information, refer to chapter IV of the instructions. A detailed definition and examples can be found in the CRP Conflict of Interest Policy for Contractors. The proposer recommended by the project panel will be required to submit an Investigator Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form as a prerequisite for contract negotiations. 

D. Proposals will be rejected if any of the proposed research team members work for organizations represented on the project panel. The panel roster for this project can be found at https://www.mytrb.org/OnlineDirectory/Committee/Details/6741. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest. 

E. Proprietary Products - If any proprietary products are to be used or tested in the project, please refer to Item 6 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. 

F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively knowledgeable in the problem area. The project panel will recommend their first choice proposal 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. A recommendation by the project panel is not a guarantee of a contract. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS - the contracting authority for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) will conduct an internal due diligence review and risk assessment of the panel’s recommended proposal before contract negotiations continue. 

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. 

G. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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. 

H. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. 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. 

I. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts. 

The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, et al. to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf. 

J. If the team proposes a Principal Investigator who is not an employee of the Prime Contractor, or if the Prime Contractor is proposed to conduct less than 50% of the total effort (by time or budget), then section five of the proposal should include: (1) a justification of why this approach is appropriate, and (2) a description of how the Prime Contractor will ensure adequate communication and coordination with their Subcontractors throughout the project. 

K. All budget information should be suitable for printing on 8½″ x 11″ paper. If a budget page cannot fit on a single 8½″ x 11″ page, it should be split over multiple pages. Proposers must use the Excel templates provided in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs.


Proposals must be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/GUYLz5K3gN75e9APsUhE 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 2/16/2023.

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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