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Questions and Answers about Competition for Regions 3 and 10

Unrecovered Indirect Costs  (1/27/2014)
Question:  Would be possible to use the unrecovered indirect costs from our matching funds as a portion of the match requirement?  Essentially, the indirect that we would not be requesting on our matching funds; could those funds be used as a portion of our matching requirement?
Answer:  The UTC Program does accept unrecovered indirect costs as match.

Follow-Up on Four-Year Plan  (1/21/2014)
Question:  Based on $2.59 million in federal funds, we believe the most effective workplan for our Center would be a two-year plan, commencing as soon as we receive funds,  presumably sometime this spring.  As we read the solicitation, such a two-year plan is permissible, since the requirement is simply that the grant be completely spent by September 2017.  Should the additional $2.59 million become available, we would use it in 2016 and 2017, but even if it does not become available, we will have completed what we consider a well-conceived workplan.  Is this acceptable?
Answer:  As noted on p. 16 of the Solicitation, the proposal submitted by an applicant that is selected for funding will serve as the strategic plan for that center; this proposal will serve as the strategic plan for the funds awarded over an approximately four-year period, from the award date up until September 30, 2017, including $2,592,500 from Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funds and an approximately equal, additional amount from FY 2014 funds if available plus the required non-Federal matching funds. For that reason, it needs to be complete in its representation of all the work you propose to do under the grant over its full life. There will not be an opportunity to revise the proposal/strategic plan during the life of the grant.

You are correct that the Solicitation does not forbid the submission of a (using your word) workplan that covers two years instead of the longer period allowed, but submitting a workplan that, as your previous e-mail stated, references the later years of the grant as a "general statement" of how you would proceed would seem to give RITA, the reviewers, and the selecting official in this competition incomplete information about your proposed center.

Four-Year Center Budget Plan  (1/16/2014)
Question:  The solicitation requires a budget for $2,592,500 and notes that an additional, similar amount will be provided in 2014 if available.  Obviously a four year plan with $5,185,000 in federal money would be a different plan from a four-year plan with $2,592,500 in federal money; should we prepare a two-year plan based on $2,592,500 of federal money, with a general statement of how we would proceed in years 3 and 4 should we receive the additional $2,592,500?
Answer:  We understand your question to be referring to the preparation of the Center Budget Plan, rather than to your “plans” for the activities and research that you will be discussing in the narrative portions of the Prospectus.  The Center Budget Plan portion of applications under this competition is designed as it is because, for legal and procedural reasons, RITA cannot approve a budget for an amount of money that is larger than what is actually available at the time of approval.  Because we will not have the second increment of funding available when we award the first increment to the applicants that are selected through the Regions 3 and 10 competition, we need to ask you to prepare the budget to cover the full 4/1/2014 – 9/30/2017 period but reflecting only the $2,592,500 Federal plus at least $2,592,500 match. If the second increment does indeed become available, then RITA will ask you to revise the budget when the second increment is awarded.

Consortium-Member Funds to be Allocated and Matched in Future  (1/16/2014)
Question:  Our consortium will allocated some “base” funds to the individual schools in our consortium that each will match; additional funding will go to each school following competitive selection of projects that must also be matched.  How do we document in the proposal the match on the additional funding?
Answer:  The budget portion of your application must reflect the full award amount plus the full match in order to document that you understand the dollar-for-dollar requirement and intend to meet it.  Although we understand that some of the funds would not be allocated/provided until later, for purposes of your application you need to estimate how the full amounts of both the Federal and matching funds might be distributed across your consortium partners and present it to us that way -- a separate sub-budget reflecting "to be allocated" funds would not be acceptable.

Consortium Member on More than One Region 3 (or 10) Application  (12/11/2013)
Question:  Can a university be a consortium member on more than one application to be submitted for the Region 3 UTC?
Answer:  Yes, and this response applies to applications for either the Region 3 or Region 10 UTC grant.  On a related manner, you will want to be sure that your university does not have a conflict with the statutory restrictions on receiving multiple UTC grants [see Part I.F of the Regions 3 and 10 Solicitation (http://www.rita.dot.gov/utc/grants/2013_region_3_10), the list of recently-selected UTC grantees (http://www.rita.dot.gov/utc/about/grant_recipients/html/2013_grant_recipients.html), and the related Q&A below about the statutory restrictions].

Timing of Regions 3 and 10 Competition  (10/21/2013)
Question:  When does USDOT expect to begin this competition?
Answer:  RITA is preparing the solicitation for the upcoming competition now, and as yet no target date has been set for its release.  The solicitation will be released through Grants.gov and posted on the UTC Program website.

Statutory Restrictions on Receipt of UTC Grants  (10/21/2013)
Question:  Will the statutory restrictions discussed in the December 2012 Solicitation for the competition just completed apply to the new competition for Regions 3 and 10?  If so, can my university drop out of a winning UTC’s consortium in order to eliminate a violation with the restrictions on the new competition?
Answer:  The statutory restrictions apply to both the recently announced UTC grants and the Region 3 and 10 grants to be competed soon.  Because USDOT’s selection of the 33 successful UTCs recently announced (http://www.rita.dot.gov/utc/about/grant_recipients/html/2013_grant_recipients.html) was based on the available resources and planned activities proposed by all of the institutions participating in that UTC, institutions may not drop out of one of those UTCs in order to compete and avoid the statutory restrictions in the upcoming competition for Regions 3 and 10 grants.

Changes in Consortium Member on Previous Region 3 or 10 Applications  (10/21/2013)
Question:  According to the USDOT UTC award announcement on 09/26, the regional UTC of region 3 was not awarded and a re-competition will be open in the fall. My university is in this region, and we are interested in this re-competition. Is USDOT going to accept new regional UTC proposals in this re-competition? Can universities in one regional UTC proposal submitted in March back out from the original proposal and join another proposal in this re-competition?
Answer:  The upcoming competition for the Regions 3 and 10 UTC grants is being held for the purpose of soliciting new applications from institutions located in those regions.  This competition will start from scratch.  Applications previously submitted for those grants under the December 2012 UTC Program Grant Solicitation but not selected for funding, including the membership of any proposed consortia on those applications, will have no bearing on the upcoming competition.  Applications previously submitted will not be utilized, only new applications will be considered for funding.