COE for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Announcements

  • COE UAS Proposal Submission - Date Extended. Must be Received by Noon EDT on Monday, September 22
  • Notice of Intent (NOI) to Submit a Proposal for the COE for UAS Closed – August 22, 2014. Universities filing a Notice of Intent with a list of members and affiliates may revise this information prior to proposal submission. Proposing COE Lead Universities: Please confirm COE final team members and affiliates by contacting the COE Program Office by September 5, Patricia.Watts@faa.gov
  • August 12: The COE for UAS Final Solicitation is issued and may be viewed here (PDF).
  • Sept. 9: Questions related to the COE UAS application process may be submitted until this date to Patricia.Watts@faa.gov.
  • Sept. 22: Closing date for all proposal submissions.

Please Note: Q&As are updated weekly with new submissions. Click on the questions in the tab below to expand and collapse answers. Previously published submissions are located in appropriate categories.

The lists of Public Meeting Attendees are available for download. See tab below.

In accordance with Public Law 101-508, the FAA plans to competitively select a Center of Excellence for UAS within the next year. The COE will be a geographically disbursed consortium of the FAA, university partners and their affiliates selected by the FAA Administrator to conduct UAS related research, education and training while working jointly on issues of mutual interest and concern. The FAA will initially issue cooperative agreements to the selected university team members and specific projects will be defined and funded through matching grants over the life of the COE. In accordance with Public Law 101-508, the COE is responsible for matching all funds granted to establish, operate and conduct related research, and may contract with others as appropriate. Following the COE competitive process, the FAA sponsor may also generate requirements that would be supported through contract tasks awarded by the FAA to the COE member universities for FAA purpose.

Communications regarding the COE for UAS are now restricted. The FAA COE Program Office is accepting from all sources: comments regarding the Draft Solicitation through July 15, and questions to be published with answers in the weekly Q&A postings. Send comments and questions to Patricia.Watts@faa.gov and continue to visit this site for official COE UAS notifications and updated information.


Please Note: The Q&As posted on this site are intended to assist the universities as they prepare proposal submissions and focus primarily on matters which are relevant to the COE UAS application process.

UAS specific questions which do not impact the applicants' ability to respond to the Final Solicitation, those presented at the public meeting and submitted thereafter, may not necessarily be posted on this site. UAS specific Q&As will be posted only after being coordinated with FAA Headquarters.


Download the Public Meeting Agenda

Day One • Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Schedule for day one with presentation downloads.
Time PDF Event
7:30 am Registration
8:45 am Download PDF Welcome to UAS COE Public Meeting
Sabrina Saunders-Hodge, COE UAS Program Manager
9:00 am Opening & FAA NextGen (Mission, Stewardship of the NAS, furthering UAS research supporting transformation)
Ed Bolton, Assistant Administrator for NextGen
9:30 am Download PDF FAA Centers of Excellence Program Overview:
Patricia Watts Ph.D., National Program Director, FAA Air Transportation Centers of Excellence
10:00 am Break
10:30 am Download PDF FAA UAS Integration in the NAS
James H. Williams, FAA UAS Executive
11:00 am Download PDF NASA UAS Research Activities
Robert Pearce, NASA Director for Strategy, Architecture and Analysis
11:30 am Download PDF DoD UAS Airspace Integration Program
Dyke Weatherington, Director of the Unmanned Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Office Pentagon OSD/AT&L
Noon Lunch
2:00 pm Download PDF FAA UAS R&D Portfolio and COE Research Areas
Sabrina Saunders-Hodge
2:30 pm Panel Discussion Moderator:
John Reinhardt, COE UAS Program Lead Topics:
  1. Air Traffic Control Interoperability
  2. Airport Ground Operations
  3. Control and Communication
  4. Detect and Avoid (DAA)
  5. Human Factors
  6. Spectrum Management
  7. Unmanned Aircraft (UA) Pilot Training and Pilot Certification Including Other UA Crewmembers
Subject Matter Experts:
FAA - Randy Willis, Chris Swider, Rob Paul
NASA - Laurie Grindle, Davis Hackenberg
DoD - Lance King
3:30 pm Break
4:00 pm Download PDF Overview for Tomorrow
Patricia Watts
4:30 pm Adjourn

Day 2 • Thursday, May 29, 2014

Schedule for day two with presentation downloads.
Time PDF Event
8:00 am Registration
9:00 am Download PDF COE UAS Teaming and Funding Expectations
Sabrina Saunders-Hodge
9:30 am Download PDF Review COE UAS Draft Solicitation
Patricia Watts
10:30 am Open Discussion (Q&As)
11:30 am Lunch
1:00 pm Download PDF COE Evaluation & Organizational Structures
Patricia Watts
1:30 pm Open Discussion (Q&As)
2:30 pm Adjourn

Questions Posed Relative to the COE for UAS

Download a complete list of the posted Q&As

COE-UAS Questions and Answers Posting for September 9, 2014

A – The narrative limit is 60 pages as presented in the table on page 20 of the COE UAS Final Solicitation. This limitation is specific to Sections 1 and 2; Sections 3 and 4 have no limitations. Section 1 addresses the "...individual evaluation factors and the six selection criteria established by statute"; Section 2 addresses the Management Plan. See page 20 of the Final Solicitation for information concerning Sections 3 and 4.

A – The narrative limit is 60 pages as presented in the table on page 20 of the COE UAS Final Solicitation.

A – Volume I - The projects being proposed and presented in Volume I respond to Criterion 6 and are used for evaluation purposes as noted on page 15. The technical narratives are intended to show the evaluators and the selecting official(s) the extent to which the applicants understand the relevant issues and how the team members would approach each research topic area. As the proposed projects will not necessarily be funded by the FAA, rather than developing a full budget to support a proposed project, a general cost estimate with a statement identifying the expected matching source would be appropriate to include with each of the 11 narratives.

Volume II - The anticipated Research and Related Budget calls for a "narrative" that is limited to five pages and supports the anticipated costs to be funded by the FAA, and matching contributions anticipated during the first two years of overall COE start-up and related activities, a level of effort supporting at least $1M per year. This budget should define the costs to support the intended COE Program Management Office as noted in Volume I, Section 2, and minimal start- up research activities that would be initially funded during the 4th Quarter of FY-15.

The quarterly meetings scheduled during the first year will focus on defining the specific research tasks with the new COE members. Costs for the core members to attend these meetings should be included in the budget submission prepared by the Lead University. Once the actual projects are defined, the individual universities or university teams supporting each effort will prepare grant proposals and submit these with their fully developed budgets through Grants.gov.

A – Yes. COEs are expected to have a process in place to add others to their team as needed.

A – Yes. During the first week of September, the COE Program Office will send a form for completion by each Lead University to confirm the members and affiliates that are included in their final proposal. However, all entities included in the proposal submission which is due by September 15 will be considered during the evaluation period.

A – The Solicitation issued by the FAA COE Program Office is the official document and is reviewed by FAA Legal staff with full concurrence by FAA senior management prior to publication. This document provides the guidance that should be used during proposal preparation at this time.

A – Following the Administrator's selection, the COE research plan will be developed with the COE team members. Therefore, the specific research tasks to be funded will not be known until the new COE members have met to discuss their capabilities and available resources with the FAA. These meetings with the COE members and affiliates are expected to take place next year. The congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years.

Across the six applicants, it is planned that the agency's research goals of System Safety & Data Gathering, Aircraft Certification, Command & Control Link Issues, Control Station Layout & Certification, Ground & Airborne Sense & Avoid, and Environmental Impacts will be met. The test sites will give the FAA valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies.

A – The congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years.

Across the six applicants, it is planned that the agency's research goals of System Safety & Data Gathering, Aircraft Certification, Command & Control Link Issues, Control Station Layout & Certification, Ground & Airborne Sense & Avoid, and Environmental Impacts will be met. The test sites will give the FAA valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies. Following the Administrator's selection, the COE research plan will be developed with the COE team members. Therefore, the specific research tasks to be funded will not be known until the new COE members have met to discuss their capabilities and available resources with the FAA. These meetings with the COE members and affiliates are expected to take place next year.

A – Only universities may submit proposals in response to the COE Final Solicitation, and their involvement with the selected test sites will be a neutral factor in the evaluation process.

A – The COE Program Office enters into two 5-year cooperative agreements with each COE core member university.

A – Following a rigorous technical evaluation by a team of subject-matter-experts and a management and fiscal review, the FAA Administrator will select the COE team in collaboration with the Secretary of Transportation.

A – No, although other government entities may be called upon to serve as members on a COE Advisory Board, FAA employees are prohibited from serving in a capacity where we might be perceived as advising ourselves or be in a position to influence those who do advise us. Invitations to attend such meetings, however, would be permitted as necessary.

A – Although there is no FAA policy specifically addressing this, COE enabling language, PL 101-508, has mandated "geographic equity" in the distribution of funds and the location of COEs. Therefore, in order to comply with what has been understood by the FAA to be Congressional intent, to date, the FAA has not supported a university to lead more than one COE at the same time. The FAA has discouraged COE university teams from proposing a "lead university" that would serve on a new team at the same time the same university serves as a lead on a mature COE. However, an individual university may serve as a core or second tier member concurrently on multiple COE teams.

A – The matching contributions must be generated from a non-federal source and will not be weighted differently during the evaluation process.

A – After a team is selected, the 'announcement' date is stated on the cooperative agreements. On that date, team members and affiliates may begin capturing contributions toward their matching obligations.

A – Rather than a required dollar for dollar match, contributions are negotiable when tasks are funded through the contract.

A – Yes, matching may be in-kind in keeping with the OMB guidance posted on this site.

A –

  • Each individual university team member should be willing and able to generate matching contributions to assure that this responsibility is equally assumed by all.
  • The FAA does allow the team to pool matching contributions.

However, how, when and if matching contributions are shared by the COE members, are determinations made first by each individual COE University Fiscal Officer.

A – Yes, the FAA encourages matching on a task-by-task basis and some education institutions require that matching plans accompany each proposal. However, the FAA will audit the actual contributions during year 4, and all obligations must be satisfied by the end of year 5, prior to the expiration of the initial cooperative agreement.

A – Yes, STEM efforts associated with the COE - UAS conducted during the COE period of performance can be documented and submitted toward matching contributions.

A – When the FAA issues a contract to a COE member university, the recipients of the task award are responsible for providing the services, conducting the activities, and providing the deliverables to the FAA for FAA purpose as defined in the award. If the lead university has accepted a contract task, the lead university is responsible for performing in accordance with the terms and conditions of the specific award.

A – All COE core members will enter into a cooperative agreement with the FAA and be responsible to adhere to the terms and conditions of each. The members serving on the 'research team' prosing to conduct specific research are responsible to the FAA for the work as proposed and agreed upon. The lead university is responsible for the work it proposes and has been funded to conduct. The lead or administrative lead university is generally responsible for collecting, reviewing and submitting the standardized university reports that are required by the COE Program Office, and the technical and other reports as required by the research sponsors.

A – The FAA does want a direct relationship with each COE university member as we have found this model to be more effective and efficient, and most COE universities agree. When a university agrees to serve as a 'prime', it is ultimately responsible for providing all members' matching requirements, should these requirements not be met. With no prime, each individual COE university is fully responsible for providing matching contributions unless an agreement has been reached in advance with a member university that would be willing to share excess matching contributions. This would be done on a case-by-case basis.

In your proposal, the COE itself is expected to define roles for an administrative and/or technical lead. This individual would serve to provide overall management, and fiscal and technical oversight of COE activities. The role(s) may be combined or not, rotated or not.

A –76 - Generally, the lead university serves to facilitate the team discussions during the proposal writing period and will most often finalize the submission and submit it to the FAA on behalf of the team.

A – FAA sponsors have addressed this concept individually as requirements have been defined. Unless a university could justify conducting the research alone, some sponsors have required teaming. Where requirements could benefit from a joint approach, the COE would generally propose to use their best resources and team members to conduct the research.

A –The FAA evaluation process is based on standardized selection criteria defined within the COE enabling legislation, Public Law 101-508, and the factors stated in the Final Solicitation. The COE university team members must demonstrate superior capabilities and resources available to meet or exceed the stated overall selection criteria and the technical factors. Once selected, many COE sponsors attempt to involve the full team in initial research activities, to the extent possible, in order to comply with Congressional language that references the geographic equity in the distribution of funds. Thereafter, however, funding is generally based on FAA needs as they relate to the capabilities of individual members.

A – The Solicitation issued by the FAA COE Program Office is the official document and is reviewed by FAA Legal staff with full concurrence by FAA senior management prior to publication. This document provides the guidance that should be used during proposal preparation.

A –

  • The period of public comment provides the public an opportunity to submit input re the draft solicitation. This was extended through July 9, 2014.
  • The Q&A period provides applicants an opportunity to submit questions specific to the COE application process and will continue with a closing date of September 9th.

A – Once selected, A COMPANY, INSTITUTION OR OTHER ENTITY may contact the COE members directly to discuss potential involvement with the new team. Additionally, the list of COE UAS public meeting attendees is posted on this website. There will also be mailings to those who have requested to be on our mailing list and to the public meeting attendees who were agreeable to having their contact information made available. You may feel free to contact university representatives to determine the level of interest in having your Institute join in pre-proposal activities.

A –

  • The FAA COEs have found it beneficial to form Advisory Boards to assure that stakeholders have a formal mechanism in place that facilitates participation in COE meetings and technical discussions. A submission may include this concept or a team could propose a combination of groups for different purposes, such as an Industry Advisory Board (IAB).
  • Members of such groups also may contribute to matching requirements if they represent non-federal entities. Advisory Board members are generally from other federal and local government organizations, industry - large and small. Members represent other groups and individuals who wish to contribute to COE efforts and formally engage in meaningful dialogue with COE members and affiliates.
  • In addition to participating in ongoing discussions, both federal and non-federal organizations may fund COE research specific to their own needs and interests throughout the life of the center.
  • Non-federal funds are generally awarded directly to the COE member(s). Federal funds may be either transferred to the FAA or provided directly to the COE member(s).
  • Congress also requires COEs to engage in information dissemination activities which can take many forms. Such efforts may include: the formation of an active Advisory Board; Board members and others hosting meetings and events and taking an active part in special and routine meetings with the members. The COE or the Board may conduct workshops, host and attend open meetings with various groups; deliver presentations at conferences; etc.

As you suggest, collaboration and coordination across organizations are key concepts within the COEs and serve to augment FAA sponsored research, education and training, avoid duplication of effort, and generate matching contributions. Particularly during the first year, collaboration and coordination of team efforts can present challenges.

A – The COE Program Office attempts to respond to the questions received each week which are specific to COE Program matters in an attempt to provide clarity and guidance for universities preparing proposal submissions. However, the UAS technical questions, and all questions related to THE SELECTED COE and test site involvement, are sent to FAA headquarters where answers are developed with our sponsor / technical team and coordinated before being returned to the COE Program Office for posting. Many questions submitted to date address UAS related areas that are complex and, although many are legitimate questions as posed, they pertain to areas that have not yet been solidified by the FAA; therefore, some of the UAS specific questions cannot be answered at this time. Once the Final Solicitation is published, the FAA COE Program Office takes questions specific to the application process. Questions are being taken through September 9 to assist applicants compile a clear and compete submissions.

A – The COE meeting attendees are posted on our COE website. We encourage all interested applicants and those wishing to support proposing COE teams to check the site regularly for Q&A updates and related announcements.

A – The FAA COE Program Office does not release proposals submitted in response to our COE solicitations. However, the current COE lead universities are included in the COE briefing presented at the public meeting, and they are also noted on our COE website: www.faa.gov/go/COE. Therefore, requests for these documents may be sent directly to the COE lead university which is the institution responsible for submitting the final proposal to the FAA in response to the solicitation.

A – Changes to automation systems to support UAS operations may include enhancements to the FAA's flight planning, separation management, traffic flow management, spectrum management, and information systems. The volume and nature of these changes will be determined in the future as part of the FAA's concept engineering, investment analysis, and implementation activities.

A – Per established policies and guidelines, the FAA will develop requirements in collaboration with stakeholders and by applying systems engineering best practices.

A – Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, "Special Rules for Certain Unmanned Aircraft Systems," allows the Secretary of Transportation to grant airworthiness exemptions that allow for specific, limited, low-risk commercial operations in advance of the small UAS rule. Business expected to benefit from these exemptions include precision agriculture, movie making, flare stack inspection, and oil and gas industries. Section 333 Petitions for Exemption are currently being accepted.

A – The FAA expects to release the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the small UAS rule for public comment by the end of 2014. Due to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 "ex parte" communication restrictions, the FAA cannot discuss the details of the NPRM prior to this release.

A – Currently, UAS pilots must fulfill the same licensing requirements as pilots of manned aircraft, as defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 61. Changes to this requirement may be addressed by the small UAS rule. The FAA expects to release the small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for public comment by the end of 2014. However, due to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 "ex parte" communications - the FAA is restricted from discussing the details of the NPRM prior to its release.

A – Currently, UAS pilots must fulfill the same licensing, testing and medical requirements as pilots of manned aircraft, as defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 61. Changes to this requirement may be addressed by the small UAS rule. The FAA expects to release the small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for public comment by the end of 2014. However, due to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 "ex parte" communications - the FAA is restricted from discussing discuss the details of the NPRM prior to its release.

A – Currently, UAS pilots must fulfill the same licensing, testing and medical requirements as pilots of manned aircraft, as defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 61. Changes to this requirement may be addressed by the small UAS rule. The FAA expects to release the small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for public comment by the end of 2014. However, due to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 "ex parte" communications - the FAA is restricted from discussing discuss the details of the NPRM prior to its release.

A – Currently UAS mechanics must fulfill the same requirements as mechanics of manned aircraft. This requirement may be addressed by the small UAS rule. The FAA expects to release the small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for public comment by the end of 2014. However, due to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 "ex parte" communications - the FAA is restricted from discussing discuss the details of the NPRM prior to its release.

A – Minimum standards for UAS control stations, characteristics and operational performance of detect and avoid technologies, and air traffic controller interface with UAS operations are among the key human factors topics the FAA is researching.

A – Currently, the FAA coordinates UAS integration research efforts with NASA and DoD. In addition to coordination with NASA and DoD, the FAA will work with both the COE and the UAS Test Sites to promote awareness of the FAA's UAS research and development needs in these specific areas and to minimize duplication of efforts.

A – The FAA does not currently have research requirement(s) for model aircraft, except for the potential damage that could be caused to manned aircraft in a collision with a model aircraft.

A – Congress has appropriated funds in FY 14 for the FAA to establish the COE UAS. The list of topic areas that the FAA is expecting to address with COE university partners and affiliates will be published in the final solicitation. The FAA plans to fund the COE UAS at a minimum of $500K per year.

A – Congress has appropriated funds in FY 14 for the FAA to establish the COE UAS. The list of topic areas that the FAA is expecting to address with COE university partners and affiliates will be published in the final solicitation. The FAA plans to fund the COE UAS at a minimum of $500K per year.

A – Congress has appropriated funds in FY 14 for the FAA to establish the COE UAS. The list of topic areas that the FAA is expecting to address with COE university partners and affiliates is published in the final solicitation. The FAA plans to fund the COE UAS at a minimum of $500K per year.

A – The FAA currently has UAS R&D interagency agreements with partner agencies such as NASA and DoD in order to facilitate collaboration on the integration of UAS into the NAS. FAA partner agencies have been invited to leverage the academic expertise within the FAA's new COE UAS based on their needs. However, please note, other Federal agency funding may not be used to satisfy matching requirements.

Research Areas

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA has identified initial COE research areas of current interest which may evolve over time to adapt to the needs of the NAS. The agency conducts research to inform and validate the UAS Roadmap and to support UAS integration. The FAA research conducted by the COE will be consistent with this philosophy.

Initially, the COE applicants will submit proposals addressing the list of research areas below. Thereafter, the FAA will coordinate specific research activities with the selected COE to ensure the research aligns with internal FAA systems engineering documents, see: http://www.faa.gov/uas/publications/

The Research Areas (as of July 30, 2014) are:

  1. Air Traffic Control Interoperability
  2. Airport Ground Operations
  3. Control and Communication
  4. Detect and Avoid (DAA)
  5. Human Factors
  6. Low Altitude Operations Safety
  7. Noise Reduction
  8. Spectrum Management
  9. Unmanned Aircraft (UA) Crew Training and Certification, Including Pilots
  10. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management
  11. UAS Wake Separation Standards for UAS Integration into the NAS

Solicitation/Proposals

August 15, 2014

A – Yes, to serve as supplemental reference material.

August 15, 2014

A – Grants are awarded for 'public' purpose. However, on rare and unusual circumstances, the FAA awards grants that will not be available to the public. Such instances are made known to the university in advance and a university may choose to decline the grant opportunity prior to award.

August 15, 2014

A – A copy of the universities' indirect cost agreement letters would be acceptable in place of the form. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss with your university fiscal officers the completion of the forms, their matching plans, and overall submission well in advance of the preparation of their final proposal(s) to be certain that individual university procedures are being followed prior to the submission. Your fiscal officers will provide proper guidance regarding non-technical issues related to the completion of proposals.

August 15, 2014

A – The FAA is most interested in knowing that the universities being considered for selection are in good standing and that the results specific to areas of concern and the actions have been taken by the lead and member universities to correct audit findings.

August 15, 2014

A – The Lead University is required to complete and submit all forms. The other core members may just complete and submit the SF 424 with the signature of the appropriate university fiscal officer(s).

August 8, 2014

A – The lead universities are included in the COE briefing package from the public meeting, and they are also noted on our COE website: www.faa.gov/go/coe. Therefore, the requests for these documents may be sent directly to the COE Lead University which is the institution responsible for submitting the final proposal to the FAA in response to the solicitation. The FAA COE Program Office does not release proposals submitted in response to our COE solicitations.

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA is planning to adhere to the schedule discussed at the public meeting which would result in proposal submission mid-September, evaluations during October and November, possible selection and announcement early 2015, and the definition of the COE research agenda immediately thereafter. This schedule would enable the FAA to fund start up activities which could begin at/with the selected COE universities as early as the 2015 summer session or by next September at the latest.

Please note: the current schedule is based on the publication of a Final Solicitation within the next six weeks. If necessary, revisions to this schedule would be announced by early August and would likely result in a 2016 COE UAS start up at the earliest.

August 8, 2014

A – Once selected, you may contact the COE members directly to discuss potential involvement with the new team. Additionally, the list of COE UAS public meeting attendees is posted on this website. There will also be mailings to those who have requested to be on our mailing list and to the public meeting attendees who were agreeable to having their contact information made available. You may feel free to contact university representatives to determine the level of interest in having your Institute join in pre-proposal activities.

Funding

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA has not yet defined specific COE UAS research initiatives for FY15 & FY16 and the associated level of required finding. The minimum level guaranteed to the COE is $500,000 per year.

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA has not yet defined specific COE UAS research initiatives for FY15 & FY16 and the associated level of required funding.

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA considers the COE to be a valued research provider and partner in our UAS research and development portfolio. We anticipate COE-managed research will be sponsored by FAA in the future. However, the FAA has not yet defined specific COE UAS research initiatives for FY15 & FY16 and the associated level of required funding. The minimum level guaranteed to the COE is $500,000 per year.

August 8, 2014
  • Congress has appropriated funds in FY 14 for FAA to complete the establishment of the COE for UAS, and the sponsoring organization is finalizing a list of topic areas that the FAA is expecting to address with COE university partners and affiliates.
  • At this time, the FAA is committing the $1M to cover the first 2 years of research and related activities which will be conducted during FY 15 and FY16.
  • Future FAA requirements and Congressional funding are both unknown at this time. Therefore, the FAA plans to request additional funds in the FY 17 budget. The anticipated COE level of effort and annual commitment have been stated in the Final Solicitation.

In addition to supporting a start-up research agenda, the FAA COE sponsor makes adequate funds available annually to satisfy administrative costs and to meet the requirements of the COE Program Office. During the first year, this would include support to oversee and track COE research and related activities, establish a university COE program office, as well as the travel funds needed by the COE core members to attend the required four meetings.

Please NOTE: This question has been updated following the issuance of the Final Solicitation.

August 8, 2014

A – U.S. colleges and universities may submit proposals in response to the Final Solicitation. Their proposals will include industry and other affiliates expected to support and serve on the COE team. The universities will be required to match federal grants, dollar for dollar, from nonfederal sources; therefore, the industry and nonfederal affiliates are an important component of the proposed team. Although only the COE universities are eligible to enter into cooperative agreements and receive funding through an FAA grant or contract award, in accordance with Public Law 101-508, the COE may also contract with and sub-award research and other tasks to others as appropriate (partners and affiliates).

Matching Funds/Cost Sharing

August 15, 2014

A – The enabling COE legislation requires that all grants awarded to: establish, operate and conduct related research art to be matched from a non-federal source. Other activities, such as outreach efforts, (etc.) would not fall into these categories.

August 15, 2014

A – OMB Circular A-110 Section 215.23 applies to COE grant awards and states that All contributions, including cash and third party in-kind, shall be accepted as part of the recipient's cost sharing or matching... It is suggested that applicants review the Circular for the conditioning criteria.

August 8, 2014

A – Yes, STEM efforts associated with the COE - UAS can be documented and submitted toward matching contributions.

August 8, 2014

A – Yes, the FAA encourages matching on a task-by-task basis and some education institutions require that matching plans accompany each proposal. However, the FAA will audit the actual contributions during year 4, and all obligations must be satisfied by the end of year 5, prior to the expiration of the initial cooperative agreement.

August 8, 2014

A –

  1. Each individual university team member should be willing and able to generate matching contributions to assure that this responsibility is equally assumed by all.
  2. The FAA does allow the team to pool matching contributions.

*However, how, when and if matching contributions are shared by the COE members, are determinations made first by each individual COE University Fiscal Officer.

August 8, 2014

A – Yes, matching may be in-kind in keeping with the OMB guidance posted on this site.

August 8, 2014

A – Rather than a required dollar for dollar match, contributions are negotiable when tasks are funded through the contract.

August 8, 2014

A – After a team is selected, the 'announcement' date is stated on the cooperative agreements. On that date, team members and affiliates may begin capturing contributions toward their matching obligations.

August 8, 2014

A – The matching contributions must be generated from a non-federal source and will not be weighted differently during the evaluation process.

Roles

August 15, 2014

A – Yes, service academies can participate in FAA COEs and have participated in joint COE efforts in the past. However, funding, if provided, would generally be federal and would be subject to matching requirements.

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA views the COE as a research partner as we fund half the work. The center members are required to generate dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from non-federal sources to augment FAA COE efforts and to solidify the partnership. These contributions may be applied to an individual task, the COE for UAS or the COE Program overall. With concurrence from their Fiscal Officers, some COE universities pool excess match and are able to share match across the member universities as needed.

COE Establishment / Year 1 -

  1. Cooperative Agreements / Funding: Once the COE selection is made and announced, the FAA enters into a cooperative agreement with each core university. The cooperative agreements enable the government to have a close working relationship with each core member, and to fund the COE universities through matching grants which are awarded for public purpose. Those organizations providing additional matching funds may choose to augment FAA research activities or expand the research agenda to more closely align with their own interests.
  2. Quarterly Meetings - The FAA also requires the newly selected COE to meet quarterly during the first year. This facilitates initial introductions between the team members and the FAA and other potential sponsors of research and related COE activities. Additionally, these meetings enable the universities to make known to the various sponsors the capabilities of their team and the specific resources that will be made available during start-up and over the life of the COE. These meetings also provide the agency an opportunity to discuss our research requirements and to work with the COE team to develop our initial research agenda.

COE Activities / Year 2+ -

  1. The sponsor has expressed an interest in awarding an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract to the COE members. These contract tasks are not subject to 1:1 match and the FAA is able to require deliverables under this vehicle for the benefit of the government. Others may also contract directly with the COE at any time to augment research efforts and increase the body of knowledge in the field. Under the IDIQ contract, the COE develops and reports semi-annually the near-term, intermediate, and long-term milestones which are objectively measurable.
  2. The FAA COE Program Office requires the COE to submit various standardized reports each year, and requires research reports quarterly throughout the life of the center. The COE Program Office requires the COE to conduct meetings semi-annually to report progress on each task and to plan for the next year with the FAA and other stakeholders. Prior to the close of each cooperative agreement, the FAA also requires each COE to conduct a major symposium for a broad audience to highlight their research results. Additionally, a COE evaluation will be conducted, matching contributions will be reconciled and audited, and the COE cooperative agreements will be renewed pending the evaluation results of Phase I research, management, fiscal and related COE activities.

COE Reports -

In addition to other elements, the COE Lead and core universities are responsible for tracking and reporting quarterly to the FAA COE Program Office all: 1) grant and contract funds received and matched; 2) sources of funds and in-kind contributions; 3) funds expended; 4) sub award amounts, sub award recipients and tasks; and the 5) progress being made specific to each task.

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA COEs have found it beneficial to form Advisory Boards to assure that stakeholders have a formal mechanism in place that facilitates participation in COE meetings and technical discussions. Members of such groups also may contribute to matching requirements if they represent non-federal entities. Advisory Board members are generally from other federal and local government organizations, industry - large and small, and also represent other groups and individuals who wish to contribute to COE efforts and formally engage in meaningful dialogue with COE members and affiliates. In addition to participating in the ongoing discussions, both federal and non-federal organizations may fund COE research specific to their own needs and interests throughout the life of the center.

Congress also requires COEs to engage in information dissemination activities which can take many forms. Such efforts may include: the formation of an active Advisory Board and routine meetings with the members; open meetings with various groups; publications; presentations at conferences; the conduct of workshops, courses, etc.

As you suggest, collaboration and coordination across organizations are key concepts within the COEs and serve to augment FAA sponsored research, education and training, avoid duplication of effort, and generate matching contributions.

August 8, 2014

A – FAA sponsors have addressed this concept individually as requirements have been defined. Unless a university could justify conducting the research alone, some sponsors have required teaming. Where requirements could benefit from a joint approach, the COE would generally propose to use their best resources and team members to conduct the research.

August 8, 2014

A – Generally, the lead university serves to facilitate the team discussions during the proposal writing period and will most often finalize the submission and submit it to the FAA on behalf of the team.

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA does want a direct relationship with each COE university member as we have found this model to be more effective and efficient, and most COE universities agree. When a university agrees to serve as a 'prime,' it is ultimately responsible for providing all members' matching requirements, should these requirements not be met. With no prime, each individual COE university is fully responsible for providing matching contributions unless an agreement has been reached in advance with a member university that would be willing to share excess matching contributions. This would be done on a case-by-case basis.

In your proposal, the COE itself is expected to define roles for an administrative and/or technical lead. This individual would serve to provide overall management, and fiscal and technical oversight of COE activities. The role(s) may be combined or not, rotated or not.

August 8, 2014

A – All COE core members will enter into a cooperative agreement with the FAA and be responsible to adhere to the terms and conditions of each. The members serving on the 'research team' prosing to conduct specific research are responsible to the FAA for the work as proposed and agreed upon. The lead university is responsible for the work it proposes and has been funded to conduct. The lead or administrative lead university is generally responsible for collecting, reviewing and submitting the standardized university reports that are required by the COE Program Office, and the technical and other reports as required by the research sponsors.

August 8, 2014

A – When the FAA issues a contract to a COE member university, the recipients of the task award are responsible for providing the services, conducting the activities, and providing the deliverables to the FAA for FAA purpose as defined in the award. If the lead university has accepted a contract task, the lead university is responsible for performing in accordance with the terms and conditions of the specific award.

August 8, 2014

A – Although there is no FAA policy specifically addressing this, COE enabling language, PL 101-508, has mandated "geographic equity" in the distribution of funds and the location of COEs. Therefore, in order to comply with what has been understood by the FAA to be Congressional intent, to date, the FAA has not supported a university to lead more than one COE at the same time. The FAA has discouraged COE university teams from proposing a "lead university" that would serve on a new team at the same time the same university serves as a lead on a mature COE. However, an individual university may serve as a core or second tier member concurrently on multiple COE teams.

August 8, 2014

A – No, although other government entities may be called upon to serve as members on a COE Advisory Board, FAA employees are prohibited from serving in a capacity where we might be perceived as advising ourselves or be in a position to influence those who do advise us.

Invitations to attend such meetings, however, would be permitted as necessary.

Proposal Evaluation/Selection

August 8, 2014

A – The FAA evaluation process is based on standardized selection criteria defined within the COE enabling legislation, Public Law 101-508, and the factors stated in the Final Solicitation. The COE university team members must demonstrate superior capabilities and resources available to meet or exceed the stated overall selection criteria and the technical factors. Once selected, many COE sponsors attempt to involve the full team in initial research activities, to the extent possible, in order to comply with Congressional language that references the geographic equity in the distribution of funds. Thereafter, however, funding is generally based on FAA needs as they relate to the capabilities of individual members.

August 8, 2014 August 8, 2014

A – Following a rigorous technical evaluation by a team of subject-matter-experts and a management and fiscal review, the FAA Administrator will select the COE team in collaboration with the Secretary of Transportation.

COE Management/Administration

August 8, 2014

A – The COE Program Office enters into two 5-year cooperative agreements with each COE core member university.

Industry

August 8, 2014

A – The primary purpose of the FAA COE Public Meeting is to inform all those who might be interested in joining a proposed team to fully understand the FAA COE congressional mandates and our technical requirements. This is also the opportunity for the proposing universities to form a strong group of experts who will partner with the government to focus on the subject topic area over the next decade. Additional time that might be necessary during the public meeting would most likely be dedicated to the universities, as they are responsible for forming their own teams, and writing and submitting the proposals.

Rather than to meet with the FAA, industry would be encouraged to align with the university team(s) during the public meeting and to send a letter of commitment to the COE Program Office expressing your willingness to participate and the resources that might be made available to the government and the selected team. This letter would be made available to the lead university serving on the selected team.

General

August 8, 2014

A – The COE Program Office - attempts to respond to the questions received each week which are specific to COE Program matters in an attempt to provide clarity and guidance for universities preparing proposal submissions. However, the UAS technical questions, and all questions related to COE test site involvement, are sent to FAA headquarters where answers are developed with our sponsor / technical team and coordinated before being returned to the COE Program Office for posting. Many questions submitted to date address uas related areas that are complex and, although many are legitimate questions as posed, they pertain to areas that have not yet been solidified by the FAA; therefore, some of the uas specific questions cannot be answered at this time.

Public Meeting

August 8, 2014

A – The COE meeting attendees are posted on our COE website. We encourage all interested parties to check the site regularly for Q&A updates and announcements.

August 8, 2014

A – The COE public meeting slide presentations are available for download on this official COE website under the tab entitled "Public Meeting Presentations" in their respective time slots on the Agenda: www.faa.gov/go/coe


FocusFAA Article: Center of Excellence Will Help Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integrate Safely

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in civil airspace raises many technical, policy and procedure questions. To better understand how the aircraft can be integrated into the National Airspace System, the FAA is setting up a center of excellence (COE). Download the Article


Opportunities

DOT Secretary of Transportation Student RAISE Award
Open: April 1 - October 31, 2014

Announcements

Meet Kyle Smith: USAF Lieutenant, STEM student, aviation problem-solver

Photo of Secretary Foxx meeting Lt. Kyle SmithThe Secretary's RAISE Award, an aviation innovation challenge, asks the best and brightest minds from American high schools, colleges, and universities to help us manage our limited airspace more safely and efficiently, and this year's winning submission from USAF Lieutenant Kyle Smith promises to do exactly that.

One man, one idea, and millions of air travelers who could benefit...

Read more:
Meet Kyle Smith: USAF Lieutenant, STEM student, aviation problem-solver
USAF Officer Contributes to Commercial Aviation Safety

NEXTOR Presents Airport Systems Planning and Design 43rd Annual Short Course

June 23-26, 2014 in Berkeley, California

For Registration and Details See: www.its.berkeley.edu/nextor/airportcourse.

Dear Colleagues,

The University of California, Berkeley is pleased to announce that the 43rd Annual Short Course on Airport Systems Planning and Design will be held June 23-26, 2014. The course will take place at the Faculty Club on the Berkeley campus, and is offered through the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR). A discounted early registration fee will be available through March 21. Please forward this announcement to those who might be interested.

This four-day course is an in-depth introduction to the issues involved in planning airport systems, in developing new and existing airports, and in designing airport facilities to handle both aircraft and passenger demand. These topics are examined in light of current, evolving trends in airline service, fuel costs, industry structure, and efforts to address climate change and sustainability. This is an opportunity to explore these issues with industry experts.

Full details of the course, including the program, registration and hotel arrangements are available on the course website. Please note that class size is limited. We look forward to welcoming you to Berkeley!

Sincerely,

Jasenka Rakas
Deputy Director, UC Berkeley NEXTOR
Course Director, Airport Systems Planning and Design Course

Mark Hansen
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, UC Berkeley NEXTOR
Faculty Member in Charge, Airport Systems Planning and Design Course

DOT & FAA Grant Applicants - Re System for Award Management (SAM)

NOTICE - Waiting until the last minute to register in the System for Award Management (SAM) is never a good idea — especially for those registrants who hope to apply for an open grant opportunity on Grants.gov — but we see it all the time. Potential grant applicants are encouraged to register in SAM as soon as they see an interesting Grants.gov opportunity notice.

Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) requires prime applicants and recipients, excepting individuals, of Federal financial assistance to register in SAM and maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by an agency pursuant to 2CFR Subtitle A, Chapter I, and Part 25 (75 FR 5672).

A report (MS Excel)shared with IAE by the Grants.gov program office at HHS shows the number of grant opportunities closing over the next three months along with the projected number of respondents. It identifies the opportunity number, allowing you to know where the opportunity was issued.

The SAM Quick Start Guide for New Grantees (PDF)is also posted on the home page of Grants.gov along with a recorded SAM grantee webinar. Those who have not already done so should include language in your Grants.gov opportunity announcements to begin the SAM registration process as soon as possible.

Funding Opportunity

The Transportation Research Board has issued requests for proposals for the following Airport Cooperative Research Program projects:

ACRP Project 02-49: Addressing Significant Weather Impacts on Airports

ACRP Project 02-50: Deriving Benefits from Alternative Aircraft-Taxi Systems

ACRP Project 03-35: Improving Airport Services for International Customers

DOT FAA COE Outstanding Students of the Year

Philip James Wolfe Photograph of Philip James Wolfe

Center of Excellence: FAA Centers of Excellence Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER)

School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title of Student's Thesis/Dissertation: Development and Application of Environmental-Economic Models of Climate, Air Quality, and Noise Impacts of Aviation

Matthew Opliger Photograph of Matthew Opliger

Center of Excellence: FAA Joint Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials (CECAM)

School: Wichita State University

Title of Student's Thesis/Dissertation: The Development of the Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA) Calibration and Testing Procedures

News

COE Announces Selection of a New COE for Alternative Jet Fuels & Environment

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has selected a team of universities to lead a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for alternate jet fuels and the environment. Led by Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the COE will explore ways to meet the environmental and energy goals that are part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Read More » (MS Word)

DOT Sr. Procurement Officers visit the FAA Technical Center

From left: Andrea Simao, Ryan Forman, Kathy Greer, Ellen Shields, and Gregory Cate at the Tech Center Patricia Watts, director of the FAA's Air Transportation Centers of Excellence program, hosted a group of DOT senior acquisition executives for a tour of the William J. Hughes Technical Center. The group – (from left) Andrea Simao, Ryan Forman, Kathy Greer, Ellen Shields, and Gregory Cate, executive deputy director of the DOT's Senior Procurement Executive Office – oversees 91 grants programs, awarding $600B annually within the DOT, and provides guidance and fiscal direction to the two Centers programs, the RITA University Transportation Centers and the FAA Centers of Excellence.

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