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Mosul University Linkage Program - Request for Proposals
 

U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Public Affairs Section -

Program Office:   Office of Cultural Affairs of the Public Affairs Section (PAS)

Funding Opportunity Title: Mosul University Linkage Program

Funding Opportunity ID: DSPAS-CAO-12-003

Announcement Type:   Cooperative Agreement

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number:  19.021

Date Open:    July 11, 2012

Deadline for Applications:  August 11, 2012

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility is limited to U.S institutions of higher education (universities and colleges).

Cost Sharing or Matching

There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition.  However, PAS encourages cost sharing, contributions in-kind, and other forms of cost participation.

When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved agreement.  Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.  For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government.  Such records are subject to audit.  The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110 (Revised), subpart C.23—Cost Sharing and Matching.  In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, PAS’s contribution will be reduced in like proportion.

Other Special Eligibility Criteria

Not Applicable. 

CONTACT INFORMATION

For assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, at:

Email: BaghdadPDgrants@state.gov

I.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is pleased to announce an open competition for an assistance award through this Request for Proposals (RFP). The U.S. Embassy invites U.S. institutions of higher education (universities and colleges) to submit an 8-page proposal (maximum) for a University Linkage Program (ULP) with Mosul University’s Archaeology Department, a detailed budget breakdown and a tentative two-year timeline of activities. The Embassy will have approximately $700,000.00 available to award to one (1) cooperative agreement to carry out the activities described below.

II. BACKGROUND

For many years, Iraq enjoyed a long and proud tradition of international universities excavating archaeological sites side-by-side with Iraq’s antiquities authorities. However, wars, isolation, and international sanctions over the past three decades have severely damaged both Iraq’s capacity in the field of cultural heritage preservation and its connections to the relevant international community of experts.

The Government of Iraq (GoI) recognizes that enormous challenges lie ahead and is committed to rebuilding its professional relationships with foreign universities and improving the skills of its cultural heritage subject matter experts. Iraqi policy-makers, administrators, and antiquities experts view linkages with the West, particularly the U.S., as a way to expedite the process of rebuilding the skills of domestic specialists, and reconnecting on a professional level with international experts.

The governments of Iraq and the United States, through the Strategic Framework Agreement between our countries, are jointly committed to promoting efforts and contributions to preserve Iraqi cultural heritage and protecting its archeological resources.

Mosul University has a long tradition in archaeological education and excavation. Its current four-year undergraduate archaeology program focuses primarily on the archaeological cultures of Iraq and the surrounding region, and the ancient writing systems of Iraq.

Objectives

PAS Baghdad will competitively award a two-year cooperative agreement to one U.S. institution of higher education (college or university) to serve as the implementing partner and manage the program during the length of the grant. Throughout the duration of this award, PAS Baghdad will consult with the implementing organization and will assist in policy coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education and Mosul University. The implementing organization will be expected to operate with programmatic and administrative independence and self-sufficiency throughout the duration of the project, including:

  1. Conducting a team visit to Erbil or Mosul immediately after the award of the cooperative agreement to consult with Iraqi counterparts and with PAS Baghdad, assess opportunities for cooperative activities and develop a plan of action.
  2. Negotiating an MOU between the implementing U.S. organization and Mosul University to develop a substantive and relevant linkage to benefit both institutions.
  3. Managing this university partnership over the next two years to develop capacity building within the Mosul University Archaeology Department, promote the implementation of the Strategic Framework Agreement, and to ensure a durable and independent relationship between the U.S. and Iraqi institutions of higher education. 
  4. Increasing the knowledge base and develop the skills of highly selective Mosul University faculty and students.
  5. Assisting with curriculum review and provide real-time digital video conference instruction.
  6. Conducting regular evaluations of progress of the project and submitting them to PAS Baghdad on a schedule determined in the grant agreement.
  7. Submitting periodic financial and activity reports on a schedule determined in the grant agreement.

Goals and Funding Priorities

The ULP will assist Iraqis with curriculum review of certain subject matters, introduce them to the latest teaching techniques and educational technologies (including delivery of instruction over DVC), include some highly selective faculty/student exchanges, and will maximize connections between the heritage and academic sectors in Iraq to better serve its academic and public constituencies.

This project will promote mutual understanding and increase cultural heritage preservation cooperation between the U.S. and Iraq. Although many Iraqis believe they know the U.S. well, their understanding of the U.S. political, social, and cultural landscape is often superficial. The same may be said concerning the depth of understanding of Iraq and Iraqis in the U.S. By promoting substantive and long-term connections between U.S. and Iraqi organizations addressing cultural heritage preservation needs, this project will inevitably build greater and deeper understanding in both communities and will benefit the strategic relationship between the two countries.

The impact of the project in Iraq will go beyond its influence on the cultural heritage community. Cultural heritage has the potential to be an important pillar in the process of rebuilding civil society in Iraq. Higher education, economic development, and tourism promotion can all be impacted by cultural heritage issues. And each of these areas can contribute to resolving the country’s political, social, and economic problems as well as promote democratic principles of governance.

PAS Baghdad has identified the following three priority areas of engagement for the ULP. This list is intended to guide bidding institutions in their conceptualization of their proposals:

  1. Curriculum Review: Iraqi officials readily acknowledge that the teaching curriculum for archaeology needs to be reviewed and revised. In addition to revising the content of courses and updating degree requirements, the curriculum review process will also include recommendations for rebuilding library and research collections in archaeological areas.
  2. Real-time Instruction via Internet or DVC: Iraqi administrators, faculty and students are extremely interested in creating opportunities for Iraqi and U.S. students to be connected via DVC technologies and to take courses together. Mosul University already has DVC capability. The Internet or DVC courses will be taught by professors in the U.S.
  3. Faculty, Staff and Student Exchanges: On a highly selective basis, this award will support carefully defined short-term exchanges of faculty, staff and students between the Iraqi and U.S. universities. The exchanges will be focused specifically on the objectives of the project and should not duplicate other exchange programs.

PAS Baghdad envisions that the university linkage with Mosul University’s Archaeology Department will focus on current archaeological field methodology, covering the gamut of methodologies from the macro levels of landscape archaeology and regional survey to the micro levels of household archaeology and micro-sample analysis. Well-qualified applicants will have strong academic programs in archaeological field methodologies and a demonstrated record of archaeological fieldwork practice and publication. Areas to be addressed in the ULP may include but are not limited to:

  • using computers in archaeology
  • field and surface survey
  • identification and documentation of sites and site boundaries
  • mapping technologies
  • excavation tools and techniques
  • excavation documentation
  • archaeological publication
  • remote sensing and GIS in archaeology
  • 2-D and 3-D drawing and imaging technologies
  • paleoethnobotany
  • zooarchaeology
  • ceramic seriation and analysis
  • microarchaeology
  • carbon sampling and dating technologies
  • metallurgy
  • lithic analysis
  • site protection and preservation
  • field conservation of in-situ features, artifacts, and samples
  • strategies in rescue archaeology
  • tourism management


Mosul project activities can be held at Mosul University. Erbil project activities can be held at facilities owned by U.S. Consulate General Erbil, so no costs to rent space will be involved, or at another venue in Erbil.  All facilities must be able to provide basic technology (computer, data show) and tables/chairs.

III. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility is open to U.S. institutions of higher education (universities and colleges).  Applicants must be able to travel to and provide services in Mosul and/or Erbil.

Applicants are not required to include funding from other donors.  However, applications that include additional in-kind and/or cash contributions from non-U.S. Government sources will be more competitive, since cost-sharing demonstrates a strong commitment to the planned activities and will be considered to show great cost effectiveness.

All potential applicants should be able to provide services and support in Mosul and/or Erbil and work with participants in Arabic and English, handle financial transactions and maintain accurate records, order and secure materials from within Iraq and abroad, and provide online support in English for participant registration and administration.

Additional Information on Eligibility: All Federal assistance recipients must have a Dun & Bradstreet Number and a CCR (CAGE) number prior to funds disbursement. A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or requesting on-line at http://www.dnb.com

Additional Information:

Special Provision for Performance in a Designated Combat Area:  All Recipient personnel deploying to areas of combat operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense (currently Iraq and Afghanistan), under assistance awards over $100,000 or performance over 30 days must register in the Department of Defense maintained Synchronized Pre-deployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) system. Recipients of federal assistance awards shall register in SPOT before deployment, or if already in the designated operational area, register upon becoming an employee under the assistance award, and maintain current data in SPOT.  Information on how to register in SPOT will be available from your Grants Officer or Grants Officer Representative during the final negotiation and approval stages in the federal assistance awards process.


IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Award Period:    24 months

Award Amount:  $700,000.00 is available for this cooperative agreement
Anticipated Total Program Funding:  $700,000.00

Anticipated Number of Awards:  One

PAS reserves the right to award less or more than the funds described in the absence of worthy applications or under such other circumstances as PAS may deem to be in the best interest of the U.S. Government.

Application Submission Process:  Applicants must use the attached fillable grant application form (original form in PDF format 107kb) and submit proposals electronically to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad at BaghdadPDgrants@state.gov.   For questions about this solicitation, contact the same email address.

Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted on or before August 11, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Iraq time.  Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will be ineligible for consideration.  Begin the application process early, as this will allow time to address any technical difficulties that may arise in advance of the deadline.  There will be no exceptions to this application deadline.

Application Content:  Applicants must follow the RFP instructions and conditions contained herein and supply all information required.  Failure to furnish all information or comply with stated requirements will result in disqualification from the competition.  Applicants must set forth full, accurate, and complete information as required by this RFP.  The penalty for making false statements in proposals to the USG is prescribed on 18 U.S.C.1001.

The proposals may not exceed 8 pages in 12-point, Times New Roman font.  This requirement excludes the allowable appendices, which are identified in Section 4 below.  The proposal must consist of the following:

Section 1 – Project Goals/Implementation Plan: 
The proposed activities should be described in sufficient detail to show how objectives and goals will be met.  This section should also describe how success will be measured via performance indicators and provide milestones to indicate progress toward RFP-stipulated goals. 

Section 2 - Organizational Capability: 
Applications must include a clear description of the applicant’s management structure and experience and background in the country/region as these relate to the proposed activities.  Besides information about the organization as a whole, this section must also identify the proposed management structure and staffing plan for the proposed project.  The organization should show that it has expertise in archaeological field methodologies and demonstrate the ability to perform the proposed activities.  Where partners are described, the applicant details each partner’s respective role and provides CVs for persons responsible for the project and financial administration.  Each key person responsible for the proposed project and its financial administration should be listed.

Section 3 - Appendices: 
The proposal submission must include two appendices, with a third, optional appendix to be submitted at the discretion of the applicant.  Only the appendices listed below may be included as part of the application: 

(a) Budget (Required) – the budget must identify the total amount of funding requested, with a breakdown of amounts to be spent in the following budget categories: personnel; fringe benefits; travel; equipment; supplies; consultants/contracts; other direct costs; indirect costs and cost-share.

(b) Resumé (Required) – a resumé, not to exceed 1 page in length, must be included for the proposed key staff people, such as the Project Director.  If the individual for these types of positions have not been identified, the applicant may submit a 1-page position description, identifying the qualifications and skills required for that position, in lieu of a resume.

V. AWARD SELECTION CRITERIA

Evaluation Criteria:  Applicants should note that the following criteria (1) serve as a standard against which all proposals will be evaluated, and (2) serve to identify the significant matters that should be addressed in all proposals.  The USG will award grants to the applicants whose offers represent the best value to the USG on the basis of technical merit and cost.

Each application will be evaluated by a peer review committee of Department of State and U.S. Embassy Baghdad and other experts, as deemed appropriate. 

  1. Introduction and project justification (Points Awarded 0-15):
    a. Overview of the project, including background of the project
    b. Significance of the project
  2. Project Goals and Objective (Points Awarded 0-25)
    a. Overview of the goals and objectives of the project
    b. How do objectives lead to the overall goal of the project 
    c. How are the project activities relevant in order to achieve the objectives
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (Points Awarded 0-15)
    a. How is the M&E planned in order to keep on track with the program and achieve the objective
  4. Organizational Capability (Points Awarded 0-20)
    a. Expertise of the organization in the specific project area
    b. Is the organization involved in implementing other projects funded by the U.S. Government 
  5. Budget (Points Awarded 0-15)
    a. Accurate, reasonable and well-justified
  6. Key Personnel (Points Awarded 0-5)
    a. Competency of the staff involved in the project implementation
  7. Cost Sharing (Points Awarded 0-5)
    a. Always encouraged for organizations in order to see the level of commitment

VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Award Notices:  The grant shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer.  The Grants Officer is the Government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants and cooperative agreements.  The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the Recipient through either mail or facsimile transmission.  Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing.

Anticipated Time to Award:  Applicants should expect to be notified of the recommended proposal within 30 days after the submission deadline.  U.S. Embassy staff will provide information at the point of notification, which may include revisions to the activities. 

Issuance of this RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government, nor does it commit the Government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals.  Further, the Government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

VII. DISCLAIMER

If a proposal is selected for funding, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with the award.  Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of the Embassy.