Overview of Solicitation Types

Solicitations and Contracts

Broad Area Announcements (BAAs) are used to obtain proposals for Basic and Applied Research (a.k.a., Fundamental Research) and development efforts to advance or assess research and technologies.  Proposals are usually submitted during the open solicitation period, and may or may not lead to award of a contract.

Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations §35.016 Broad agency announcement states,

(a) General. This paragraph prescribes procedures for the use of the [BAA] with Peer or Scientific Review (see 6.102(d)(2)) for the acquisition of basic and applied research and that part of development not related to the development of a specific system or hardware procurement. BAAs may be used by agencies to fulfill their requirements for scientific study and experimentation directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution. The BAA technique shall only be used when meaningful proposals with varying technical/scientific approaches can be reasonably anticipated.

(b) The BAA, together with any supporting documents, shall—

(1) Describe the agency's research interest, either for an individual program requirement or for broadly defined areas of interest covering the full range of the agency's requirements;

(2) Describe the criteria for selecting the proposals, their relative importance and the method of evaluation;

(3) Specify the period of time during which proposals submitted in response to the BAA will be accepted; and

(4) Contain instructions for the preparation and submission of proposals.

(c) The availability of the BAA must be publicized through the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE) and, if authorized pursuant to subpart 5.5, may also be published in noted scientific, technical, or engineering periodicals. The notice must be published no less frequently than annually.

(d) Proposals received as a result of the BAA shall be evaluated in accordance with evaluation criteria specified therein through a peer or scientific review process. Written evaluation reports on individual proposals will be necessary but proposals need not be evaluated against each other since they are not submitted in accordance with a common work statement.

(e) The primary basis for selecting proposals for acceptance shall be technical, importance to agency programs, and fund availability. Cost realism and reasonableness shall also be considered to the extent appropriate.

(f) Synopsis under subpart 5.2, Synopses of Proposed Contract Actions, of individual contract actions based upon proposals received under the BAA is not required. The notice published pursuant to subparagraph (c), of this section, fulfills the synopsis requirement.

Common Applications

  • Research & Development (R&D) studies
  • Prototypes
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) efforts
  • Science & Technology (S&T) initiatives
  • Technology maturation

Source: National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Title 48: Federal Acquisition Regulations System PART 35—RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTING. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=708441a121e8f4727e7bc469d2b0ea50&mc=true&node=se48.1.35_1016&rgn=div8

A Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is

[a] publicly available document by which a Federal Agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as
  • program announcements,
  • requests for applications,
  • notices of funding availability,
  • solicitations, or
  • other names depending on the Agency and type of program.

Source: National Institute of Health. (n.d.). Glossary of NIH Terms. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/glossary.htm#FundingOpportunityAnnouncement(FOA)

A Program Announcement (PA)

is a formal statement about a new or ongoing extramural activity or program. It may serve as a reminder of continuing interest in a research area, describe modification in an activity or program, and/or invite applications for grant support. Most applications in response to PAs may be submitted to a standing submission date and are reviewed with all other applications received at that time using standard peer review processes...
PAs may be used for any support mechanism other than construction awards. Unless otherwise specified in the PA, new applications (and associated renewal and revision applications) submitted in response to PAs are treated as investigator-initiated. (NIH)

"Special Program Announcements are often released to focus attention on a specific topic and funding availability." (ONR; Emphasis added)


  • National Institute of Health. (n.d.). Glossary of NIH Terms. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/glossary.htm#ProgramAnnouncementPA
  • Office of Naval Research. (n.d.). Funding Opportunities. https://www.onr.navy.mil/work-with-us/funding-opportunities

Requests for Proposals (RFPs)

are used in negotiated acquisitions to communicate Government requirements to prospective contractors and to solicit proposals. RFPs for competitive acquisitions shall, at a minimum, describe the-
  1. Government’s requirement;
  2. Anticipated terms and conditions that will apply to the contract. The solicitation may authorize offerors to propose alternative terms and conditions...
  3. Information required to be in the offeror’s proposal; and
  4. Factors and significant subfactors that will be used to evaluate the proposal and their relative importance."

Source: U.S. General Services Administration. (n.d.). Federal Acquisition Regulations 15.203 Requests for proposals. https://www.acquisition.gov/far/15.203?&searchTerms=RFP#

A Request for Quotation (RFQ), which is part of the FAR Part 13 – Simplified Acquisition Procedures, is

  • "a solicitation that provides in exacting detail a list or description of all relevant parameters of the requirements.  RFQs are best suited to commercial products and services." (ONR)
  • "a method of soliciting offers from suppliers for customer’s requirements for suppliers or services that fit within the dollar amount for supplies or services. (AcqNotes, 2018)


  • Office of Naval Research. (n.d.). Funding Opportunities. https://www.onr.navy.mil/work-with-us/funding-opportunities
  • AcqNotes. (2018, June 13). Proposal Development: Request for Quotation (RFQ). http://acqnotes.com/acqnote/tasks/request-for-quotationproposal

Request for Information (RFI) may be used

  • as a part of market research,
  • to collect information on capabilities, and/or
  • "when a government agency does not presently intend to award a contract, but wants to obtain price, delivery, other market information or capabilities for planning purposes.  Responses to these notices are not offers and cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract." (ONR)

Source: Office of Naval Research. (n.d.). Funding Opportunities. https://www.onr.navy.mil/work-with-us/funding-opportunities

"A [Special Notice (SN)] provides information about Industry Days, other events and other information that, while not captured in one of the other funding announcements, may be relevant to a given opportunity." (ONR; Emphasis added)

Source: Office of Naval Research. (n.d.). Funding Opportunities. https://www.onr.navy.mil/work-with-us/funding-opportunities

"A [Justification and Approval (J&A)] is a legal document required by Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) for contracting on a sole source basis (i.e. not providing for competition). J&As set forth the facts for the determination that a sole source contract is appropriate." (ONR; Emphasis added)

Source: Office of Naval Research. (n.d.). Funding Opportunities. https://www.onr.navy.mil/work-with-us/funding-opportunities

S&T and Field Experimentation Solicitations

Research and FX Opportunities
seeks to engage in a robust conversation with industry and other non-government entities to ensure the best business and operational practices are considered in national security processes involving emerging technologies.  Invitations to participate in these conversations will be made based on an ongoing review of the responses to this RFI.  These conversations are intended to enable rapid iteration on potential technologies and operations models with the direct input of non-federal experts and entities.  The expertise of appropriate federal experts will be incorporated via normal processes.  These engagements may, or may not, lead to more formal arrangements such as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, Grants, or invitations to participate in other activities, such as field experimentation events or classroom presentations, via the appropriate processes. (Emphasis added)
will host quarterly [JIFX] events throughout the 2020 fiscal year (FY20). These events are an opportunity to experiment emerging technology in realistic field environments, while exploring technologies that have the potential to address challenges faced by the United States’ Combatant Commands (AFRICOM, CENTCOM, CYBERCOM, EUCOM, NORTHCOM, INDO‐ PACOM, SOCOM, SOUTHCOM, SPACECOM, STRATCOM, and TRANSCOM), the military services (Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force) and other U.S. Government (USG) organizations. The Department of Defense (DoD) is the primary sponsoring entity for this event.  Companies, educational institutions, laboratories and other organizations are invited to submit Experiment Proposals that may lead to an invitation to participate in [FY20] JIFX events. For a full list of event dates and how to submit an experiment proposal, please visit the JIFX website: www.nps.edu/fx.
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