Air Transportation Centers of Excellence

Conduct long term research in critical and specific areas of aviation related technology.

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

Fiscal Year 2016: In FY 2016, the FAA COE PMO supported the following topic areas: Technical Training and Human Performance; Unmanned Aircraft Systems; Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment; Commercial Space Transportation; General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability Research; and Advanced Materials.

Fiscal Year 2017: In FY 2017, the FAA COE PMO continues to support the following topic areas: Technical Training and Human Performance; Unmanned Aircraft Systems; Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment; Commercial Space Transportation; General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability Research; and Advanced Materials.

Fiscal Year 2018: In FY 2018, the FAA COE PMO plans to continue to support the following topic areas: Technical Training and Human Performance; Unmanned Aircraft Systems; Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment; Commercial Space Transportation; General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability Research; and Advanced Materials.


Agency - Department of Transportation

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




Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Drexel University $ 379,350   2016-08-082021-09-08
Embry-riddle Aeronautical University $ 636,948   2016-07-272021-09-08
Oregon State University $ 322,000   2016-08-092021-02-28
University Of Washington $ 0   2015-09-282020-09-28
Mississippi State University $ 20,000   2015-09-242020-09-24
Georgia Tech Research Corporation $ 20,000   2015-09-232020-09-23
New Mexico State University $ 150,000   2015-09-232020-09-23
Mississippi State University $ 261,158   2015-09-232020-09-23
University Of Illinois $ 120,000   2015-09-222020-09-22
Leland Stanford Junior University, The $ 285,000   2015-09-222020-09-22



Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: In FY 2016, the FAA COE Program Management Office (PMO) awarded $28,397,118 in support of 160 FAA projects, negotiated and executed 16 COE cooperative agreements, issued 225 funded grant awards, executed 66 other COE actions, and generated more than $29 million in matching contributions from industry and other non-federal sources. Additionally, the FAA COE PMO conducted and completed a competition to establish the COE for Technical Training and Human Performance (TTHP) and finalized significant pre-award activities and the award of 65 awards in preparation for the establishment of the new COE in September 2016. The pre-award competitive process culminated in the submission of proposals representing universities throughout the U.S. and their industry and other affiliates. The COE PMO invited subject-matter-experts from various federal organizations to participate in the conduct of a technical evaluation of the submissions. Management and fiscal officers were additionally invited to conduct a review of the best qualified proposals from a non-technical perspective. The process enabled the FAA Administrator to select the new COE TTHP team in FY 2016, on schedule as planned. The COE PMO negotiated and entered into 16 new cooperative agreements with the COE core universities. Fiscal Year 2017: In FY 2017, the FAA COE PMO anticipates to award $24,600,000 in support of FAA projects. The FAA COE PMO will continue to support active Centers. The follow-on strategy for the Joint Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials (JAMS) will be formulated. JAMS will continue to fulfill research requirements until the FAA Administrator concurs with a follow-on strategy. Fiscal Year 2018: In FY 2018, the FAA COE PMO anticipates to award $16,400,000 in support of FAA projects. The FAA COE PMO will continue to support active Centers.

Uses and Use Restrictions

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

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

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

In response to the Final Solicitation, each applicant submits a proposal with a description of their institutional capabilities, available faculty, facilities and equipment, and additional information as required in the Solicitation.

Researchers at each COE are expected to maintain a close working relationship with the FAA COE Program Office and relevant FAA program offices and others having responsibility in areas related to their research projects.

Centers conduct semi-annual reviews, and a major symposium at the conclusion of each cooperative agreement and research phase.

This activity satisfies Congressional requirements to disseminate research results to a broad audience.

CONGRESSIONAL RESTRICTIONS: (1) Matching Funds - The Federal share of the grant awarded shall be 50 percent of the cost to establish and operate and conduct related research within the Center of Excellence and related research activities.

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

(3) Locations of centers and distribution of funds shall be geographically equitable.

(4) Contract tasks may be awarded following the competitive process and may include negotiable cost share.

(5) Funds are awarded to universities.

Industry and other affiliates must align with academic institutions who may then sub-contract to others as appropriate.

Centers of Excellence are established to conduct aviation related research, education, training, information dissemination and technology transfer.

Unless otherwise directed by Congress, FAA COEs are awarded discretionary R&D, Operations, AIP, and F&E funds for the appropriate purpose.

These funds are made available by sponsoring organizations and are awarded to establish, operate and conduct research, related activities and support general COE initiatives.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

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

Academic institutions may partner with industry affiliates, other public and private entities, government laboratories and other interested parties.

Applicants must satisfy the Congressionally mandated selection criteria as stated in an open Final Solicitation.

Beneficiary Eligibility

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

Credentials/Documentation

Required documentation is outlined in each solicitation package. After the Draft Solicitation is published, copies of the Solicitation are available prior to a Public Meeting and are provided by the FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, FAA Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405. To establish a Center of Excellence, the FAA COE Program Office conducts a competitive process to include a: public announcement, publication of a Draft and a Final Solicitation, period of public comment, management/fiscal review, and a technical evaluation. Public Law 101-508 established the following equally weighted selection criteria: (1) The extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of the needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities. (2) The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant for carrying out this program. (3) The capability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long- range and immediate air transportation problems. (4) The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program. (5) The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a State-wide or region-wide continuing education program. (6) The projects which the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant. Each proposal must include the following: (a) description of current research projects being conducted in the specific research area, (b) a schedule of anticipated costs to establish and operate the Center of Excellence, (c) a plan for meeting the 50 percent nonfederal contribution toward the matching requirements, (d) a statement showing aggregate expenditures from all other sources for aviation research in its 2 fiscal years preceding November 5, 1990, (e) all data sufficient for the evaluation team to determine the extent to which the applicant is able to satisfy the six selection criteria outlined. Each proposal must contain a: 1. completed Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424 Research and Related); 2. table of contents; 3. technical statement addressing the problems inherent in the specific technical area(s) and probable solutions; 4. summary of results from FAA funding in the past five years; 5. biographical sketch for all senior personnel and a list of their principal accomplishments and publications during the past five years; 6. proposed budget for the initial three years including the anticipated costs of managing a new Center of Excellence, and a management plan; 7. listing of all current and pending support on all research awards from all sources; 8. listing of all available facilities and major items of equipment to be available to conduct research, and that which is necessary to acquire. 9. a cover letter and letters of support from various industry representatives, state and local officials, etc. Other required forms are to be included such as Disclosure of Lobbying Activities Form SF-LLL and certification of Compliance with the Civil Rights Act. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

FAA holds a public information meeting prior to submission of proposals.

During the period of public comment and thereafter, questions may be submitted to the FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, ANG-A12, FAA Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.' An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Colleges and universities may apply after the FAA has published a Notice of Availability of Solicitation for a Center of Excellence in a specific research area on the Grants.gov website. Solicitation and application packages are available from the FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, FAA Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405.

Award Procedures

The FAA Administrator is the selecting official for each Air Transportation Center of Excellence. The FAA Centers of Excellence Program Director issues solicitations, receives all proposals, convenes evaluation teams to evaluate eligible institutions for Centers of Excellence awards. Applicants should be prepared to host an onsite inspection of existing research facilities when being considered for a Center of Excellence designation. Grant award authority has been delegated by the FAA Senior Procurement Executive to the FAA COE Grants Officer and Program Director, ANG-E, located at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405. Awards are made to COE members throughout the term of the Center. No further announcements are issued.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Federal Aviation Administration Research, Engineering and Development Authorization Act of 1990, Public Law 101-508, 49 U.S.C C.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

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

Appeals

Formal protests are not an option; however, those submitting a proposal may request a debriefing.

Renewals

Grants: Multi-year grants and cooperative agreements are available; extensions are possible. No-cost extensions are available upon request. Centers of Excellence designation: Centers are evaluated during the last year of each research Phase. Cooperative agreements are renewed upon successful completion of each previous Phase throughout the 10-year term.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. Matching Requirements: Percent: 50%. This program has no statutory formula. Matching Funds Requirements - The Federal share shall be 50 percent of the costs of establishing and operating the Center of Excellence and related research activities. Maintenance of Effort - Each recipient will maintain its aggregate expenditures from all other sources for establishing and operating the Center and related research activities at or above the average level of such expenditures in its 2 fiscal years preceding November 1990. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The FAA intends to support a Center of Excellence in two (2) five-year increments over a period of 10 years. Each Center undergoes a reassessment within the final year of each cooperative agreement Phase. Research is reviewed semi-annually. Budgets and research projects are defined, evaluated and negotiated yearly. As a consequence of changing needs, or diminished requirements, the agency reserves the right not to renew support for a Center of Excellence at any time. Funds from program offices and additional appropriations may increase at any time providing the institution can demonstrate matching contributions are available. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Centers of Excellence are established following the execution of a cooperative agreement between the FAA and each core member university. Thereafter, funds are awarded via grants as amendments to the agreements. Following the FAA or DOT announcement of the selected team, the FAA COE Program Director negotiates a cooperative agreement with each university core member. Grant awards are issued as amendments to the initial cooperative agreement(s) following submission of technical proposals and individual evaluations.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Technical reports are provided to the sponsoring organization.

COE Program status and fiscal reports are required on a quarterly basis.

Technical and Financial reporting requirements are specified in 2 CFR 200, Subpart D ? Post- Federal Award Requirements.

Semi-annual matching reports are required as well as an annual review of the research completed and in progress at each Center of Excellence.

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

A major technical conference is required by the end of each cooperative agreement period as part of close-out activities and serves to highlight research results and discuss plans for the next five-year phase.

A major technical symposium is designed to satisfy legislative requirements to highlight COE outcomes and disseminate information and is conducted prior to the final 10-year period of performance.

No cash reports are required.

Technical progress reports are required on a quarterly basis throughout the period of performance.

These include the following: * Description of project. * Investigation Team: the team that will perform the research, including the Principal Investigator and all academic, government, and industry partners * Objective of the research * General description of approach to research * Expected benefits * Funding 1.

Project funding, identifying proposed FAA contributions, proposed contributions from other agencies or organizations, and COE matching funds 2.

Project in-kind contributions, identifying contributions of cash versus in-kind contributions 3.

Project spending profile, outlining expenditures anticipated over time.

Universities may use their most current approved indirect cost rate at the time of submission. * Schedule: including milestones * The Universities will utilize the standardized tracking and reporting system, the FAA COE e-grants system, to the greatest extent possible to satisfy these requirements. A progress report is also provided during the annual technical review which focuses on the relevance, merit and direction of research efforts in the designated area, and discussion regarding future projects and budgets for the next year.

The required final symposium is part of the COE close-out activities and serves to highlight research results over the entire period of performance.

The symposium is also designed to satisfy legislative requirements to disseminate information.

The standard form is submitted and the process is followed as described in the Financial Reporting Requirements section, 2 CFR 200, Subpart D ? Post- Federal Award Requirements.

A technical monitor is assigned by the sponsoring organization to oversee each task, to monitor performance, receive technical reports, and approve invoices.

A major meeting to present research results for a broad audience of peers is conducted during the fifth year; additionally, a major symposium is required by the end of the 10-year period as part of close-out activities and serves to highlight research results.

The symposium is designed to satisfy legislative requirements to disseminate information.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Single Audit Act assigns responsibility to either the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Defense for most institutions. The FAA calls for an audit of each Center every five years as a part of close-out activities, and reserves the right to conduct individual audits annually, and as needed, within the constraints of applicable laws and regulations. A final formal audit is conducted during the 10th year of operation prior to close out of the COE.

Records

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

Financial Information

Account Identification

69-8107-0-7-402; 69-8108-0-7-402; 69-8106-0-7-402; 69-1301-0-1-402.

Obigations

(Salaries) FY 16 $22,500,000; FY 17 est $24,600,000; and FY 18 est $16,400,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Program started in fiscal year 1992. Grant assistance is expected to be a minimum of $500,000 per year for each Center, and may be augmented by tasks funded through IDIQ contract awards.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The FAA announces the Intent to Establish a Center of Excellence with a formal notice followed by the publication of a Draft and Final Solicitation. An application package is made available and contains the appropriate forms and directions are made available. The Notice of Intent to Establish an Air Transportation Center of Excellence and a Notice of Solicitation Availability are announced on Grants.gov.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Patricia Watts, Ph.D. Centers of Excellence Program Office FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, Bldg 300, L28 , Atlantic City International Airport, New Jersey 08405 Email: patricia.watts@.faa.gov Phone: (609) 485-5043 Fax: (609) 485-4753.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

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



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