The Department of Commerce fosters and promotes the nation's economic development and technological advancement through vigilance in international trade policy, domestic business policy and growth, and promoting economic progress at all levels.
In fiscal year 2006, the MEP program will continue to increase U.S. manufacturers productivity and competitiveness as well as to ensure reliable and secure supply chains. NIST MEP will leverage the manufacturing extension infrastructure by cooperating with other federal agencies to encourage innovative practices, to develop a workforce ready to meet the demands of our nation's high growth industries and to expand manufacturers participation in the global economy. The most recent performance results of the MEP program can be found on the MEP website at: http://www.mep.nist.gov/impacts/impacts.html.
Uses and Use Restrictions
Federal funding provided under this program shall be used for the creation and support of manufacturing extension services, or used by the States to plan for and pilot test state-wide extension services.
It may also be used to plan for and pilot test services within a multi-state region which has sufficient regional linkages to justify such services.
Extension service providers shall be affiliated with a U. S. based nonprofit institution or organization or group thereof.
Funds may be used for the purpose of demonstrations, technology deployment, active transfer and dissemination of research findings and extension service expertise to a wide range of companies and enterprises, especially small manufacturers with fewer than 500 employees.
Congressional funding has been provided annually since fiscal year 1988 (under Manufacturing Technology Centers and the State Technology Extension Program, which were combined into the Manufacturing Extension Partnership in fiscal year 1993).
For extension services, eligible applicants shall be U.S.-based nonprofit institutions or organizations or groups thereof.
Applicants must contribute 50 percent or more of the proposed service's capital, annual operating and maintenance costs.
At least 50 percent of the applicant's share must be as cash or full-time personnel.
For extension service planning and pilot services agreements, eligible applicants shall be State governments and State affiliated nonprofit organizations.
For multi-state regional planning and pilot services agreements, eligible applicants shall be State and local governments, representing either themselves or a consortium of States, and appropriate private or public nonprofit organizations, operating on behalf of a consortium of States or as a representative of States.
Beneficiary shall be U.S.-based manufacturing firms, especially smaller companies.
An applicant for manufacturing extension centers must submit a proposal in accordance with 15 CFR 290, which provides assurances that they will contribute 50 percent or more of the proposed center's capital, annual operating and maintenance costs. Proposals also must contain sufficient information regarding management, technical, and technology strengths sufficient for a formal merit review of the proposal. Applicants must have and demonstrate competence in areas for which financial assistance is requested. Costs will be determined in accordance with applicable cost principles found in OMB Circular Nos. A-87 for State and local governments, A-21 for educational institutions, A-122 for nonprofit organizations, 48 CFR 31 for commercial organizations, and 45 CFR 74, Appendix E for hospitals.
Aplication and Award Process
The extension service planning and pilot testing portion of this program is eligible for coverage under E.O.
12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs".
An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
For manufacturing extension centers, no formal preapplication is required, although applicants are advised to discuss their proposal during the early stages of development with NIST MEP regional managers.
This portion of the program is excluded from coverage under E.O.
Applicants must submit proposals in accordance with deadlines and other details as published in formal program announcements including Standard Form 424 and Commerce Department Form 511. Applicants for manufacturing extension centers must follow the format set out in 15 CFR 290.
All timely submitted and qualified proposals are reviewed by a NIST selection panel. For proposals for manufacturing extension centers, the finalists' proposals are selected on the basis of NIST evaluations and judgments based on published evaluation criteria, and may undergo a site visit.
Notices of availability of funds and deadlines are published in the Federal Funding Opportunity at www.grants.gov.
Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, 15 U.S.C. 278K, as amended by Public Law 100-418; American Technology Preeminence Act of 1991; Technology Administration Act of 1998.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
Applicants should be notified within 60 to 90 days of the application deadline for extension service planning/pilot testing agreements, and 120 days for manufacturing extension centers.
Future or continued funding will be based on availability of funds, and will be based on satisfactory performance, and may be subject to competition.
Formula and Matching Requirements
A State may be required to provide adequate assurances that it will increase its spending on technology extension by an amount at least equal to the amount of Federal assistance requested. For manufacturing extension centers, the program has no statutory formula. For years 1-3, applicants must provide at least 50 percent of the capital, annual operating and maintenance funds required to create and maintain the center. For year 4, applicants must provide 60 percent, and 66.7 percent for year 5 and beyond. Funds may be provided by any non- Federal source. A minimum of 50 percent of the applicant's share must be as cash or full-time personnel.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
For extension service planning and pilot-testing agreements, one year. For manufacturing extension centers, duration of support is based upon positive evaluation every two years, and availability of funds.
Post Assistance Requirements
Quarterly progress and financial reports are required.
Each request for reimbursement must be accompanied by a report of applicant's cost-share contribution.
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), recipients that are States, Local Governments, Nonprofit Organizations (to include hospitals), and Institutions of Higher Learning shall be subject to the audit requirements contained in the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501-7507). Commercial organizations shall be subject to the audit requirements as stipulated in the award document. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, (Revised, June 27, 2003), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal Awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for the year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.
All financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical reports, and other records of awardees or subawardees are required to be maintained by the terms of the agreement. The awardees must retain records for 3 years after completion of the project or submission of the final financial report, whichever is later, and be readily available for inspection and audit.
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 07 $35,000,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Individual awards for extension service planning and pilot testing agreements should range between $25,000 and $100,000. Awards for manufacturing extension centers fall in the range of $200,000 to $6,500,000 annually.
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature
Program regulations are codified at 15 CFR 290-92. A Federal Register Notice announcing the request for proposals from qualified organizations will be published when funds are available. This program is subject to the provisions of 15 CFR 24 and 15 CFR 14.
Regional or Local Office
Mr. Roger Kilmer, Director, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive Stop 4800, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800. Telephone: (301) 975-5020.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
Proposals are selected on the basis of merit. Selection criteria are published in the Federal Funding Opportunity, and for manufacturing extension centers, appear in 15 CFR 290.