19-02 Tech project call

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ARM 19-02 Technology Project Call

We are pleased to announce our second technology project call of 2019. Please note: You must be an ARM member to submit a proposal for this project call. To learn more about membership, click here. Submissions are due August 16, 2019.  Check the Project Call Document for further instructions and important dates. You can also view our webinar recording and webinar slides that details the call and how to submit a proposal.

Questions and More Information

Members should submit any project questions into the ARM Member Community. Non-members with questions are welcome to email [email protected].

Project Call FAQ

  • If one of the members listed in our proposal is unable to become a member by the proposal submission deadline, is the project disqualified or executed on a smaller scale?

The lead proposing organization identified in the proposal must be a member prior to the submission of the proposal.  It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) to ensure that this is true. Other organizations participating as project team members on the proposal submission must be current ARM members by the date final budgets are due for teams selected for subaward negotiation. At present, this due date is scheduled to be on or about October 21, 2019.

  • Do I need to have my full team finalized by the proposal submission date?

Yes, you should.

  • What category does a small business fall under or can they not submit a proposal?

An organization must be at one of these membership levels to be the LEAD Principal Investigator (PI) on a proposal – Platinum, Gold, Silver or Core. Please see the Project Call Document, found on the ARM Member Community or the Project section of the ARM website (www.arminstitute.org) for more information. It is important for lower tier members to know they may, and are expected to, team with upper tier members. Members should log into the ARM Community and use the Members tab to search the directory. Also, on this page, you can download a list of Stakeholder contacts for each member organization. Please note that this information is confidential and should not be shared with non-members.

  • Can previously awarded teams propose on this project call?

Yes, all previously awarded project teams are welcome to submit proposals for our current project calls.

  • I submitted a proposal for the last round that was not accepted. Can I submit my proposal again if it falls within the topic areas outlined in this proposal?

You are welcome to submit again, taking the opportunity to improve your proposal to increase the likelihood that it will be considered.

  • Are there templates and/or guidelines for what to submit?

Yes. In addition to the information in the Project Call document, any necessary templates and guidelines will be available on the ARM Community Website on or before the Project Call Final Release Date.

  • Is there a page limit or size for proposals?

Yes. The principal sections of the Technical Volume papers must not exceed a total of 15 pages.  See the Project Call Document for details.

  • Who will be reviewing/scoring the proposals?

Submissions determined eligible and complete will proceed for a full evaluation by evaluators who are subject matter experts in relevant technologies and businesses. The evaluators consist of ARM members, ARM staff and our government program sponsors.

  • When will I hear about selection for subaward negotiation?

Notifications are expected to be sent out on or about September 23, 2019.

  • The project call requires that each proposal team contain at least one industry organization whose business is manufacturing. Is this industry organization also required to be an ARM member?  


  • How can the federal money be spent? (i.e., program administration, equipment and supplies?) 

The federal money must be spent on tasks aligned to execution of the proposed project and must be spent according to the guidelines prescribed by the federal government.

For-Profit Members are to comply with the cost principles in 48 CFR Parts 31 and 231 as defined here – https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title48/48tab_02.tpl

Institutes of Higher Education or Nonprofit Members are to comply with the cost principles in Subpart E of 2 CFR Part 200 as defined here – https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=2:

Please note that pre-award costs have not been approved by the federal awarding agency for any potentially awarded subawards.

  • What metrics are you looking for in a successful project?  

Appropriate metrics (aka key performance parameters) are defined in the Project Call document which can be found in the ARM Member Community and on the public website.

  • If an ARM member has a unique tech partner or is aware of one, must they be a member to participate if the member manages and funds their activity in the project call?

Yes, they must be an ARM member.

  • Do I need to use the supplied budget template for the proposal submission?

Yes.  If your organization requires financial office sign-off on entries in the template (such as indirect costs), and such signoffs cannot be obtained within the timeframe of the submission deadline, then submit the estimated costs with sufficient category detail for cost review.

  • Can travel be included in the budget?

As indicated in the supplied cost template spreadsheet, travel costs required for the project must be included in the budget. Travel to ARM project review meetings, estimated at twice per year, should be budgeted. This travel may be included in the budget as cost share. International travel is not an allowable expense.  Any travel expended prior to the awarding of the project cannot be included in the project budget, nor in project cost share.

  • Is a third-party integrator permitted in the proposal as a service provider?

If the third party is truly providing a service (or supplying a product or a part), then they do not have to be a member. However, if they are collaborating with the team in any way to respond to the proposal, then they must be a member. Additionally, any IP that is created under the project by the third party must come under the ownership of the project team and therefore available

  • Where can I find a list of ARM members that I can team with for my project call proposal?

ARM members can find other members by logging into the ARM Member Community and clicking on the Members tab. There is also a PDF of ARM Member Stakeholder contacts available for download on the Members page in the ARM Member Community.

  • How do ARM start-up members connect/apply to be involved in projects?

Start-up members can participate in projects by building a team with a lead proposer (PI) who is at one of the following membership levels – Platinum, Gold, Silver or Core. Please log into the ARM Member Community to access our directory and a list of members, which indicates the membership level

  • Can government national labs and FFRDCs be included as team members on a proposed project?

Proposed relationships or interactions with federal government entities can be included in a proposal, however, no budget for these entities should be included in the ARM funding, and federal funds cannot count toward cost share. Any approved projected costs for government national labs or FFRDCs would most likely be funded separately through the government under a CRADA or similar instrument.

  • What is the anticipated number of awards per topic?  

The number of project awards and federal funding amount allocated to this Project Call will be determined based on the quality and quantity of proposals received. It is not pre-determined per topic. ARM reserves the right to select all, some, one, or none of the submitted full proposals for award negotiations.

  • What is the total funding available for the proposals?

ARM may award up to $5M to fund multiple projects for the Technical Project Call. The exact amount will be based upon the quantity and quality of proposals.

  • Can money from the state or another grant be counted towards our cost matching?

Yes, and please include these expected amounts and sources in your submission as it will aid in the determination of awardees.  Federal grants and other federal awards are not allowable as cost match; however; such awards may be listed as leverage in the proposal.

  • Will you award funding for each of the project call topics?

Not necessarily, as it depends upon the quality of the proposals. ARM reserves the right to select all, some, one or none of the submitted full proposals for award negotiations. It is not based on a predetermined number per topic, but on the quality and quantity of proposals received.

  • Are there any limitations about how many topics we can submit proposals for from the same group? 

There is no limitation on any organization; you can submit as many proposals as you wish.

  • How will these technical project calls be industry focused such that industry can implement in their factories quickly and efficiently? 

The topic areas for this project call represent the top priorities from ARM’s technology road mapping activities and the priorities defined in the ARM Technology Investment Strategy. This strategy integrates the input of members with a strategic view on the future of manufacturing.  The Technology Investment Strategy can be found in the ARM Member Community.

As noted in the Project Call, each proposing team must have at least one industry partner whose primary business is manufacturing. As a result, the most attractive submissions will frame the project with appropriate constraints so that: a) the project meets the requirement of TRL 4-7* and b) helps ensure project outcomes can then be implemented by manufacturers quickly and efficiently.

*(TRL/MRL 4-7 spans the developmental phases from the capability component validation or producing the technology in a laboratory environment through system prototype demonstration or producing systems, subsystems, or components in a production representative environment.)

  • What are the primary guidelines for acceptable cost share?
    All three of the following must be satisfied to be acceptable –a. the cost share must be in direct support of a proposed ARM project,b. the cost share must occur during the period of performance of a funded ARM project, AND

    c. the cost share cannot include or be a result of other federal funding (e.g. Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Energy, etc.).

  • Will a proposal be given preference if it has a higher cost share ratio than the required 2:1?
    All else being equal, yes.
  • Do cost matching funds need to be unique? That is, can you count the same dollars as cost share for membership and for a project?
    Cost share for a project can cover the cost share required by the membership. For example, if your organization was given a $500K project award, the minimum cost share would be $1000K.  This could also be used to cover the required cost share for the membership level. ARM periodically reviews its cost share requirements, so feel free to contact [email protected] for questions or clarifications.
  • Are stipends during training for an ARM Workforce Development project an allowed cost?

They are allowable, but not recommended.  Initial funding should help create the program.  Ongoing expenses such as wages need to have their own funding stream to maintain a sustainable and potentially scalable project. Such stipends may be counted as cost share, if they follow the ARM cost share guidelines.

  • We would like to offer one of our manufacturing facilities as the testbed for an ARM project, which includes setting up the project there, performing the experiments, and the final demonstration. Does this contribution of providing the facility count towards the cost share?

Use of facilities, including use of space, equipment and associated resources directly on the project can be counted as cost share, in accordance with the ARM cost share guidelines and that meet the requirements of 32 CFR §37.530.  Likewise, facilities and administration costs that are embedded within the proposer’s indirect costs or fees can count towards cost share. If embedded F&A costs are counted as cost share, those costs then cannot be double counted also as direct costs.

  • Can federal dollars be budgeted to purchase equipment?

Federal dollars for projects through ARM cannot be used to purchase equipment.

  • Do we need to submit commitment letters from all proposal team members?

ARM requires a commitment letter from the lead proposing organization at the submission due date.  As lead proposer, this commitment letter must cover the full project being proposed.

  • If a member overshoots their total cost share commitment in a given year, would that overage be able to be used to defray the following year’s obligation?  

Yes, you can roll your accrued cost share forward once your commitment is met in a given year if you do not double count the cost share.

  • What are the indirect cost percentages for ARM proposals? Do indirect costs apply to the ARM budget?

Yes, federally approved indirect costs apply to project budgets submitted to ARM. Indirect rates of the specific organization doing the work apply, regardless of whether they are a lead or a subcontractor on the project team. You should contact your organization’s business manager to obtain the correct indirect rate. For some organizations, such as universities, the federally approved rates depend on the source of funding. Since the source of funding of ARM is through the U.S. Department of Defense, the appropriate indirect cost rate will be a federal DoD-funded project rate.

  • Can software development costs be submitted as cost share?

Yes, if the software is developed specifically for the project and developed during the period of performance of the project or if the software is being sold to customers outside of the organization for a fee, then that fee can be provided as cost share.

  • Can equipment purchases be claimed as cost share?

Generally, the full cost of the equipment cannot be submitted as cost share. For ARM support activities that require the use of equipment, buildings or land, normally only depreciation or reasonable use charges for equipment and buildings may be submitted as cost share.   Under cases where it is clear that the equipment will be used only for ARM activities for the depreciation life of the equipment, the full value of the equipment may be allowed if the cost share is approved.  The most likely scenario for this is if the member were to donate a piece of equipment to ARM for its full useful life. Contact ARM staff if you’re not sure.

  • Can effort spent preparing the concept paper, quad chart, and/or full proposal be counted as cost share?

No.  Costs incurred preparing the concept paper and/or proposal cannot be submitted as cost share.

  • Is there a way to formally request ARM Community logins for PIs who don’t currently have access? 
  • Yes, please email [email protected] with your request. 
  • Is there a role for the Regional Collaboratives (RCCs) in the project call process?

Absolutely! The Regional Collaboratives are encouraged to help share information about our project call process with interested teams in their regions, and help members form teams to respond to the project call. Refer to the ARM Member Community to determine which RCC supports your area.

  • Will you make the slides from the project call webinar available?

Yes, the slides and the webinar recording will be available on the ARM Member Community.

  • By utilizing open-source software and open-source tools, how will ARM be able to keep the knowledge focused and centered around USA manufacturing and not world manufacturing? 

Open source could help accelerate development of robotics manufacturing technology that will on the whole benefit U.S. manufacturing. However, the development of open source software is not a requirement. For example, software that is application-specific may be chosen to not be designated as open source.  On the other hand, more general robotics operating system software, tools and algorithms may fit well as open source. A proposed project may include a blend of open source software and proprietary software.

  • Is a goal to produce research or papers from the grant, or is it most important to develop novel, replicable business practices that can be used by others?

The primary goal of projects funded through the current Technology Project Call is to solve specific technology gaps that provide a benefit to ARM industry members through successful technology transition. An important way to help meet that goal is to create replicable technology solutions that can be used by others.  Technology projects will perform TRL/MRL 4-7 research and development through a sub-award agreement, which is not a grant. We do not fund basic research (i.e. TRL levels 1-3). The primary goal is not to produce papers; however, publications from the project may be one natural output as a consequence of overall success.

  • What is CDIP?

CDIP stands for Consortium Developed Intellectual Property. See the question below for more information about CDIP.

  • Could you talk more about IP, especially software? What rights does a member company have to software created for a project call? What rights do other members have? Does a member company have to release source code to other members?

Basically, the project development team owns any IP generated during an ARM project (aka CDIP), subject to the IP agreements between the lead proposer (aka the prime) and their subcontractors.  The team agrees to provide a royalty free, non-commercial license to that same IP to ARM and any interested ARM Member.  They also agree to negotiate a royalty bearing commercial use license with ARM and any interested ARM Member if requested.  The IP rights are explained in detail in the ARM Membership Policies document that you received upon membership and whose terms are agreed to by all ARM member organizations. Please refer to the ARM Institute Consortium Membership Policies, Section 3. Intellectual Property Rights and Access, which includes source code developed within an ARM-funded project. For cases where there may be background IP involved in an ARM-funded project, the subaward agreement may need to include a Background Intellectual Property Management Plan IP, as agreed to by the team members of the proposal team for incorporation into any negotiated subaward agreement.