Air Transportation Centers of Excellence

To conduct long term continuing research in specific areas of aviation related technology.

Responsibilities of Centers may include but not limited to: the conduct of research concerning catastrophic failure of aircraft; airspace and airport planning and design; airport capacity enhancement techniques;
human performance in the air transportation environment; aviation safety and security; the supply of trained air transportation personnel including pilots and mechanics; and other aviation issues pertinent to developing and maintaining a safe and efficient air transportation system, and the interpretation, publication, and dissemination of the results of such research.
Examples of Funded Projects

Centers of Excellence in Computational Modeling of Aircraft Structures, Airport Pavement Research, Operations Research, Airworthiness Assurance, General Aviation, Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation, Advanced Materials, and Airliner Cabin Environment Research.


Agency - Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

Website Address

http://www.coe.faa.gov



Program Accomplishments

(1) Program planning completed; (2) Agency Directive written and currently under revision; (3) A Center was established in 2003 for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation; (4) A Center was established in 2004 for Advanced Materials Research; (5) A Center was established in 2004 for Airliner Cabin Environment Research; and (6) The program currently reflects $300,000,000 in contract awards, grants, and matching funds.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Centers of Excellence are established for long term continuing mission critical research in specific areas of technology.

Funding may be used for the establishment and operation of the Centers of Excellence and the related training, education and research projects.

The FAA determines a need for a Center of Excellence in a specific area of technology and publishes a Notice of Availability of Solicitation in Grants.gov.

In response to this announcement, each applicant submits a description of their institutional capabilities, available faculty, facilities and equipment, and additional information as required in the solicitation.

Researchers at each Center are expected to maintain a close working relationship with relevant FAA program offices that have responsibility in areas related to their research.

Centers conduct semi-annual reviews, and a major symposium at the conclusion of each 3-year phase of research to satisfy Congressional requirements to disseminate results to a broad audience.

CONGRESSIONAL RESTRICTIONS: (1) Matching Funds - Federal grants awarded shall be 50 percent of the cost of establishing and operating the Center of Excellence and related research activities.

(2) Maintenance of Effort - Each recipient will maintain its aggregate expenditures from all other sources for establishing and operating the Center and related research activities at or above the average level of such expenditures in its 2 fiscal years preceding November 5, 1990.

(3) Locations shall be geographically equitable.

4.

Contract tasks are awarded on a negotiable cost share basis*.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants are limited to colleges and universities with the financial resources to meet statutory requirements for matching Federal funds and maintenance of effort.

Academic institutions may partner with industry affiliates and other government laboratories.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Recipients are limited to colleges and universities with the financial resources to meet statutory requirements for matching Federal grants and maintenance of effort. In conducting research, a Center of Excellence may contract with nonprofit research organizations and other appropriate persons.

Credentials/Documentation

Required documentation is outlined in each solicitation package. After each Notice of Solicitation is published, copies of the Solicitation are available during a Public Meeting and/or from the FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, FAA Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405. To establish a Center of Excellence, a competitive process is conducted to include a public announcement, publication of a solicitation, a management/fiscal review and technical evaluation. Public Law 101-508 established the following six selection criteria: (1) The extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of the needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities. (2) The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant for carrying out this program. (3) The capability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long- range and immediate air transportation problems. (4) The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program. (5) The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a State-wide or region-wide continuing education program. (6) The projects which the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant.* Each proposal must include the following: (a) description of current research projects being conducted in the specified research area, (b) a schedule of anticipated expenses for establishing and operating the Center of Excellence, (c) a plan for meeting the 50 percent nonfederal contribution toward the matching requirements, (d) a statement showing its aggregate expenditures from all other sources for aviation research in its 2 fiscal years preceding November 5, 1990, (e) all data sufficient for the evaluation team to determine the extent to which the applicant is able to satisfy the six selection criteria outlined. Each proposal must contain: 1. a completed Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424 Research and Related); 2. table of contents; 3. a technical statement addressing the problems inherent in the specific topic area(s) and probable solutions; 4. a summary of research results from FAA funding in the past five years; 5. biographical sketches of senior personnel and a list of their principal accomplishments and publications during the past five years; 6. proposed budget for the initial three years including the anticipated costs of managing a new Center of Excellence, and a management plan; 7. current and pending support on all research awards from all sources; 8. available facilities and major items of equipment to be available to conduct research, and that which is necessary to acquire. 9. letters of support from various industry representatives, state and local officials, etc. Other required forms are Disclosure of Lobbying Activities form SF-LLL and certification of Compliance with Civil Rights Act.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

FAA may hold a public information meeting prior to submission of proposals.

Questions may be submitted to the FAA Centers of Excellence Program Director, AAR-400, FAA Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405.

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.

Application Procedures

Colleges and universities may apply after the FAA has published a Notice of Availability of Solicitation for a Center of Excellence in a specific research area on the Grants.gov website. Solicitation and application packages are available from the FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, FAA Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405.

Award Procedures

Each Air Transportation Center of Excellence is awarded on behalf of the FAA Administrator. The FAA Centers of Excellence Program Director, issues solicitations, receives all proposals, convenes evaluation teams to evaluate eligible institutions for Centers of Excellence awards. Applicants should be prepared to host an onsite inspection of existing research facilities.

Deadlines

Contact the FAA Center of Excellence Program Office for applications and application deadlines. Deadlines will also be published in the Notice of Solicitation.

Authorization

Federal Aviation Administration Research, Engineering and Development Authorization Act of 1990, Public Law 101- 508; Catastrophic Failure Prevention Centers of Excellence, Section 9208; Aviation Research Centers of Excellence, Section 9209.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From the closing date for applications, the FAA requires at least 6 months for evaluation and selection procedures.

Appeals

None.

Renewals

Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. Matching Funds - The Federal share shall be 50 percent of the costs of establishing and operating the Center of Excellence and related research activities. Maintenance of Effort - Each recipient will maintain its aggregate expenditures from all other sources for establishing and operating the Center and related research activities at or above the average level of such expenditures in its 2 fiscal years preceding November 1990.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The FAA intends to support a Center of Excellence in three year increments over a maximum of ten years. Each Center will undergo a reassessment every three years. Research is reviewed semi-annually. Budgets and research projects are negotiated yearly. As a consequence of changing needs, or diminished requirements, the agency reserves the right not to renew support for a Center of Excellence at any time. Funds from program offices and additional appropriations may increase at any time providing the institution can demonstrate matching funds.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Technical Reporting Requirements per Attachment H of OMB Circular No.

A-110 and Attachment I to OMB Circular No.

A-102.

Financial reporting requirements as per Attachment G of OMB Circular No.

A-110 and Attachment H of OMB Circular No.

A-102.

Semi-annual reports on matching Funds and technical reports, as well as an annual review of the research completed and in progress at each Center of Excellence.

The annual review focuses on the relevance, merit and direction of research efforts in the designated area, and negotiation of projects and budget for the next year.

A symposium is required by the end of each 3-year period as part of close-out activities and serves to highlight research results and discuss plans for the next 3-year phase.

The symposium helps satisfy legislative requirements to disseminate information.

Audits

Single Audit Act assigns responsibility to either the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Defense for most institutions. The FAA calls for an audit of each Center every 3 years as a part of close-out activities, and reserves the right to conduct individual audits annually, and as needed, within the constraints of applicable laws and regulations.

Records

Technical and financial records must be retained for a minimum of 3 years (or longer, depending on special situations) following termination of the Center of Excellence.

Financial Information

Account Identification

69-8108-0-7-402.

Obigations

(Grants) FY 07 12,000,000; FY 08 est $8,500,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Program started in fiscal year 1992. Grant assistance is expected to be a minimum of $500,000 per year for each Center, in addition to IDIQ contract awards.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

OMB Circulars A-133, A-122, A110 and A-21, Regulations and Executive Orders are referenced in Appendix 2 of the FAA Research Grants Order 9550. When the FAA is soliciting for a Center of Excellence, a solicitation and application package containing the appropriate forms and directions will be available. A Notice of Solicitation Availability will be announced in Grants.gov.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Patricia Watts, Ph.D, FAA Centers for Excellence Program Director, AAR-400, FAA Technical Center Office of Aviation Research, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405. Telephone: (609) 485-5043. Fax: (609) 485-9430. patricia.watts@.faa.gov.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Public Law 101-508 has established the following six selection criteria: (1) The extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities; (2) The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant for carrying out this program; (3) The capability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate air transportation problems; (4) The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program; (5) The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a State-wide or region-wide continuing education program; and (6) The projects which the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant. Public Law 101-508 mandates geographic equity in location and funding of Centers of Excellence: therefore, geographic location may become an additional selection factor during the evaluation process.



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