3 SITE VISITS
6 MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
7 TOPIC AREAS
9 FUNDING AND COST SHARE
10 FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, RESOURCES
11 RFI AND EXASCALE WORKSHOPS
1.2 Q: What is the APPLICATION DEADLINE?
A: modification to the FOA was issued on April 30th 2012 to extend the due date to June 11, 2012. http://Grants.Gov
1.3 Q: The FOA references section says to “please continue to check the publicly posted FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS on this FOA” at http://www.sandia.gov/ascppc. Please clarify the sources of information for responding.
A: Fedconnect contains the FOA and its attachments and allows you to receive notification updates about the FOA, including answers to questions asked – if you sign up to receive notice. . Grants.gov is where you submit y our application. The ascppc website contains reference materials and FAQs. The NNSA website provides an introduction to the PSAAP.
1.4 Q: The original PSAAP program documentation stated that there would be a BLACKOUT ON DISCUSSING PROPOSALS with NNSA personnel. There is no mention of this blackout in the final Funding Opportunity Announcement posted on grants.gov. Is there currently a restriction on discussing proposals with NNSA lab personnel?
A: The time window for communicating with the NNSA Labs and ASC HQ personnel for PSAAP collaborations is now closed. There should be no communication with the NNSA Labs & ASC HQ personnel on PSAAP II topics from now until the PSAAP awards are announced. Any questions on the content of the solicitation should be sent to Del Pacheco at the NNSA Albuquerque Service Center, as instructed in the solicitation. Communication and interaction with the NNSA Labs and ASC HQ on other ongoing collaborations/topics, besides PSAAP II, are not affected by this communication blackout rule.
1.5 Q: We are interested in collaborating with Dr. Y on our proposal. Dr. Y has appointments at both a university and an NNSA lab. Does the BLACKOUT prohibit us from contacting him?
A: Yes, the blackout does apply to your situation.
1.6 Q: Can the university, as an institution, submit applications to SERVE AS BOTH/EITHER THE MDC AND SDC? Or must it choose to apply to one or the other? If the university can submit applications to serve as both/either, will the Department of Energy accept more than one application to each program? Or do we need to have an internal selection process to determine which proposal goes forward?
A: As the FOA states, DOE/NNSA will not fund more than one MSC or SDC per campus. (A campus may submit proposals for one MSC but can submit for multiple SDCs).
1.7 Q: Are LETTERS OF ENDORSEMENT required of the heads of participating departments with the proposal? Must this proposal be sent through the formal University channels, or can it be sent directly to you?
A: The FOA includes instructions for a Letter of Affirmation of Minimum Qualification Requirements. We would like the type of university management to confirm there is commitment to this effort and that there is awareness of the multi-department nature of the program and management required.
1.8 Q: We have identified a number of collaborators from NNSA labs. Are we allowed to ask for LETTERS OF INTEREST in our proposed work or intention to collaborate?
A: Lab personnel may not appear as PIs or co-Is in the proposal. However, applicants are encouraged to include collaboration with DOE/NNSA Laboratory personnel in their proposal. The PSAAP solicitation does not require applicants to include in their proposal a letter of support from each named DOE/NNSA Laboratory collaborator. If such letters are submitted, they will not be made available to the merit review committee.
1.9 Q: May we place a pdf animation in our project narrative file? Will the reviewers receive an electronic copy of the narrative?
A: Please do not include animation in your project narrative because it will not be available for the reviewers. The centers selected for site visits, based on the technical review, will have an opportunity to prepare presentations that can include animations.
1.10 Q: Are the collaborating institutions allowed to submit separate proposals to DOE, much as one might submit a "collaborative research proposal" to NSF, or must there be only one proposal, submitted by the lead university with the other collaborating institutions proposed as subcontractors?
A: Submit one integrated proposal form the lead university and clearly spell out the role of the subcontracting institutions. A single integrated proposal is important to this integrated research program.
1.11 Q: 1) The information on PSAAP-II, especially FAQ, used to be accessible through www.sandia.goc/ascppc. This site is not accessible anymore - it says forbidden. Is there a problem with this site? How can this and other info related to PSAAP-II can be accessed.
2) Instruction says fonts not smaller than Arial 11 should be used. Are we required to use ONLY Arial font. Or can we use Times New Roman 11 font.
A: Please use the correct website link: www.sandia.gov/ascppc. Please abide with the FOA instructions which all applicants are expected to follow.
1.12 Q: I am in a unique situation regarding the PSAAP II proposal process, and I am hoping you can help me clarify my position. I am currently a lab employee, but I have accepted a full-time faculty position at a university to begin in September. In preparing the PSAAP II proposal, the university would like to include my capabilities in it. I will not be a lab employee when the proposals are reviewed or granted, and if I provide any input to the proposal, it will be on my own time without input from my colleagues. Am I able to contribute in this manner, or would the communication blackout with NNSA labs personnel preclude my involvement?
A: The lab employee cannot provide input to the proposal.
1.13 Q: The RFI specified the need for "(4) Ideas to Attract Students: A brief discussion of ideas for attracting US citizen graduate students and post docs, and associating them or involving them with the NNSA Laboratories (one page maximum)." However, there is no mention of this in the final FOA. Do we need to address this in the proposal?
A: Please follow the instructions in the Management, Collaboration, and Education section of the FOA. Incorporate, within the page limits, ideas you have on collaboration and education.
1.14 Q: Our references will exceed the 3-page limit indicated in the checklist on page 8 of the FOA. How shall we decide which references to exclude to comply with the page limitation, given that the exclusion of references cited is usually considered plagiarism?
A: Please include only the most important comprehensive references, and then make the full reference list available on a separate web site. Reviewers will not look at that web site, but it will be available so the authors can protect themselves against charges of plagiarism.
2.1 Q: Does the Center have to have one CENTRAL, PHYSICAL PLACE AT THE UNIVERSITY?
A: No, a single building location is not required, although experience with the present PSAAP program shows that having students, staff, and faculty in close physical proximity is very useful in creating the required closer teaming and interdisciplinary interaction.
3.1 Q: When does DOE anticipate making the SITE VISITS TO THE FINALIST INSTITUTIONS?
A: If required, we anticipate making site visits in the fall of 2012. This could change and we will work with the institutions to find mutually convenient times.
4.1 Q: WHO CAN RECEIVE FUNDING under PSAAP?
A: The table below has been created to help clarify who can receive ASC funds for PSAAP, either as a prime contractor or subcontractor, and who can be formal participants (listed on the proposal), or informal participants, either receiving ASC funds or funds from other sources.
* Even though NNSA Lab personnel cannot receive funding under this program, proposers are encouraged to develop collaborations as appropriate.
4.2 Q: Is it allowed/appropriate for PSAAP proposals to LIST LAB PERSONNEL AS COLLABORATORS? Is there some general guidance on how lab involvement/endorsement can be captured in the proposals?
A: Lab personnel may not appear as PIs or co-Is in the proposal. However, applicants are encouraged to include collaboration with DOE/NNSA Laboratory personnel in their proposal. The PSAAP solicitation does not require applicants to include in their proposal a letter of support from each named DOE/NNSA Laboratory collaborator. If such letters are submitted, they will not be made available to the merit review committee.
4.3 Q: When EXTERNAL ORGANIZATIONS are participating in the proposed effort, presumably a letter or other indication of commitment to the project is needed. How and where is this to be included? Do you need such letters from subawardees?
A: We don't require letters of commitment from your subawardees until the award selection phase if it's deemed necessary. However, we do ask that you explain the roles and responsibilities of these external collaborators - see the requirement for Management, Collaboration, and Education Plans.
4.4 Q: One of the FACULTY we are considering to have on our team is a visiting FOREIGN NATIONAL. Are there any restrictions on the nationality of individuals that are on a center’s team?
A: There might be some restrictions depending on the nationality in terms of access to ASC computing resources or if there needs to be access to ASC unclassified Export Controlled codes, but in terms of the research there is no restriction on participants who are not funded by NNSA.
4.5 Q: Can we only use PSAAP FUNDS TO PAY SALARY for students, postdocs, or Research Associates who are US Citizens or permanent residents?
A: You can use the PSAAP funds to support those who are US citizens and those from non-sensitive countries.
4.6 Q: As we understand the FOA, we cannot use PSAAP funds to support individuals from “SENSITIVE COUNTRIES”. Could you provide a list of “sensitive countries”?
A: For a list of “sensitive countries”, Google “DOE Sensitive Countries”.
4.7 Q. On page 27 it implies that Sub-recipients cannot get any federal funding, but must show budget in the non-federal portion, meaning they're cost sharing their entire portion. Is that the correct interpretation?
A. The Budget (Sub-recipients) section on page 27 is referring to sub-recipients who are not funded within NNSA funds. Please see table addressing the question, “Who can receive funding under PSAAP”.
4.8 Q: Please confirm that INDIVIDUALS FROM SENSITIVE COUNTRIES who are paid through cost sharing funds can visit the NNSA labs.
A: Individuals from sensitive countries supported with matching funds may or may not be able to visit the labs depending on a variety of factors at the time of the request and the area to be visited. Arrangements would have to be worked out with the particular lab.
Q: Does “funds” mean that any non-U.S. citizens from sensitive countries cannot receive benefits associated with collaborating at NNSA labs, i.e. access, facilities, materials, housing (if applicable), etc? Or does it mean that these persons cannot work on the project in any way if funding is sourced to the NNSA?
4.9 Q: At the pre-proposal stage, the university was required to certify that every graduate student financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement who was not a citizen of a SENSITIVE COUNTRY would spend 10 contiguous weeks at one of the NNSA Defense Programs National Labs and that every research staff member and postdoc who was financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement and who was not a citizen of a sensitive country shall spend at least one week collaborating at one of the three NNSA Defense Programs National Labs. However, the solicitation also indicated that students and postdocs who were from sensitive countries could still participate in the Center's work but would need to be supported as part of the Applicant's matching funding. The university was able to agree to these conditions, and submitted our pre-proposal accordingly.
The university was encouraged to submit a full proposal; however, the solicitation terms regarding citizenship have changed. Per the terms of the full proposal solicitation, we are now asked to certify that "Every graduate student, who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement, must spend at least one period of ten continuous weeks collaborating at one of the three NNSA Defense Programs National Laboratories. This will be a requirement in the award and must be complied with. (Associated costs must be included in the proposed budget.) NNSA funds may only be used for students who are U.S. citizens or from non-sensitive countries" and "Every research staff member and post doc (funded half-time or greater),who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement, must spend at least one week collaborating at one of three NNSA Defense Programs National Laboratories each year. (Associated costs must be included in the proposed budget.) PSAAP funds may only be used for research staff and post docs who are U.S. citizens or from non-sensitive countries."
The terms of the proposal solicitation, now requiring all staff members and students and not just those from non-sensitive countries to spend time at NNSA labs and removing the language allowing for staff members and students from sensitive countries to participate in the Center's work if supported by Applicant’s matching, is problematic. The university would be unable to agree to this language, as it conflicts with our policy regarding nondiscrimination on the basis of citizenship. Additionally, the eligible applicants for this solicitation are public and state controlled institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education, so those institutions would, more than likely, have the same issue. Please advise if it is acceptable to include the certification submitted by the university with our pre-proposal which reads as follows:
1. Every PhD student, who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement and who is not a citizen of a sensitive county shall spend at least one period ten contiguous weeks collaborating at on the of the three NNSA Defense Programs National Laboratories.
2. Every research staff member and post doc, who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement and who is not a citizen of a sensitive country shall spend at least one week collaborating at one of the three NNSA Defense Programs National Laboratories.
A: Every graduate student, who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement, must spend at least one period of ten continuous weeks collaborating at one of the three NNSA Defense Programs National Laboratories. This will be a requirement in the award and must be complied with. (Associated costs must be included in the proposed budget.) NNSA funds may only be used for students who are U.S. citizens or from non-sensitive countries. However, your university can support students from DOE-listed sensitive countries as part of its 10% costs sharing contribution to the PSAAP Center.)
Every research staff member and post doc (funded half-time or greater),who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement, must spend at least one week collaborating at one of three NNSA Defense Programs National Laboratories each year. (Associated costs must be included in the proposed budget.) PSAAP funds may only be used for research staff and post docs who are U.S. citizens or from non-sensitive countries. However, your university can support research staff members and post docs from DOE-listed sensitive countries as part of its 10% cost sharing contribution to the PSAAP Center.
4.10 Q: We would like to COLLABORATE WITH Dr. X of ONE OF THE NNSA LABORATORIES who was involved in writing one of the PSAAP White papers on areas of interest to the NNSA laboratories. Are we allowed to form such collaborations?
A: Yes. Be sure to abide by the blackout period rules.
4.11 Q: We would like to collaborate at about the 10% budget level with a group at another university that has science or technology that is essential to our planned proposal. It was stated at the Bidders' Meeting, that we could have “SMALL” SUBCONTRACTS. Does the 10% figure fall in that bound?
A: At the Bidders’ Meeting, no specific figure was given about limits on subcontracts. What was discussed was experience with the current PSAAP Centers on multi-university collaboration. It was mentioned that such collaborations can have management and other challenges and that smaller collaborations are more manageable. For MSCs you should establish the team and proposal you think you need to be successful. If multiple universities or other organizations are involved, indicate how such a distributed team will be managed. It seems unlikely that SDC’s would involve multiple universities.
4.12 Q: Can ONE PERSON appear on TWO PROPOSALS?
A: Yes (but s/he potentially risks decreasing the value of his/her contributions). For example, a university might have an interesting experimental facility that could offer validation data to one or more Centers (so that individual and that facility might appear on more than one proposal).
4.13 Q: Can an institution have ONE TEAM THAT IS THE PRIME on one proposal and also have a SEPARATE TEAM AS A SUBCONTRACTOR on another proposal?
A: If your university decides to submit one proposal with one PI and then another group from your university wants to participate as a subcontractor on a proposal from another university with its own PI, that is acceptable. Overlapping people on proposals could devalue their contributions to each proposal.
4.14 Q: What role can NNSA LAB EMPLOYEES play in PSAAP proposed projects?
A: First, as stated in the “Funding Table,” no PSAAP funds can go to support NNSA lab employees for any purpose, even if they have joint appointments of some form. That includes salary, travel or other expenses for their interaction with the center. Second, they can interact on research problems of mutual interest but must not be a formal project team member, e.g. Co-Investigator. However, the lab employee may advise students and postdocs in appropriate forms as part of their expected interactions and in accordance with university policy.
4.15 Q: Does the applicant eligibility requirement exclude SUBCONTRACTORS, where a university can apply as a subcontractor as long as they are only submitting one application as the lead?
A: There is no restriction on subcontracting universities. A university may be lead on one MSC proposal, another SDC proposal and be a subcontractor on other MSC and SDC proposals.
4.16 Q: Can EACH CAMPUS OF A MULTI-CAMPUS UNIVERSITY system submit a SEPARATE PROPOSAL?
4.17 Q: Can a university submit an MSC proposal as well as MULTIPLE SDC proposals?
4.18 Q: We are writing a proposal that will be a collaboration between our University and a number of other institutions. Will we be allowed to SUBCONTRACT WITH OTHER ELIGIBLE REQUIREMENTS using NNSA funds?
A: Please reference the table, within these FAQs, which clarifies who can receive ASC funds for PSAAP.
4.19 Q: When NATIONAL LABORATORY PARTNERSHIP is mentioned, does it imply JUST TRI-LAB OR OTHERS? (e.g., ORNL, ANL)
A: When we say national laboratory partnership, we are referring to the three NNSA Defense Programs labs —Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia—that constitute the Tri-Labs. We distinguish between NNSA DP labs and other DOE labs. See the “Funding Table” in the FAQ above to understand the relationships for subcontracting and funding.
4.20 Q: Section 2.7 on the FOA states “As a general principle, if any person (PI or not) gets the majority of their salary from a DOE laboratory, they would not be allowed to be funded from the project. If they get a majority of their salary from the university they would be allowed."
We would like to clarify the case of a DOE lab employee who has an MLA (multi-location agreement) with the UC system in which they receive more than half their salary from one of the UC campuses. Would this person qualify for funding from the project?
The person in question has a MULTI-LOCATION APPOINTMENT (not assignment). Also they are not allowed to use DOE lab resources for the work done on the MLA paid by the UC campus. They have no NNSA funding or NNSA laboratory appointment…. In all cases, the individual works for the University of California.
A: This person is a DOE lab employee and therefore not eligible for PSAAP support.
4.21 Q: Can PSAAP funds be used to support the summer salary of a US University faculty who is a US PERMANENT RESIDENT but a national of a country from the list of “DOE sensitive countries”? What if the person above is not a US permanent resident? Does that change anything?
A: The prohibition stated in the FOA is focused on students, research staff, and post-docs who must meet the minimum site visit requirements.
4.22 Q: The attached table has been created to help clarify who can receive ASC funds for PSAAP, either as a prime contractor or subcontractor, and who can be formal participants (listed on the proposal), or informal participants, either receiving ASC funds or funds from other sources. The table seems to contradict the Eligible Applicants section of the FOA (Page 14, Section V, Part A). In this FOA it states that a for-profit or non-profit business entity may be a sub contractor providing labor effort for MSC or SDC research - it does NOT indicate that there is a restriction to the subcontractor receiving ASC funds. Please clarify.
To further clarify eligible participants - Does the Non-US University restriction exclude Canadian universities or just those from sensitive countries?
A: The table provides further clarification, as with other FAQs. Only U.S. PhD granting institutions can receive NNSA funds. The for-profit or non-profit entities can be sub-contractors but cannot receive NNSA funds. You may use matching funds to support these sub-contractors.
The restriction on eligible participants does not exclude Canadian students/post-docs who are coming in under a U.S. PhD granting institution (applicant).
5.1 Q: The instructions on the BIOSKETCHES limit this section to 13 pages. Does this include the additional page for the PI's prior and existing 3-6 projects similar in size and scope, for a total of 14 pages? Or, does the 13 pages include the PI's prior and existing projects?
A: the 13 pages include the PI’s prior and existing projects. The application checklist on page 8 summarizes the page limits.
5.2 Q: Should BIOSKETCHES be attached as individual PDFs for each investigator or as a single 13-page PDF (Appendix 2)?
A: The answer to the new question is a single 13 page pdf, with 2 pages per person maximum. It is your responsibility to select a subset of your investigators with the most involvement in your proposal.
5.3 Q: It is not possible to provide all the necessary information required for this section for SENIOR/KEY PERSONNEL (20 investigators) in 13 pages. Please advise.
A: Understanding the challenge in providing bios for all your investigators, please consider the roles of your investigators and select a subset with the most involvement in your proposal and most critical to your effort. Also keep in mind that the projects of interest to this program require an overarching vision and integrated problem.
5.4 Q: Please clarify the following: for SENIOR/KEY PERSONNEL, should their Current & Pending be included in the Bio Sketch or as a separate attachment as represented at the bottom of the R&R Senior/Key Person Profile page?
The FOA states "An additional page (same restrictions) may be used for a list of the PI's prior and EXISTING 3-6 PROJECTS similar in size and scope to PSAAP." Does this refer to the separate attachment and is it applicable to the PIs on our subcontracts?
A: The additional page for the list of the PI's prior and existing 3-6 projects similar in size and scope to PSAAP is separate from the biosketch that is part of the 13 pages.
5.5 Q: We're wondering how the 13 pages are counted; whether the R&R SENIOR/KEY PERSON PROFILE FORM counts in the total 13.
A: The R&R Senior/Key Person profile standard form is separate from the 13 pages on 8.5” by 11” paper with 1 inch margins and Arial font not smaller than 11 point.
5.6 Q: It is not possible to provide all the necessary information required for this section for SENIOR/KEY PERSONNEL (20 investigators) in 13 pages. Please advise.
A: Understanding the challenge in bios for all investigators, please select a subset of your investigators with the most involvement in your proposal and most critical to your effort.
5.7 Q: Please clarify the page limitations for the biosketches. Page 25, under Appendix 2 states "Provide a biographical sketch for the project director/principal investigator and EACH senior/key person listed in Section A on the R&R Budget form." Then further down the page, it states, "Limit the Biographical Sketch to 13 pages." Is this a 13 page limit for ALL biosketches combined or per person and we will provide one 13 page document per person listed in the budget?
A: Limit the biographical sketch to 13 pages total, not per person.
5.8 Q: Appendix 2 discusses the use of the R&R Sr. Key Person Profile Form. How many investigators should we list in this form: Is this only the main PI with the 13 pg. biosketch and 1 pg. existing projects files attached? If we are to list everyone, the Grants.gov form will require an attachment under the biosketch.
A: (Reference FAQs #5.1-5.7) On the Senior Key Personnel Profile Form, list the project director/principal investigator and each senior/key person. Since the biosketch is limited to a total of 13 pages for all personnel, you must select a subset of those individuals that are most involved and critical to your effort. You can have 2 pages per person and an additional page for a list of the PI’s prior and existing projects; the single page list of each PI’s prior and existing projects is separate from the total 13 page count for all personnel.(Back to Top)
6.1 Q: Do the MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS ii and iii surrounding lab visits apply to subcontractors? Do PHD STUDENTS, RESEARCH STAFF AND POSTDOCS (who are US citizens or from non-sensitive countries) supported under subcontracts under this cooperative agreement also have to spend time at a NNSA lab?
A: Yes to both questions. Students, staff and post docs at subcontractor institutions supported with PSAAP funds are subject to the same requirements as those at the lead institution.
6.2 Q: Under MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS LETTER iii, does “every research staff member” include all faculty on the project (ie. PI and Co-Investigators)?
A: Research staff does not include faculty; it is meant to encompass positions such as post-docs or nonfaculty staff hired to work on the effort.
6.3 Q: Regarding the requirement that “every research staff member and post doc (funded half-time or greater), who is financially supported under a resulting cooperative agreement, must spend at least one period of ten continuous weeks collaborating…” We have two questions:
A: (Reference FAQ#6.2)
Faculty, whether or not they are research faculty are not considered “research staff”; it is meant to encompass positions such as post-docs or non-faculty staff hired to work on the effort. “Funding half-time or greater,” refers to funding from PSAAP.
6.4 Q: To whom should we address the Letter of Affirmation of Minimum Qualification Requirements?
A: Address the letter to DOE/NNSA PSAAP II Manager.
7.1 Q: We are considering putting together a Center that would involve modeling from different disciplines, which we believe are potentially of interest to ASC on a broad scale, but they would be at best loosely coupled and not as a whole pointed toward solving a single problem. Would such a Center be of interest to PSAAP and have a chance at winning?
A: One of the central goals of the Centers is to advance the science of simulation-based prediction, which requires among other things validation of the types of complex multidiscipline simulation and modeling that are required by the labs for their science-based Stockpile Stewardship mission. These problems require large, complex, total system models with coupled simulations from several disciplines spanning a broad range of scales in time, space, energy density etc. A Center proposal that does not aim at advancing and validating simulation for such a problem will clearly run the risk of being viewed as not responsive or of less interest.
7.2 Q: With respect to the LIST OF APPLICATIONS THAT ARE EXCLUDED within the reference materials mentioned in the FOA, the laboratories have some mission responsibilities that are excluded. Why are these excluded?
A: It is true that the laboratories are multi-programmatic and have many responsibilities and areas of interest. However, the PSAAP program is supported by the programmatic area responsible for stockpile stewardship and the closer your application is to addressing scientific issues of interest in that domain the greater your likelihood of receiving funding. There are some grey areas and you should feel free to respond to the PSAAP solicitation in a way that provides your strongest proposal.
7.3 Q: On pg. 17, the FOA says that the project narrative should devote 6-10 pages each to the following plans: predictive science, exascale, V&V/UQ and the integrated plan. On pg. 18, the FOA discusses a section on OVERARCHING OR INTEGRATED PROBLEM. Should this be a subsection of one of the four plans? Or should this be its own section (2 pages?)?
A: The overarching or integrated problem should be addressed within the integrated plan section.
7.4 Q: Must there be a single, signature OVERARCHING PROBLEM /INTEGRATED APPLICATION or can there be two or more that are rationally and thematically related?
A: There must be a single overarching problem/application. We are looking for one significant, focused overarching problem/application to drive the work in predictive science, V&V and integrated large scale simulation research leading to exascale.
7.5 Q: Should the SINGLE PROBLEM/APPLICATION address all disciplines that were discussed in the White Papers or Bidders’ Meeting in order to be competitive?
A: There are application areas and there is also a group of “enabling sciences and technologies” that are inherently multidisciplinary. A successful proposal would incorporate a number of the latter but still have its driving focus be a single problem.
7.6 Q: Do you see COMPUTER SCIENCE as SUPPORT OR RESEARCH?
A: It is both. There is computer science infrastructure that is needed to support multidiscipline, multiscale simulation and the associated software engineering. The new component in this program is computer science research to facilitate advancement to effective exascale computing. (See the appropriate white paper at http://www.sandia.gov/ascppc/ReferenceMaterials.html for more detail.)
7.7 Q: As we were preparing our proposal, we were wondering if you could give us a little more GUIDANCE ON THE SOFTWARE PLAN and the following requirement? The software plan must also identify what software must be acquired and from whom it will be acquired (including prior uses and verification levels), or developed and by whom it will be developed. The plan will describe how the acquired third-party software will be supported, maintained, and verified. The Center shall be required to implement, maintain, and update the plan during the project period. Should we list all software, including things like Matlab? Or should we only list non-commercial or non-publicly available software?
A: We do not need a comprehensive list of standard, basic available software. The intent of the request was to get a sense of what special-purpose software (commercial, non-commercial, open-source, etc.) you might need and where you might acquire it. Use your best judgment on what you think is important.
7.8 Q: What is the relative emphasis on CODE DEVELOPMENT VERSUS CODE USAGE? Is it expected that each Center will have one or more codes that they are developing themselves or can a Center focus on using and refining suites of existing codes to create an integrated multidiscipline simulation or for other special needs?
A: The answer depends on your situation and focused application. Where you are on the road to an integrated predictive capability depends on how much effort you have to put into obtaining/developing/using a suite of software to do this versus what you have to create. It depends on what is available to address your problem. Using existing code to the extent possible should be seriously explored. It is unlikely that a Center can start from scratch within the five year timeline. In summary we expect an integrated, scalable, multi-scale, multidiscipline simulation to be used to demonstrate validated
7.9 Q: The FOA on page 17 lists 6-10 pages each (and 32 total at most) for: Predictive science, Exascale, V/V and UQ, and Integration. But in discussing each area, another area is mentioned: that of "Software Execution". Our question is whether or not the Software execution is part of one of the four areas listed, or is it its own section; and if it's a separate section, what are its page limits and does that change the page limits for the other 4 sections?
A: The software execution plan mention on page 18 must be a subsection of the integrated plan page limits mentioned page 17.
7.10 Q: Could you clarify the differences between the requested discussion of software development and integration in the management plan and the integration plan.
A: The Software Plan and Integration Plan referred to under the Mission Areas of Section 5 are directed at the research and development required to demonstrate predictability for the chosen application. The third point listed under the Management Plan is meant to address how the Center would manage the integration of the software plan. Thus they are different topics.
7.11 Q: We are interested in writing a proposal that scientifically fits the MSC criteria (multidisciplinary) but within the scope of the SDC budget. Should we apply as an MSC or SDC? Is it more appropriate to choose the category based on the science or the budget?
A: You may submit a proposal for an MSC at whatever budget level you deem appropriate up to the maximum specified in the FOA
7.12 Q: The FOA indicates (page 17) that 6-10 pages should be devoted to each of the four subsections… is this just a guideline? May we use our judgment in terms of page length for each subsection, as long as we comply with the 32-page limit for this section of the proposal? Or is the minimum for each subsection 6 pages, and the maximum 10 pages?
A: The minimum for each subsection is 6 pages and the maximum is 10 pages.
8.1 Q: Can PSAAP funds be requested to SUPPORT EXPERIMENTS RELATED TO PROPOSED PSAAP ACTIVITIES? How do we deal with this in our proposals?
A: ASC PSAAP proposals can request funds for experimentation. We have not specified a specific limit on the percentage of the funding requested for such activities and will evaluate the request in the context of the total proposal. We would expect that the critical data needed for verification and validation and demonstrating predictive capabilities will likely come from a range of sources: published data; explicitly funded experiments; leveraged partnerships within the academic community, NNSA and other DOE and government laboratories, and industry. Having a credible plan for obtaining the data needed for verification and validation and demonstrating prediction within your chosen application domain, as well as supporting science and engineering will be a key part of the proposal evaluation process.
8.2 Q: Does the UNIVERSITY have to have its OWN EXPERIMENTAL FACILITIES?
A: You do not. You can work with the labs or other organizations to obtain the data you need. You will need to be innovative in obtaining the V&V quality data for your V&V needs.
8.3 Q: Can UNIVERSITIES REQUEST ACCESS TO DOE TEST FACILITIES in order to obtain necessary experimental data?
A: Yes, you can certainly make such a request in your proposal if you don't have any other means to get the needed data. However, it should be recognized that the DOE test facilities are not managed by the NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program and are in extreme demand, so the possibility that ASC can deliver on such a request is very minimal. We will attempt our best to facilitate the dialogue between the proposer and the specific DOE facility sponsor program. In case you wish to make contact with those programs, information on the NNSA Office of Stockpile Stewardship, can be found at http://www.nnsa.doe.gov, and on DOE Office of Science at http://www.sc.doe.gov/.
8.4 Q: “Experiments” as an area is barely mentioned. Which subsection does this belong in?
A: The V&V/UQ section.
9.1 Q: What is the RECOMMENDED START DATE? Are the BUDGET YEARS in 12 month increments or are some budgets different increments?
A: Due to typical continuing resolutions at the beginning of a fiscal year, we can only expect to issue the awards in September 2013. However, this will depend on budget uncertainty and the subsequent availability of funding. For the purpose of filling out the budget sheets and discussing the budget portfolio, you should use “project year 1”, “project year 2”, etc—in 12-month increments.
9.2 Q: In preparing the budget for the PSAAPII program what is the RECOMMENDED STARTING DATE? The FOA says that the awards will be made in 2013, but does not specify a date.
A: The FOA states the first funding year will begin in FY14.
FY14 is October 2013-September 2014.
In the event of a continuing resolution, new project starts are likely to be delayed.
9.3 Q: The AWARD SIZE is up to $4M annually for up to 5 years for a total of $20M. Should we propose a maximum of $4M per year or can we budget less in the initial start up years and more in the later years, perhaps $3.8M, $3.9M, $4M, $4.1M, $4.2M to total $20M?
A: You can budget according to project needs. The budget profile will be evaluated and funds negotiation would occur post-award.
9.4 Q: The current program has had a 5-year duration and new awards are for five years. Is there a plan for RENEWALS BEYOND FIVE YEARS or will it be a completely new competition?
A: A decision will be made as we approach the end of five years as to whether to re-compete. You should focus your proposal on the five-year timeline. Do not propose deliverables in the sixth year.
9.5 Q: Does MATCHING (minimum 10% cost-share) need to be in terms of hard cash resources?
A: Matching must be in terms of accountable dollars. It must be a clear contribution from another funding source. The following are examples of acceptable cost sharing/matching funds:
9.6 Q: CAN TIME ON A SHARED SYSTEM BE COUNTED AS COST SHARE?
A: If it can be established that the computer under discussion for cost sharing is made available to internal and external researchers at a specified cost per hour or other basis such that its cost sharing can be fairly evaluated, then it can be considered as cost sharing.
9.7 Q: What COMPUTER EQUIPMENT can be CONSIDERED COST SHARING?
A: A cluster purchased within the timeframe of this contract can be considered cost sharing if it is dedicated to this contract. Workstations, laptops, desktop systems for individual staff, students and faculty cannot be considered cost sharing.
9.8 Q: 1) My college has a large laser facility at which we plan to perform experiments to obtain validation data. May we count a portion of the NORMAL OPERATING COSTS TOWARD THE COST SHARING? 2) My college is going to contribute $20K from internal sources toward a subcontract to another institution. Normally we would charge 54% IDC on this amount if the source of funds were an external grant. Can we count this IDC AMOUNT AS COST SHARING even though the source of funds is internal?
A: You may count operating costs towards cost sharing so long as they are based on the actual time used for the experiment. For a subcontract funded with internal funds, you may count only the face value of the subcontract as matching; you may not count waived overhead on such funds.
9.9 Q: Will the 10% COST SHARE apply to each institution on a multi-institution proposal?
A: The 10% requirement will apply to the Center as a whole. For example, if the award is for $3.8M per year, the cost share will be $380K. How this is distributed among the participating institutions is up to you, but the lead institution will be responsible for assuring that the requirement is met.
A: If the amount requested from NNSA as total project budget is $20M, is the COST SHARE in addition to the total project budget or must the total project budget include the 10% cost share.
A: The cost share of 10% is in addition to the total project budget, resulting in total costs of $22m
9.10 Q: Must the COST SHARING equal 10% of each yearly total? Or can equipment be purchased as cost sharing in year 1 that equals 10% of the total budget (all five years)?
A: Cost sharing does not have to match each yearly total in a particular year. Accelerated cost sharing is acceptable; however, deferred cost sharing if it is significant, is not acceptable. Equipment purchased in the first year may be used as accelerated cost sharing as long as the amount claimed represents the fraction of the purchase price that is devoted to PSAAP research. Thus if you pay $1M for a cluster, 50% of which is for PSAAP, you may claim $500K in cost sharing.
9.11 Q: Is COST SHARING limited to 10%.
A: No. Cost sharing above the 10% level is welcome.
9.12 Q: This question concerns COST-SHARING COMMITMENTS from universities that we propose to fund as subcontractors using PSAAP funds. The FOA appears to have no requirement for us to submit signed letters from these sub-contractors explaining in detail how they commit to meet their cost-sharing obligations. Are such letters required?
A: The winning applicant/university will be the responsible party for the contribution of 10% cost matching since we will consider the said university to be our main “contractor”. You may use funds from any source, but you as the contractor are responsible for assuring that the matching funds requirement is met. We don't directly deal with or manage your sub-contractors, so in your case, your university is the only party responsible for assuring that the FULL 10% cost sharing commitment is met.
9.13 Q: We are considering offering a SUBCONTRACT TO A FOR-PROFIT COMPANY, which we would fund via our cost-sharing contribution. If that company is additionally able to match funds (using monies from another source), can the amount by which they match be counted towards the overall required 10% cost match?
A: Yes BUT we can and will only count what your university can officially commit to us, since whatever the arrangements your university and your subcontractor have with each other is not within our control. Funds from other sources may be used, but your university is responsible for seeing that the matching requirement is met. You are right in indicating that no NNSA PSAAP funds can be transferred to for-profit corporations.
9.14 Q: Regarding the 10% matching funds. The Program Announcement DE-FOA-0000728 states on page 15: "The lead institution will be responsible for the cost sharing contributions under this award". However the FOA.html form states: "The 10% requirement will apply to the Center as a whole.....How this is distributed among the participating institutions is up to you, but the lead institution will be responsible for assuring that the requirement is met."
There appears to be a discrepancy between these two statements can you please clarify whether some of the COST SHARING could come from an institution listed as a SUBAWARDEE?
A: Who contributes to the cost sharing form the subawardees and how much they contribute is up to the lead institution. It is the responsibility of the lead institution to meet the cost sharing requirement and associated reporting requirements.
9.15 Q Does Academic Year support count towards the 10% mandatory cost sharing on the PSAAP II proposal?
A: Interpreting the question as “if the university provides support for the academic year, i.e. September to May, does this count as part of the 10% matching?” The answer is yes IF the support "buys" the individual out of other academic responsibilities e.g. foregoing teaching a class in order to spend more time on the research of the center.
10.1 Q: Could you provide additional guidance on the difference between the facilities section in the PROPOSED CENTER RESOURCES section of the Project Narrative and the FACILITIES up to the lead institution. It is the responsibility of the lead institution to meet the cost sharing requirement and associated reporting requirements.
A: In the Proposed Center Resources section under Management Collaboration and Education plans, meet the prose requirements and include the discussion in your project narrative as specified. You may include all of your information with reference to facilities in this section of the project narrative. The facilities appendix 4 is a placeholder (field 10) on the R&R Other Project Information Form should you required additional space to elaborate on proposed center resources. In both areas, you should list the facilities you expect to use identifying which are existing resources vs. requested through NNSA funds. Note that the optional FOA Attachment B refers to equipment to be purchased, allowing you to document the source of your equipment quotes.
10.2 Q: What happens to EQUIPMENT PURCHASED with NNSA-funds at the end of the PSAAP engagement?
A: Per 10 CFR 600, equipment acquired by a recipient with Federal funds will vest in the recipient subject to the conditions below. There are also some new requirements for acquired electronic equipment; these are currently in discussion within the NNSA acquisition office. Note that there are regular equipment reporting requirements. There are differences between equipment acquired by a recipient with federal funds vs. equipment acquired for a recipient by the government. These are addressed in the conditions below. Finally, condition (h) below indicates DOE’s right to transfer the title to the Federal Government or a third party at the end of the project.
(a) Title to equipment acquired by a recipient with Federal funds shall vest in the recipient, subject to conditions of this section.
(b) The recipient shall not use equipment acquired with Federal funds to provide services to non-Federal outside organizations for a fee that is less than private companies charge for equivalent services, unless specifically authorized by Federal statute, for as long as the Federal Government retains an interest in the equipment.
(c) The recipient shall use the equipment in the project or program for which it was acquired as long as needed, whether or not the project or program continues to be supported by Federal funds and shall not encumber the property without approval of DOE. When no longer needed for the original project or program, the recipient shall use the equipment in connection with its other federally-sponsored activities, in the following order of priority:
(1) Activities sponsored by DOE, then
(2) Activities sponsored by other Federal agencies.
(d) During the time that equipment is used on the project or program for which it was acquired, the recipient shall make it available for use on other projects or programs if such other use will not interfere with the work on the project or program for which the equipment was originally acquired. First preference for such other use shall be given to other projects or programs sponsored by DOE that financed the equipment; second preference shall be given to projects or programs sponsored by other Federal awarding agencies. If the equipment is owned by the Federal Government, use on other activities not sponsored by the Federal Government shall be permissible if authorized by DOE. User charges shall be treated as program income.
(e) When acquiring replacement equipment, the recipient may use the equipment to be replaced as trade-in or sell the equipment and use the proceeds to offset the costs of the replacement equipment subject to the approval of DOE.
(f) The recipient's property management standards for equipment acquired with Federal funds and federally-owned equipment shall include all of the following.
(1) Equipment records shall be maintained accurately and shall include the following information.
(i) A description of the equipment.
(ii) Manufacturer's serial number, model number, Federal stock number, national stock number, or other identification number.
(iii) Source of the equipment, including the award number.
(iv) Whether title vests in the recipient or the Federal Government.
(v) Acquisition date (or date received, if the equipment was furnished by the Federal Government) and cost.
(vi) Information from which one can calculate the percentage of Federal participation in the cost of the equipment (not applicable to equipment furnished by the Federal Government).
(vii) Location and condition of the equipment and the date the information was reported.
(viii) Unit acquisition cost.
(ix) Ultimate disposition data, including date of disposal and sales price or the method used to determine current fair market value where a recipient compensates DOE for its share.
(2) Equipment owned by the Federal Government shall be identified to indicate Federal ownership.
(3) A physical inventory of equipment shall be taken and the results reconciled with the equipment records at least once every two years. Any differences between quantities determined by the physical inspection and those shown in the accounting records shall be investigated to determine the causes of the difference. The recipient shall, in connection with the inventory, verify the existence, current utilization, and continued need for the equipment.
(4) A control system shall be in effect to insure adequate safeguards to prevent loss, damage, or theft of the equipment. Any loss, damage, or theft of equipment shall be investigated and fully documented; if the equipment was owned by the Federal Government, the recipient shall promptly notify DOE.
(5) Adequate maintenance procedures shall be implemented to keep the equipment in good condition.
(6) Where the recipient is authorized or required to sell the equipment, proper sales procedures shall be established which provide for competition to the extent practicable and result in the highest possible return.
(g) When the recipient no longer needs the equipment, the equipment may be used for other activities in accordance with the following standards. Equipment with a current per-unit fair market value of less than $5000 may be retained, sold or otherwise disposed of with no further obligation to the awarding agency. For equipment with a current per unit fair market value of $5000 or more, the recipient may retain the equipment for other uses provided that compensation is made to the original Federal awarding agency or its successor. The amount of compensation shall be computed by applying the percentage of Federal participation in the cost of the original project or program to the current fair market value of the equipment. If the recipient has no need for the equipment, the recipient shall request disposition instructions from DOE. DOE shall determine whether the equipment can be used to meet DOE's requirements. If no requirement exists within DOE, the availability of the equipment shall be reported to the General Services Administration by DOE to determine whether a requirement for the equipment exists in other Federal agencies. DOE will issue instructions to the recipient no later than 120 calendar days after the recipient's request and the following procedures shall govern.
(1) If so instructed or if disposition instructions are not issued within 120 calendar days after the recipient's request, the recipient shall sell the equipment and reimburse DOE an amount computed by applying to the sales proceeds the percentage of Federal participation in the cost of the original project or program. However, the recipient shall be permitted to deduct and retain from the Federal share $500 or ten percent of the proceeds, whichever is less, for the recipient's selling and handling expenses.
(2) If the recipient is instructed to ship the equipment elsewhere, the recipient shall be reimbursed by the Federal Government by an amount which is computed by applying the percentage of the recipient's participation in the cost of the original project or program to the current fair market value of the equipment, plus any reasonable shipping or interim storage costs incurred.
(3) If the recipient is instructed to otherwise dispose of the equipment, the recipient shall be reimbursed by DOE for such costs incurred in its disposition.
(h) DOE reserves the right, at the end of a project, to transfer the title to the Federal Government or to a third party named by DOE when such third party is otherwise eligible under existing statutes. Such transfer shall be subject to the following standards.
(1) The equipment shall be appropriately identified in the award or otherwise made known to the recipient in writing.
(2) DOE shall issue disposition instructions within 120 calendar days after receipt of a final inventory. The final inventory shall list all equipment acquired with award funds and federally-owned equipment. If DOE fails to issue disposition instructions within the 120 calendar day period, the provisions of §600.134(g)(1) apply.
(3) When DOE exercises its right to take title, the equipment shall be subject to the provisions for federally-owned equipment
10. 3 Q: For our planning purposes, WHAT COMPUTER RESOURCES WILL LIKELY BE AVAILABLE to PSAAP Centers during the expected contract period, and how many processors must our simulations effectively scale to?
A: The answer can be framed in terms of experience with the current Centers as well as ASC Tri-lab plans (LANL, LLNL, SNL). It must be recognized that due to available funding and other factors, there is uncertainty about which architectures and computing power will be available and when. The Centers will be granted access to unclassified systems only. With the current program, we have examples of runs using over 10M processor hours on the IBM BG/L system when it was in the Open partition at LLNL. Currently, we have teraflopsystems in the Open partitions. During the period of the PSAAP cooperative agreements (end of the award period / FY17-FY18), we hope to have a Closed platform supporting computing in the 100 petascale size. The total number of processors available will depend on the actual architecture of the selected systems, but we would expect 10K-100K multi-core, heterogeneous processors may be available. Thus, simulations could be planned to scale to potentially take advantage of such numbers and types of processors. However, the fraction available to this program could be expected to be a significant portion of a 50TF allocation in the Open.
10.4 Q I noticed in the FOA for PSAAP II the following Question and Answer:
“Q: What happens to EQUIPMENT PURCHASED with NNSA-funds at the end of the PSAAP engagement? A: Equipment purchased with NNSA-funds belongs to the government and must be returned at the end of year 5.”
However, reading the solicitation it was not clear that the equipment would be government owned (ref page 27), can you please confirm for PSAAP II that equipment will be government owned which affects whether we include sales tax in our budget?
A: Equipment will be government owned if it is acquired by the government for the recipient. If recipient acquires the equipment with government funds, please see the updated FAQ# 10.4.
11.1 Q: There was a recent (April 2012) ASC/ASCR WORKSHOP ON EXASCALE. Is there information we should consider from that workshop in writing our proposals?
A: Reference materials from the workshop have been posted here: http://www.sandia.gov/ascppc/ReferenceMaterials.html
11.2 Q: Can we submit a RESPONSE TO THE PSAAP SOLICITATION without having participated in the preliminary activities such as the Bidders’ Meeting or having submitted a response to the RFI?
A: Yes. You may respond to the solicitation even if you did not attend the Bidders Meeting, did not respond to the RFI, or received negative feedback to the response to the RFI that you did submit. The purpose of the preliminary activities was to provide information and feedback that would assist in the preparation of a submission. Keep in mind that you are likely to be at a significant disadvantage compared to institutions that did participate in the earlier activities. This disadvantage results because of the stringent requirements of PSAAP to create and demonstrate an ASC-program-relevant, overarching, verified and validated predictive simulation capability, as well as meet other criteria described in the solicitation. In fact, not every institution that did respond to the RFI was encouraged to proceed in pursuing PSAAP funding, because of shortcomings in their proposed plan or their capabilities as identified by the PSAAP RFI review committee. Thus it is important for you to assess carefully your capabilities and interactions with the PSAAP process to date before investing the time that will be needed to produce a competitive application.
11.3 Q: If we submitted a pre-proposal for an MSC and were invited to submit a full proposal, would NNSA have ONLY SELECTED ONE FROM A SINGLE INSTITION for a full proposal?
A: During the RFI technical merit review, NNSA did not down-select within institutions as this was not an evaluation factor for the RFI. (Please confirm).
11.4 Q: Our references will exceed the 3-page limit indicated in the checklist on page 8 of the FOA. How shall we decide which references to exclude to comply with the page limitation, given that the exclusion of references cited is usually considered plagiarism?
A: Please include only the most important comprehensive references, and then make the full reference list available on a separate web site. Reviewers will not look at that web site, but it will be available so the authors can protect themselves against charges of plagiarism.(Back to Top)