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(2) 1992 Supplement to the National (c) If necessary, DOE may extend an Building Code, of the Building Officials established application deadline by and Code Administrators Inter publishing a timely notice of the exnational,

tension in the same manner as the so(3) 1992 Amendments to the Standard licitation was publicized. The extenBuilding Code, of the Southern Build sion of time shall apply to all appliing Code Congress International.

cants. These codes provide a level of seismic safety that is substantially equivalent

$ 600.14 Unsolicited applications. to the National Earthquake Hazards

(a) General. An unsolicited applicaReduction Program (NEHRP) Rec

tion is an application for DOE financial ommended Provisions for the Develop

assistance which is not submitted in ment of Seismic Regulations for New

response to a solicitation or which is Buildings, 1988 Edition (Federal Emer

submitted in response to a Notice of gency Management Administration 222

Program Interest (see 8600.15). DOE and 223).

may award financial assistance to an Revisions of these model codes that are

applicant who submits an unsolicited substantially equivalent to or exceed application for support of a project the then current or immediately pre

that involves an innovative idea, methceding edition of the NEHRP Rec

od or approach. DOE shall determine ommended Provisions (which are up

whether the application would result in dated triennially) shall be considered

a procurement contract or in a grant to be appropriate standards.

or cooperative agreement. An unsolic(47 FR 44083, Oct. 5, 1982, as amended at 57 FR ited application may be considered for 3, Jan. 2, 1992; 59 FR 18474, Apr. 19, 1994)

DOE financial assistance only if the ap

plication is relevant to a public pur8 600.13 Application deadlines.

pose of support or stimulation author(a) Each solicitation shall include a ized by Federal statute. deadline date for submission of applica- (b) Preapplication contact. Anyone tions. The established deadline shall who is contemplating submitting an also apply to any amendment to an ap unsolicited application is encouraged, plication initiated by an applicant. An before expending extensive effort in application or amendment shall be preparing a detailed application or subtimely if it is:

mitting any proprietary information to (1) Received at the location specified DOE, to make preliminary inquiries of in the solicitation on or before the es DOE program staff as to DOE interest tablished deadline date and time; or in the type of project contemplated.

(2) Received after the deadline date, The potential applicant should not conand the application or amendment was strue any such discussion as either ensent by first class mail, was post

couragement to submit an unsolicited marked on or before the deadline date,

application or a promise of an award. and is received by DOE before tech (c) Preparation and submission of applinical evaluation of all acceptable appli cation. A guide for preparing unsoliccations submitted in response to the ited applications/proposals is available solicitation begins. Applicants should from the Field/Headquarters Support obtain a legibly dated mailing receipt Division, Office of Procurement and from the U.S. Postal Service or use cer Assistance Management, Department tified or registered mail to enable them of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, to substantiate the date of mailing. SW., Washington, DC 20585. Private metered postmarks shall not (d) General evaluation. DOE shall be acceptable proof of the date of mail make a general evaluation of an unsoing; and

licited application based on the follow(3) Complete (see $600.10(d) and ing types of factors: 8600.11(c)).

(1) The overall merit of the proposed (b) DOE shall not consider and shall project or activity. return any application that does not (2) The anticipated objectives to be meet the requirements of paragraphs achieved and the probability of achiev(a)(1) or (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section. ing the stated objectives.

(3) The facilities or techniques which award based on an unsolicited applicathe applicant proposes to make avail- tion and an explanation of why such an able to achieve the proposed project's award is being made shall be published objectives.

for public comment in the FEDERAL (4) The qualifications of the proposed REGISTER at least 14 calendar days project director or key personnel who prior to making an award. Such an exare considered to be critical to the planation must address the selection achievement of the proposed project's criteria contained in $600.14(e)(1) (i) objectives.

and (ii). (e) Criteria for selection of an unsolic (g) Funding. An award based on an ited application. (1) DOE may select an unsolicited application may be made unsolicited application only if:

only if sufficient appropriated funds (1) The application is meritorious

are available. based on the general evaluation as in

(h) Unsuccessful applications. DOE paragraph (d) of this section; and

shall promptly notify in writing each (ii) The proposed project represents a

applicant whose application does not unique or innovative idea, method, or

satisfy the requirements of this secapproach which would not be eligible

tion. DOE will return unsuccessful unfor financial assistance under a recent,

solicited applications only if requested current, or planned solicitation, and if,

by the applicant. This request may be as determined by DOE, a competitive

made at the time of application or up solicitation would be inappropriate.

to 30 days after the date of the written (2) Any request for continuation, re

notification required by this paranewal, or supplemental funding of a

graph. project which was originally funded as the result of an unsolicited application (The information collection requirements shall be evaluated in the same manner

contained in paragraph (c)(1) have been apas any other request for such funding

proved by the Office of Management and

Budget under control numbers 0348-0005— and shall not be subject to the selec

0348-0009) tion criterion of paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section.

(47 FR 44083, Oct. 5, 1982, as amended at 53 FR (1) Justification for acceptance of an

5262, Feb. 22, 1988; 53 FR 8046, Mar. 11, 1988; 53 unsolicited application. Prior to making

FR 12139, Apr. 13, 1988; 54 FR 23959, June 5,

1989; 57 FR 4, Jan. 2, 1992; 59 FR 53265, Oct. 21, an award on the basis of acceptance of

1994) an unsolicited application, a justification document, which describes the re 8600.15 Notice of program interest. sults of the general evaluation conducted in accordance with paragraph

(a) General. (1) DOE may publish a (d) of this section and which addresses

periodic Notice of Program Interest in the selection criteria in paragraph

the FEDERAL REGISTER and other (e)(1) of this section, must be prepared

media, as appropriate, which describes and completed for the award file. The

broad, general, technical problems and justification must be prepared and

areas of investigation for which DOE signed by the initiating program offi

may award grants or cooperative cial (project officer), and approved by

agreements. the responsible program Assistant Sec

(2) DOE shall evaluate any applicaretary or his or her designee, and the tion submitted under a Notice of Procontracting officer. If the amount of gram Interest as an unsolicited appliDOE funds is $100,000 or less for a pro

cation (see $600.14). posed noncompetitive financial assist (b) Contents. In addition to the inforance award under any program for mation required under $600.9(c), the nowhich the HCA has been formally as tice shall include the following: signed cognizance, the justification (1) A brief description of the areas of shall be approved by the HCA and the interest for which DOE may provide fiContracting Officer. Concurrence for a nancial assistance. particular award or class of awards of (2) A statement about how resulting $100,000 or less may be waived by local applications will be evaluated and the legal counsel, if they so elect. Further, criteria for selection and funding as än announcement of the intent to specified in $600.14.

(3) An expiration date with an explanation that such a date does not rep resent a common deadline for applications but rather that applications may be submitted at any time before the notice expires.

(4) The location for application submission, which shall be the Unsolicited Proposals Management Section, Reports and Analysis Branch, Office of Procurement and Assistance Management, Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585, unless the notice specifies otherwise. (47 FR 44083, Oct. 5, 1982, as amended at 59 FR 53265, Oct. 21, 1994)

has the final decision-making authority. In defining this relationship, the system must set out, as a minimum, the decision-making and documentation processes to be followed by the authorized official responsible for selection when an adverse recommendation has been received through the objective merit review process.

(3)(i) This section applies to all new and renewal applications (except applications for conferences/symposia and for awards which come under the criteria of paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section) in programs which make discretionary financial assistance awards and to any other financial assistance programs in which objective merit review is required by the authorizing legisla


8600.16 Objective merit review.

(a) General. (1) Each responsible official must establish and publish in the FEDERAL REGISTER the details of the system of objective merit review which covers the financial assistance program administered by each cognizant program office within his or her juris diction within 120 days of the issuance of this rule for existing programs and prior to the review of applications for new programs. More than one program may adopt the same system. If a program wants to review an application or group of applications using the criteria and procedures of an already established review system other than its own, it may do so by following the deviation procedure described in paragraph (g) of this section. DOE employees designated by responsible officials to carry out the review process shall ensure that the evaluation of applications is conducted in a fair and objective manner.

(2) Objective merit review of financial assistance applications is intended to be advisory and is not intended to replace the authority of the program official with responsibility for deciding whether an award will be made. It is expected that the cognizant project/ program officer (scientific monitor) who normally also reviews the proposals for technical scientific merit, will, additionally, review it from a program policy perspective. Nevertheless, the objective merit review system must set forth the relationship between the reviewing individuals, or the review committees or groups, and the official who

(ii) For projects in which multiple renewals are probable, an objective merit review need not necessarily be done at each renewal, but instead at appropriate points during the course of the project. A determination that a project need not be reviewed at each renewal shall be made at the time the initial award is issued, or, in the event that unforeseen circumstances arise which preclude a merit review at a previously scheduled point during the course of a project, the merit review of a renewal application may be waived prior to the renewal of the project. The criteria on which the determination that a project need not be reviewed at each renewal is based, shall be included in the system of objective merit review to be established by the responsible official in accordance with paragraphs (a) (1) and (2) of this section. For a waiver to be issued, the project officer shall prepare, with the concurrence of his or her immediate supervisor, a written determination for the approval of the responsible official that a merit review is not appropriate at the particular point in time, setting forth the circumstances that preclude the merit review. The determination shall contain an evaluation of the technical merit of the project being proposed for additional support. This determination shall also set forth the facts which would support the justification required by 10 CFR 600.7(b)(2)(i). Finally, the determination shall indicate the reports required under the award and

shall be placed in the official file by the Contracting Officer.

(4) Each responsible official shall insure consistency among DOE field offices in the implementation of the review system(s) for his/her program area.

(5) Each formal review system must contain the elements listed in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section.

(b) Basic review standards. (1) Each application may be assessed from a policy/programmatic perspective prior to undergoing merit review. Those that meet policy and programmatic considerations shall generally be reviewed by at least three qualified persons in addition to the official responsible for selection.

(2) The reviewers of any particular application may be any mixture of federal or non-federal experts, including individuals from within the cognizant program office, except as indicated otherwise below (see paragraphs (b)(3) (5) and (d)(2)(ii) of this section). The DOE shall select external (non-DOE Federal or non-federal) reviewers on the basis of their professional qualifications and expertise in the field of research.

(3) In selecting persons in accordance with $ 600.16(b) (1) and (2) to review ap plications, such selection of additional reviewers shall not include, to the extent possible, anyone who, on behalf of the Federal Government, performed or is likely to perform any of the following duties for any of the applications:

(i) Providing substantive technical assistance to the applicant;

(ii) Approving/disapproving or having any decision-making role regarding the application;

(iii) Serving as the project officer or otherwise monitoring or evaluating the recipient's programmatic performance;

(iv) Serving as the Contracting Officer (CO), or performing business management functions for the project; or

(v) Auditing the recipient or the project.

Anyone who has line authority over a person who is ineligible to serve as a reviewer because of the above limitations is also ineligible to serve as a reviewer.

(4) It may occasionally be necessary, after the fact, to change project officer

designation, thereby resulting in an individual who participated in the review of an application being appointed as the project officer. This will not be considered a violation of this policy of objective merit review provided the assignment was not expected when the review was conducted.

(5) Persons outside the cognizant program office must not have been employees of that office, including having line authority over that office, for one year prior to participation as a reviewer in the objective merit review process for the program.

(c) Comparative review. (1) In order to enhance the validity of the evaluation and rating process, applications can be evaluated in comparison to each other.

(2) If a program area has issued a program notice, the responsible official may implement review procedures which will result in applications being evaluated in comparison to each other. Applications in response to that notice may be assigned to a group of field readers, to a standing committee, or to an ad hoc committee, as discussed below, which is capable of reviewing them, and may be considered along with other applications which were submitted in response to the program notice. Such an application may also be eligible for review under an applicable program announcement. For solicitations, review procedures may also permit comparative evaluation with field readers, a standing committee, or an ad hoc committee being used as appropriate.

(d) Types of review groups(1) Field readers. (i) Objective merit review of applications may be obtained by using field readers to whom applications are sent for review and comment. Field readers may also be used as an adjunct to financial assistance application review committees when, for example, the type of expertise needed or the volume of financial assistance applications to be reviewed requires such auxiliary capacity.

(ii) Safeguards should be instituted to ensure that field readers clearly understand the process, their role, and the criteria upon which the applications are to be evaluated.

(iii) For those situations in which a standing committee is the appropriate

review mechanism (see paragraph (d)(2) of this section), but a group of field readers must be used instead, it should function as nearly like a committee as possible. For example, if all members of the standing committee were to evaluate all of the applications under review, then all field readers must receive all of the applications to be reviewed even though they are in geographically separate locations and all field readers should be instructed to follow the procedures established for evaluating the applications.

(2) Standing committees. (i) Standing committees are normally appropriate when required by legislation or when the following conditions prevail:

(A) A sufficient number of applications on specific topics to justify the use of a standing committee(s) is received by the program on a regular basis in accordance with a predetermined review schedule;

(B) There are a sufficient number of persons with the required expertise who are willing and able to (1) accept appointments, (2) serve over reasonably protracted periods of time, and (3) convene at regularly scheduled intervals or at the call of the chairperson; and

(C) The legislative authority for the particular program(s) involved extends for more than one year.

(ii) Persons outside the cognizant program office shall constitute at least half the reviewers on such committees unless a deviation from this requirement has been approved under $600.16(g) below.

(3) Ad hoc committees. (i) Ad hoc review committees may not exceed one year in duration and are appropriately used when use of a standing committee is not feasible or when one of the following conditions prevails:

(A) A small number of applications is received on an intermittent basis;

(B) The program is one of limited duration, usually less than one year;

(C) The applications to be reviewed have been solicited to meet a specific program objective and cannot appropriately be reviewed by a standing committee because of subject matter, time constraints, or other limitations;

(D) The volume of applications received necessitates convening an addi.

tional committee(s) of available reviewers; or

(E) It is determined that the applications submitted have special review requirements, e.g., construction of a facility, the complexity of subject matter cuts across the areas of expertise of two or more standing committees, or the subject matter is of a special, nonrecurring nature.

(ii) Ad hoc committees may not be used for reviewing financial assistance applications for any program for which a standing committee has been established (except for paragraph (d)(3)(i)(D) of this section) unless a deviation is approved under $600.16(8) below.

(e) Review summary. Upon request, applicants are to be provided with a written summary of the evaluation of their application.

(f) Reviewers with interest in application being reviewed. Reviewers must comply with the requirements for the avoidance of conflict of interest established in $600.17. In establishing a system of objective merit review required in $ 600.16(a)(1), the responsible official shall develop procedures which will permit DOE to evaluate whether a conflict of interest exists. A committee or group of field readers which includes as objective merit reviewers any individuals who cannot meet the requirements of $ 600.17 or the program's review procedures, with regard to a particular application being reviewed, e.g., officials mentioned in paragraphs (b) (3) and (5) of this section, shall operate as follows:

(1) These individuals or officials may not review, discuss, and/or make a recommendation on an application(s) in which they have a conflict of interest.

(2) In the case of a review committee, the committee member must absent himself or herself from the committee meeting during the review and discussion of the application(s) in which hel she has a conflict of interest.

(g) Deviations. (1) In any instance in which a program's pre-established review system is not to be used to review an application, group of applications, or class of applications, written prior approval for utilization of a different procedure, which itself must, to the extent possible, conform to the provisions of this section pertaining to objective merit review, must be obtained

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