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FAA Centers of Excellence

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FAA Air Transportation Centers of Excellence

Final Solicitation Released (December 21, 2015)

COE for Technical Training and Human Performance

The Solicitation is available below as are the presentations from the Public Meeting.

Most notable:

  • Qualified institutions of higher education must declare their intention to submit proposals via email to by January 15, 2016. (see Page 7)
  • UPDATE - CLOSING DATE EXTENDED: Proposals must be submitted by: 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Proposals must also be received by by the same deadline. Instructions for proposal preparation and submission are located on Pages 15 through 19.
  • Written questions regarding proposal preparation may be submitted throughout the competitive process via email to (see Page 15) Other than the COE Program Director, FAA employees MAY NOT DISCUSS or TAKE QUESTIONS regarding technical issues, the competitive process, COEs or the COE for TTHP related matters.

The FAA COE Program Office will review all submissions as received. Universities submitting a proposal in advance of the closing date will have an opportunity to provide further clarifications as needed prior to the final due date.

The opportunity is located at:

In accordance with Public Law 101-508, the FAA plans to competitively select a Center of Excellence for Technical Training and Human Performance 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. Through this COE, the FAA intends institutions of higher learning to conduct research and related activities expected to result in recommendations for innovative solutions centered on training and human performance throughout the aviation community. The COE will enhance the FAA's research efforts by providing access to the various talents of nationally recognized academic training and human performance research scientists. This effort is in support of the FAA's mission to provide the safest, most efficient airspace in the world.

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.

  • 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.
  • The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant to carry out this section.
  • The ability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate air transportation problems.
  • The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program.
  • The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a statewide or region-wide continuing education program.
  • The projects the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant.

Questions and Answers from the Public Meeting and ongoing thereafter will be posted each Friday. Return to this tab weekly for updates.

COE for Technical Training and Human Performance

Questions and Answers

Posted: 1 March 2016

Q-25: Is it public information what teams are competing for the COE?

A-25: No. The COE Program Office treats the information regarding the number of proposals and those submitting as Procurement Sensitive. Therefore, my Office does not make this information available throughout the FAA or to the public. The information is limited to those who have a 'need to know' and to those within my chain- of-command.

Q-24: What is your best guess on a selection timeframe?

A-24: We are hopeful for a selection and announcement by June. This would allow ample time to negotiate new cooperative agreements and to award funds in FY 16. However, the selections are made at a high level and such decisions can take longer. At this time, we anticipate a selection this fiscal year in time to award funds to enable a September establishment.

Q-23: We have reviewed the application package, and there are mandatory yellow fields in the budget and personnel detail forms contained within the package. In our experience with, the system will not allow submission of the online application package if we leave those fields blank. Should we fill in the mandatory yellow fields with placeholders (e.g., N/A and zeroes for budgets), or should we go ahead and fully fill out the budget and personnel detail forms?

A-23: Fill in the yellow fields with placeholders.

Q-22-1: (With respect to IDIQ Contracts) Will research and training tasks and projects be received through the IDIQ?

A-22-1: Yes.

Q-22-2: If yes - How will they be awarded (e.g., to the COE, direct to a combination of Core COE universities, direct to one Core COE university)?

A-22-2: The sponsor will meet with our Acquisition organization following selection of the team. At that time, they will determine the specifics regarding the prime recipient(s).

Q-22-3: What is the fiscal and administrative responsibility of the Lead University for tasks and projects, depending on the method of award?

A-22-3: The responsibilities of the Lead will depend on the role of the Lead University when the contract terms are defined. In the grant vehicle, all core members receive direct funding and have a direct relationship with and responsibility to the FAA. The Lead University will receive copies of reports and will track expenditures as agreed upon with the team members.

Q-21: Page 22 of the Final Solicitation references the COE Policy Guide. Where is this document located?

A-21: This document will be provided to the team selected at the time of the announcement.

Q-20: The provided budget forms list year one's dates as 9/1/16-9/30/17 and year two as 10/1/17-10/30/18 (i.e., 13 months each). Are these the correct budget periods for Year 1 and Year 2 for management of the COE?

A-20: Yes.

Q-19: On solicitation Pg. 18, Volume II: 5) Anticipated Research and Related Budget and 6) Research and Related Federal and Non Federal Budget Form indicate the need to submit budget forms. Do the budget forms need to be included in both Volume I and Volume II?

A-19: No. R&R Budget and R&R Federal and Non Federal Budget Forms are to be submitted in Volume II for the Management and Fiscal section. Budget narratives and forms (optional) may accompany the proposed projects in Volume I, see page 7 of the Final Solicitation.

Q-18: We are a small business partner on one of the teams. Are there any FAA restrictions to COE for Technical Training and Human Performance funds being awarded to private industry via the prime?

A-18: No. Sub-awards are made to COE affiliates based on task requirements. Once selected, the new COE team will prepare proposals in response to a list of specific tasks which will be based on the capabilities of the members and the requirements of the FAA at the time. Proposals may reflect the need to make sub-awards to others as appropriate throughout the period of COE performance and show an ability to generate matching contributions within each Phase of the cooperative agreement over the life of the Center.

Q-17: Is it possible to make changes to our team after providing our intent to submit an application listing the members and affiliates?

A-17: Yes.

Q-16: The solicitation indicates on Page 17, E, Section 2 – The Management Plan, "4): The attached budget form may be used." Does this mean applicants are able to modify the existing form?

A-16: Yes.

Q-15: To clarify response from the Answer to Question #11:
Who qualifies to serve on the advisory board executive committee? COE core team members only; and/or any representative from the entire team such as COE core team, affiliate academic members, affiliate industry members, and/or affiliate federal or state agency members?

A-15: Yes. With the exception of FAA employees who may attend meeting as observers only but are prohibited from membership on such a body, voting, directing or guiding the activities of any such board or council in any way.

Q-14: Do you have a recommended or desired format for the CVs of the key personnel? Based on the language in the solicitation, it seems the CV consists of two pages plus a list of relevant publications which could be multiple pages. Is this interpretation correct?

A-14: Yes, your interpretation is correct; a two page CV with unlimited pages for publications is suggested. There is no desired format.

Q-13: As an industry provider looking to partner with academia, I am interested in the structure of the grants themselves; specifically what is typically allowable and not allowable from a cost perspective (profit and G&A for example).

A-13: In accordance with OMB guidance, we typically allow universities and subs to bill for costs associated with those items or services which have a direct impact on the COE work to be accomplished and the specific COE. Specifics should be discussed with the fiscal officer located at the university with which you plan to affiliate.

Q-12: We would like to include a company/university in our proposing team because of their unique capability in stated topic areas, particularly as it relates to team training in aviation. I couldn't find anything in the solicitation specifically prohibiting foreign participation, but before we include them on our team, please advise if this is possible.

A-12: You may include in your proposal a foreign entity as an affiliate member and state clearly the unique contribution this member would make to your COE team. The U.S. universities are the 'core' COE members; therefore, all FAA funds are awarded directly to the U.S. academic team. Once selected, the Core university members receive matching in-kind or monetary contributions or they may make sub-awards to others as appropriate and as agreed upon.

Q-11: I want to gain some clarity on the definitions of Core members vs. COE Affiliates.


  1. COE Core members are those universities who will enter into a cooperative agreement with the FAA and have a direct relationship with the Agency. These universities will be the direct recipients of all FAA COE awards and they may sub award to others as necessary and as agreed upon. The Core group members also are generally responsible for designating the COE University Lead, making decisions with regards to future COE governance, developing policies in support of COE operations and management, and other related activities.
  2. Affiliate members may support project tasks or engage in any COE activity as deemed appropriate by the members; receive funds through sub awards from Core members or others; or provide matching contributions. Affiliate roles are defined and proposed by each COE team. Affiliates may serve as individual subject-matter-experts, they may be representatives of industry, state or local governments, or academia; they may receive or provide funds and matching contributions to the COE, or generate contributions from others.
  3. The Affiliates may be elevated by the COE Core Team to Core Member status over time and this action would enable such a university to have a direct relationship with the FAA through a cooperative agreement. Initially, however, they do not have this relationship with the Agency and we will not have a direct / financial relationship with these entities until agreements are in place.
  4. There may also be a case where a greater number of universities receive direct funding from the FAA through a COE cooperative agreement, and the members have determined that a smaller team would more effectively serve on an Executive Committee. This group would then be responsible for determining policies, procedures, governance, and overseeing COE activities.

Please Note: All funds sub awarded, matching contributions provided, and activities conducted by Core or Affiliate members, with or for the COE, are reported and monitored.

Q-10: Under a COE contract, as either a prime or a vendor, what are the rules for taking profit or charging fees?

A-10: The COE will initially be funded under OMB Uniform Guidance regulations through the grant vehicle. Once the COE is established, the FAA sponsor will begin the process to execute a COE contract award. The details of allowable charges should be discussed with the fiscal officer at the lead university and the university Core member with whom one plans to affiliate.

Q-9: The COE must match 100% of the FAA-provided grant funds within each cooperative agreement period…FAA encourages that tasks be matched as they are funded" (Solicitation pg. 21). Is it correct that all funds are matched at 100% throughout the life of the award (e.g. ongoing or each year, per task)?

A-9: All funds awarded to establish, operate and conduct related research are subject to the congressionally required matching contributions. These obligations must be met within each five-year Phase of the COE cooperative agreement. As stated, the FAA encourages, but does not require, universities to show matching sources and values or amounts with each specific proposal as we understand that it is not always possible to generate matching contributions for all tasks. Therefore, we allow: excess match generated by some projects to be applied to other projects; universities to share contributions across a COE if mutually agreed upon; some level of matching flexibility throughout Phase I. However, by year four of operations, the COE individual members must begin to show a full match, in cash or in kind, to satisfy the total amount expended prior to Phase I close out and prior to entering into a Phase II COE agreement.

Q-8: Can you clarify the eligibility requirements of the match? For example, do we understand correctly that the match includes the value of resources such as research facilities, research equipment/technology, and research personnel? Can you help direct me to any FAA COE agency budget "match" requirement documents with these details?


  1. OMB provides specific guidance regarding matching contributions. The university fiscal officers are your most trusted sources of interpretation of this language. The following link will provide access to the newly published OMB Uniform Guidance, see Section 200.306 which contains cost sharing and matching requirements and provides details specific to grant awards:

  2. Applications should contain letters of support or other documentation to verify commitments of matching contributions from non-federal entities who are aligned with your proposing COE team.

Q-7: "Contracts - once the COE is operational, the OPI may begin the process to award contract tasks for the benefit of the agency without further competition" (Solicitation pg. 21)

Q-7-1: Does FAA view any potential conflict of interest between FAA and any COE member and/or affiliate (e.g. "industry partner") in participation in the COE? For example, will team members be excluded from eligibility for future contract opportunities in areas of similar or same scope for technical training or human factors?

A-7-1: Team members will not be excluded from eligibility for future grants or contract opportunities when participating in a COE as a Core or Affiliate member.

The FAA may, however, be likely to determine that it is more efficient to award future work to members might be within the scope of the COE through the funding vehicles already in place at that time, grant or contract. Tasks outside the specific scope of the COE will continue to be funded using the standard contract or grant vehicles as needed, and may continue to be awarded to both COE members and non-members.

Q-7-2: Will there be both contracts issued directly by OPI to the COE agency as well as outside of this funding vehicle?

A-7-2: Yes; however, the FAA establishes COEs on behalf of the Administrator and makes a 5-to 10-year commitment to work with this team in support of topic areas defined in the Final Solicitation. To that end, the Agency expects to seek assistance from the COE as a first option to satisfy requirements specified in the Final Solicitation.

Q-6: How much support for the management of the COE is provided by the FAA? I've heard different figures, but want to be clear on this point.

A-6: Prior to selection, previous FAA sponsors have not stated a specific amount that would be available to support the management of a COE as the cost to manage the team would depend on various factors. The unique geographic distribution of the group (required by P.L. 101-508) impact the factors to be considered which include: the need to have the team travel to FAA Headquarters for one meeting; meetings during the first year and twice a year thereafter at campus locations or industry sites; the costs projected to manage the team of a particular size; the costs associated with monitoring and overseeing research and related activities, and coordinating and collaborating across the U.S. etc. These projected costs have generally been developed and submitted in the proposal by the Lead University.

Q-5: We understand that universities serve as both COE Core Members and participate in research projects. It is it correct that they are not just limited to the functions of COE governance, developing policies related to COE operations and management? Can COE members (e.g. SME or researcher) also be selected to participate in the implementation of research projects per FAA request?

A-5: Absolutely, yes.

Q-4: Are 2-year institutions able to serve as COE Members and have a direct relationship with the FAA?

A-4: Yes.

Q-3: Are Core team members limited to university, college, or industry partners?

A-3: Yes. The Core team members must be U.S. universities in order to have a direct relationship with the FAA. There is no limit to the size of COE team Core members, or size or complexity of Affiliate members.

Q-2: What is the appropriate Affiliate member role for a federal or state agency?

A-2: A federal or state agency or entity may work with the COE in various ways. Activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • providing support to the COE members by awarding funds directly to each for required work;
  • providing matching contributions and/or working jointly on COE projects with the FAA and COE members and affiliates at a location to be defined and mutually agreed upon;
  • serving on the COE Advisory Board or reviewing research conducted or planned, etc.

Q-1: There are references to forms in the Solicitation for budget submission and a grid. Where might these be located?

A-1: The forms are being sent to the university leads expressing their intention to submit a proposal.

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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

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

June 23-26, 2014 in Berkeley, California

For Registration and Details See:

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!


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

17th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 7:00 AM - Thursday, February 06, 2014 4:00 PM

National Housing Center
1201 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

For more information, including the list of speakers, visit the event page.

October 28-31: NEXTOR 42nd Annual Short Course

FAA COE - NEXTOR 42nd Annual Short Course

The National COE for Operations Research (NEXTOR) is offering the 42nd Annual Short Course: Airport Systems Planning and Design on October 28-31 at UC-Berkeley.

Please visit for additional detail.

March 15: COE for Alternative Jet Fuels & Environment Q&A

FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Energy Questions and Answers

Updated to include questions received through March 15, 2013

View the Q&A Document (PDF)

March 11: COE - PARTNER 10 Year Symposium

The Center of Excellence Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise & Emissions Reduction (PARTNER) A Center of Excellence sponsored by FAA, NASA, DOD, EPA, and Transport Canada

The COE - PARTNER hosted their 10-year Symposium on Friday March 1, 2013. The presentations from the Symposium are currently available.

Please see (PDF)

February 1: Final Solicitation for COE AJF&E.

The COE Program has issued the final solicitation for the Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment and will be open through March 20, 2013.

View the Final Solicitation (PDF)

November 14: Alternative Jet Fuels & Environment Public Meeting

November 14, 2012

Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels & Environment Public Meeting
November 15-16

Agenda (PDF)

COE Briefing
Part 1 (MS PowerPoint)
Part 2 (MS PowerPoint)
Part 3 (MS PowerPoint)
Part 4 COE Fact Sheets (PDF)
Part 5 COE Highlights (PDF)

Technical Briefs
AJF&E Overview (PDF)
Noise (PDF)
Emissions (PDF)
Modeling (PDF)
Technical Assessment (PDF)
Operations (PDF)
Alternative Fuels - Part 1 (PDF)
Alternative Fuels - Part 2 (PDF)
Alternative Fuels - Part 3 (PDF)

Draft Solicitation (PDF)

Public Meeting Attendees (PDF)

October 26: Notice of Public Meeting

October 26, 2012

Agency: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Revised Notice of Public Meeting: The notice of public meeting to establish the FAA Center of Excellence (COE) for Environment and Energy (E&E) is changed to Notice of Public Meeting to establish the FAA Center of Excellence (COE) for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment (AJF&E).

Summary: The FAA is forming a COE for AJF&E during FY-13. The COE will be a consortium of the FAA, university partners, and private industry affiliates selected by the FAA Administrator to work collectively on business and operational issues of mutual interest and concern.

Dates: As planned, the FAA will discuss COE and technical requirements at a Public Meeting to be conducted on November 15 and 16 in the Washington, DC area. Contact for further information regarding the COE Program, or to register for the COE Public Meeting or to receive additional information, contact Potential applicants are encouraged but not required to attend this meeting.

Selection Criteria: The COE will be selected on the ability of the applicant to meet the following criteria mandated by Congress:

  • 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.
  • The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant for carrying out the intent of the legislation.
  • 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.
  • The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program.
  • The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a statewide or region-wide continuing education program.
  • The research projects that the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant. Specific projects will be defined, evaluated, and funded throughout the life of the Center.

Revised Research Areas:

  1. Alternative Jet Fuels - Feedstock Development, Processing and Conversion Research; Regional Supply and Refining Infrastructure; Environmental Benefits Analysis; Aircraft Component Deterioration and Wear Assessment; Fuel Performance Testing.
  2. Environment - Aircraft Noise and Impacts; Aviation Emissions and Impacts; Aircraft Technology Assessment; Environmentally and Energy Efficient Gate-to-Gate Aircraft Operations; Aviation Modeling and Analysis.

The FAA anticipates the COE will attract interest from other organizations such as the airline industry, other industrial groups, airport authorities, and other governmental entities to solve various unique and difficult aviation problems related to environment and energy. These organizations may be considered as affiliate members by the COE core universities and may contribute to and receive funding from the COE.

Award Date: The FAA Administrator will announce the final selection of the Center of Excellence in FY 13

Issued in Atlantic County, New Jersey on October 26, 2012

September 27: New Center of Excellence

September 27, 2012

FAA Establishes New Center of Excellence for General Aviation

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood 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 general aviation. The COE will focus research and testing efforts on safety, accessibility and sustainability to enhance the future of general aviation. Read more.

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