"Pain/Symptom Research Training Software"

Request for Proposal No.: NIH-NHLBI-DR-98-23
Issue Date: April 22, 1998
Issued By: Robert A. Julia, Contracting Officer
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Contracts Operations Branch, DEA
Rockledge 2, Room 6110

BETHESDA MD 20892-7902

Purchase Authority: Public Law 95-83, as amended
Small Business Set-Aside: Yes, SIC Code 7371
Proposal Due Date: June 5, 1998, 4:30 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time)

After reviewing this Request For Proposal, you may return to:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is soliciting proposals on behalf of the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) for services to obtain an interactive personal computer- and web-based textbook to train clinicians to do research on the assessment and treatment of symptoms of medical and dental diseases. This Streamlined Technical Request For Proposal (RFP) consists of this combined solicitation form and cover letter (PART A), and three additional components, as follows:

  1. Work Statement;
  2. Reports/Deliverables;
  3. Additional Requirements;
  4. Evaluation Factors for Award, including Technical Evaluation Criteria;

These components contain the technical information required for the submission of a proposal for this acquisition. In addition, there are two other sections in this specific RFP. The section entitled "Specific RFP Instructions and Provisions" contains, for example, the proposal intent response form and the address for delivery of your proposal. The section entitled "Applicable RFP References" lists those items in the STREAMLINED RFP REFERENCES directory that apply to this RFP, including forms for submission of the proposal.

Although these documents contain sufficient information for you or your organization to submit a proposal, if you intend to submit a proposal in response to this RFP, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY Robert A. Julia, CONTRACTING OFFICER, AT THE FOLLOWING INTERNET ADDRESS:


If you do not notify the contracting office of your intent to submit a proposal, you will not receive an individual notice of any amendments to the RFP, if any are issued. However, all amendments will be posted on the NIH web site.

The original and twenty-five (25) copies of your technical proposal and the original and six (6) copies of your business proposal must be received by the Contracting Office no later than June 5, 1998, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at the address listed in the item entitled "Packaging and Delivery of Proposals." Also, please complete the form entitled "Proposal Intent Response Sheet" and send it to the address indicated therein on or before May 6, 1998. This will allow us to expedite preparations for the technical review of proposals. Finally, your proposal must be organized and submitted in accordance with the "Technical Proposal Table of Contents." All three of these items are found under the "Specific RFP Instructions and Provisions" portion of this RFP, which follows the technical evaluation criteria section.

You are reminded that the "Technical Proposal Cover Sheet" must be completed in full detail and used as the cover sheet for each copy of your technical proposal. (This form is contained in this NIH WEB site under the FORMS, FORMATS, AND ATTACHMENTS file found in STREAMLINED RFP REFERENCES.) This information will be used to ensure that there will be no conflict of interest when selecting review committee members.

Offers will be valid for 120 days unless a different period is specified by the offeror on the form entitled, "Proposal Summary and Data Record, NIH 2043" also located at the site for FORMS, FORMATS, AND ATTACHMENTS.


If you have any additional questions regarding this RFP, please contact Mr. Julia through the Internet using the electronic mail address listed above or phone (301) 435-0340, fax (301) 480-3338. COLLECT CALLS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.



After reviewing this Request For Proposal, you may return to:

In this directory, entitled "NIH Request For Proposals Directory," following the list of NIH Institutes by name, is the section entitled "STREAMLINED RFP REFERENCES." Select (click on) each section you wish to review:

"STANDARD RFP INSTRUCTIONS AND PROVISIONS" for proposal preparation instructions and other standard provisions,
"OPTIONAL RFP INSTRUCTIONS AND PROVISIONS" for the special provisions identified in this specific RFP,
"FORMS, FORMATS, AND ATTACHMENTS" to download the forms listed in this specific RFP that you will need to submit a proposal,
"REPRESENTATIONS AND CERTIFICATIONS" to download and complete the representations and certifications that must be submitted with your proposal, and
"SAMPLE CONTRACT FORMAT--GENERAL" to view some of the clauses that are typical for inclusion in a Research and Development type contract issued by NIH.

Robert A. Julia
Contracting Officer


    Project Description

    Background and History

    NIDR spends a substantial portion of its budget on research in pain and other symptoms including clinical research training, and the teaching tools generated by this project will assist those efforts. NIDR officials are also working with NINR, NIAID, NCI and other Institutes to plan 1997 and 1998 workshops to promote research in symptom mechanisms and treatment. This contract will complement those activities (and will draw upon the experts assembled for them.) Faculty and trainees with relevant NIDR training grants will be invited to pilot test the teaching materials.

    Studies in many disease areas, including cancer, AIDS, and arthritis, show that the public is concerned that physicians and dentists improve their ability to provide relief of symptoms of illness, not just strive for a cure. (One reflection of this concern is the current attention on assisted suicide and euthanasia.) Symptoms are frequently poorly assessed and treated. This has been most extensively studied for pain. For example, Cleeland et al. recently reported that in the sophisticated academic centers of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, 42% of 597 patients with pain were not given adequate analgesic therapy (N Engl J Med 1994;330:592-96). Black and Hispanic patients had three times the risk of inadequate treatment as white patients. To take another example, the consensus statement from the May 1996 NIH Technology Assessment Conference on "Management of Temporomandibular Disorders" points out that there is widespread public concern that treatment for the estimated 10 million Americans with temporomandibular pain is guided by only a slender amount of data from controlled clinical trials. Any project that facilitated symptom assessment and therapeutic research in symptom treatment would have great benefits for patients and increase their appreciation of the benefits offered by biomedical research.

    Improvements in symptom control research also has considerable economic benefits--including avoiding costs of hospitalization for control of pain and other symptoms of advanced illness and stimulating the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. For example, modest investments in NIH research on opioid pharmacokinetics led American companies to develop sustained-release oral and transdermal opioid preparations whose sales approach $1 billion per year, while the NIDR intramural pain program's studies of neuropathic pain have encouraged many drug companies to make larger investments in new drug development.

    Symptom control is an area of particular methodological opportunity because of historical neglect. The programs of NIH Institutes have mainly addressed structural disease, and a great deal of support has gone into methods for multi-center clinical studies in heart disease, cancer, and AIDS. There has also been considerable support of more global measures of "quality of life," which are different from assessments of particular symptoms. In response to this relative neglect by NIH, a number of foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson, George Soros, and Kornfeld Foundations have recently started programs in symptom control.

    Ever since Beecher's classic 1959 text, The Study of Subjective Responses, it has been clear that studies of a variety of symptoms have in common many of the same methodological challenges. There has been extensive methodological work on clinical trials in postoperative pain and some chronic pain conditions. Many of these methods might be adaptable to the study of other symptoms, but the traditional disease-related segregation of clinical researchers, funding institutes, scientific societies, and journals has inhibited such cross-cutting research.

    Studies of chronic pain clinical trial methods have shown that simple methodological insights can result in vast savings for clinical research. For example, because of the temporal variability of pain, an outcome measure that averages pain measurements twice a day for a week reduces the variance (and the required sample size) by at least 50% compared with the usual method in published trials of taking a single assessment of pain at the end of treatment (Jensen and McFarland, Pain 1993;55:195-204). Most researchers avoid crossover studies because of statistical concerns detecting carryover effects in the two-treatment, two-period design, but other crossover designs are free of this weakness and can decrease the variance by 50 - 90%, offering huge potential cost savings or increased ability to detect modest treatment effects (Louis TA et al., N Engl J Med 1984;310:24-31). It is likely, therefore, that even prior to development of entirely new methods, activities that increase cross-fertilization between pain researchers and other symptom control areas can result in more efficient clinical trials in all symptom areas. Such increased cost-effectiveness would be an incentive to funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies to increase their activities in these areas.

    Statement of Work

    General description of the required objectives and desired results. The Contractor shall assemble a team with expertise in educational software, educational assessment, clinical trials and biostatistics, and psychology to work with leading clinical researchers (who will provide the chapter content) to prepare an interactive personal computer- or web-based textbook to train clinicians to do research on the assessment and treatment of symptoms of medical and dental diseases. The Contractor shall conduct pilot tests in medical, dental, and nursing schools and shall revise the material based on these assessments. The end result will be 15 chapters or teaching modules on various aspects of symptom research that will be effective tools to introduce fundamental concepts to clinical research trainees, either alone or as part of a formal course.

    Specific Statement of work. Independently, and not as an agent of the Government, the Contractor shall furnish all the necessary services, qualified personnel, material, equipment, and facilities, not otherwise provided by the Government, as needed to perform the Statement of Work set forth below. Specifically, the Contractor shall--

    1. In consultation with the Government Project Officer, assemble a team of required expert consultants in symptom research to act as a steering committee.

    2. In consultation with the Project Officer and team of experts, design and develop computer software to teach health professionals interactively the fundamental principles of doing research in the assessment and treatment of symptoms of medical and dental diseases; prepare the first two modules, described more specifically under "Phasing" below, for approval by the Project Officer.

    3. Coordinate the steering committee recommendations with the Project Officer to develop a list of approximately thirteen additional modules to be constructed; distribute and coordinate text preparation responsibilities among the members of the steering committee and such other experts as directed by the Project Officer.

    4. Upon receipt of the Project Officer's approval of the draft modules, perform pilot testing and beta-testing of the first two modules and implement appropriate corrections, improvements, and revisions to produce a final version suitable for distribution by 3" diskette and posting on the World Wide Web.

    5. Prepare a style guide for authors of subsequent modules.

    6. Prepare subsequent modules as discussed more specifically below, including writing, pilot testing, beta testing, corrections, and posting on the world wide web. The final product will be a set of approximately 15 "chapters" or instructional modules on various aspects of this subject, which will be distributed via a World Wide Web site to be provided by the Government.

    7. Provide conference support and transcription services to the Project Officer for presentation of twelve seminars on symptom research as described under "Phase 2" below.


    The above tasks are listed in approximation of their projected start times. However, many of the above activities will be taking place contemporaneously and substantial overlap is anticipated. For example, results of initial pilot testing of the first two modules will be incorporated into revisions prior to the start of formal beta testing, and further revisions will be effected as a result of beta testing. Although the writing of the first two modules should be completed at the end of phase 1 (month 10), additional rewriting is anticipated at least through the first year of phase 2.

    The experience gained from pilot and beta testing shall be incorporated into the writing of the subsequent modules even before the first two modules are finalized. Although Website planning does not start until phase 2 (month 11), the actual writing or construction of the modules shall be performed with the goal of website dissemination clearly in focus. For example, the contractor might write the modules in Java or Pearl or such other language that is directly adaptable to the internet. The modules should be constructed in such a manner as to permit the knowledgeable user to skim ahead through familiar material. Questions may be included to test the user's command of knowledge or understanding of the material, possibly linking the user back to text material concerning questions the user has answered incorrectly. The phases are described more specifically below.

    A spreadsheet schematic display of the above activities and timing is available for viewing, printing, and downloading (saving) in Adobe Acrobat's portable document file (PDF) format. You will need to have the Acrobat Reader on your computer and configured to work on your browser to access the file. When viewed or printed in the Acrobat Reader, the document appears as it does in the hard copy version.

    If you do not have the Acrobat Reader, you may download a free copy from Adobe.

    The size of the file, timeline.pdf, is 9 K. Offerors are encouraged to print this document.

    Phase 1.

    1. Preparation of first two modules. The text for the first two modules, on the topics "Principles of design of analgesic clinical trials" and "Pain measurement" will be prepared by intramural NIDR researchers Dr. Mitchell Max and Dr. Richard Gracely, who have written a number of articles and textbook chapters on these issues. Before and during the preparation of this text, the contractor will advise these authors on the opportunities provided by an interactive electronic format that go beyond traditional text; e.g., interactive questions on the text, possibility of multiple levels for readers of different abilities, experiment simulations, etc.

      It is expected that these and most subsequent chapters will consist of text, graphics, self-testing at intervals in the text, and feedback which may direct the reader to the appropriate part of the chapter or present additional examples. The text may also be linked to other resources on the World Wide Web and should be designed to make this convenient to do in the future. There will be a mechanism for collecting users' comments and critiques of the chapters. Video and audio will probably not be used.

      When drafts of the text for the modules are complete, they will be put into a format for use on computer, although it may be deemed desirable to test even earlier prototypes with potential users. The material will be reviewed by Max and Gracely, and then the Contractor shall conduct "formative evaluation," observing a small number of trainees in the Washington-Baltimore area (identified with the assistance of the Project Officer) as they attempt to use a draft of the material. Initial evaluation might be done by the contractor in the presence of one individual going through the material. Subsequent evaluations might be done by several small focus groups of trainees, led by a faculty member. (The Contractor will propose appropriate financial or other incentives for these evaluators.) Assuming that Dr. Max and Dr. Gracely give the contractor the first drafts of the two chapters 3 months after the initiation of the award, the first WWW version of the modules will be ready at the 5-month mark and based on comments by the authors and pilot testers and the resulting revisions, versions will be ready for dissemination on the World Wide Web and further beta testing at 8 months.

      Each module will contain about the amount of material in a 20-page textbook chapter and require approximately 3-4 hours for a student to complete in the interactive form.

    2. Preparation of style guide for authors of subsequent modules. We assume that the first two chapters or modules will incorporate most of the educational approaches that will be used in the later modules. Based on the feedback from initial testing with the first two modules, the Contractor will prepare a style guide to assist authors of subsequent modules in preparing their material. A first draft of this will be delivered to the Project Officer at 9 months, and based on comments, a final version will be ready at 10 months.

    3. Identification of steering committee. In collaboration with the Project Officer and selected NIH personnel, the Contractor will assemble a steering committee of experts in the field. The steering committee will identify topics and authors for subsequent modules and identify interested trainees or faculty to evaluate each module as it is produced.

    4. Beta-testing of first two modules. The evaluation of the material may be either as a free-standing activity or as trainees use it in formal coursework. The resulting evaluations will be used to guide revision of modules. Beta-testing shall include use of the modules posted on a rudimentary Web page prior to development of the formal Web-site plan discussed in Phase 2 below.

    The following schedule of work shall apply: the steering committee will be assembled from month 1-3, beta-testing sites sought during months 5-7; and beta-testing on the first two modules from months 8-16.

    Phase 2.

    1. Selection and preparation of other modules. Based on the advice of the steering committee and Project Officer, up to 13 additional topics for modules will be selected and content experts identified. The budget will contain adequate funds for consultant fees appropriate to the extensive work and many revisions that will be necessary (an estimated 10 days @ $500/day for each non-government expert for a chapter over the course of preparation, beta-testing, and revision.) Examples of topics might include nausea; anorexia; dyspnea; constipation; oral mucositis; assessments of single symptoms vs. quality of life; or meta-analyses in symptom interventions. Partial payments should be made to authors of modules at initial delivery of text; payment in full should be made only after all final revisions have been accepted.

      It is expected that topics and authors will be identified during months 4-7 of Phase 1; initial text drafted during months 11-16; and initial revision (based in part on formative testing and focus groups with a small number of potential users, as above) from months 12-19.

      The modules should be constructed in such a way that permits flexibility regarding future technological developments and needs. For example, desirable characteristics might include--

      1. Construction of modules in a way that future revision of small parts of them is most efficient.

      2. An option might be built in later allowing course instructors to verify that students had completed a particular module.

    2. Beta-testing of other modules. As described above, new modules will be tested by researchers around the country and revised based upon the evaluation. Beta testing will take place from months 15 to 24 and subsequent revision from months 19 to 33.

    3. Preparing format for distributing "final" version of modules. After beta-testing and revision of the first two modules are complete, the contractor will design a more permanent WWW site for their distribution. This will include mechanisms for continued feedback and revision and access to other materials that may be useful for building the new field of symptom research (e.g., educational materials, scientific texts, journals, or bibliographies; directory of granting agencies; actual clinical research protocols, etc.) An initial plan for this Web site shall be delivered at month 18 and the site revised on an ongoing basis.

      Based on the evaluation of the 15 modules, a final report with recommendations shall be delivered at month 36.

    4. Support of seminars on symptom research. During the course of this project, the Project officer will be conducting courses at the NIH Clinical Center to teach clinical researchers in training the principles of symptom research. The Contractor will coordinate 12 special sessions of these seminars, to be held every two months from months 11 to 33. For each seminar, the Project Officer and Steering Committee will select a topic and three guests from outside NIH--a presenter who is in the midst of a research project to discuss the clinical study and associated challenges and two experts in some discipline related to these research problems. Most of these topics will overlap those covered in the modules in preparation for the World Wide Web, and some of the invited guests will be authors of the chapters-in preparation or members of the steering committee. The three invited guests, the class, and local NIH experts will discuss these research challenges over a 90 minute period. The Contractor will record these sessions on audio and videotape and will transcribe and edit them into a form to be published in an appropriate scientific journal. These sessions will accomplish several purposes: (a) Give the Project Officer, Contractor, and Steering Committee some experience in teaching the target audience together while they are preparing the major products of this contract. This may give rise to new ideas about how to prepare interdisciplinary teaching materials, as well as reveal important issues that should be covered in the project. (b) Prepare additional materials (the edited proceedings) that can be distributed via the Web Site. (c) Raise the visibility of symptom research on the NIH campus.

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  1. Deliverables/Reporting Requirements:

    In addition to those reports required by the other terms of this contract, the Contractor shall prepare and submit the following reports in the manner stated below and in accordance with ARTICLE F.1. DELIVERIES of this contract:

    1. Program Plan

      A program plan is required at the start of task 1 at or following a meeting with the Project Officer for approval prior to starting work. [Note: The proposal should contain a draft program plan.] The program plan shall be revised as necessary during performance as the work is accomplished and submitted for approval by the Project Officer prior to implementation of work schedule revisions.

    2. Monthly Progress Report

      This report shall include a description of the activities during the reporting period, including any changes in materials and/or methods, and the activities planned for the ensuing reporting period. The first reporting period consists of the first full month of performance including any fractional part of the initial month. Thereafter, the reporting period shall consist of one full calendar month. Reports shall be due on or before the fifteenth calendar day following each month being reported. The monthly progress report will not be required for the final month, in which the final progress report is due.

    3. Steering committee membership

      Selection of the steering committee shall be completed by the end of month no. 3, based on consultation with the Project Officer, and a complete listing of the membership including postal and e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and any other contact information shall be provided to the Project Officer by the last day of month no. 3.

    4. Instructional modules on disk

      The first two modules, based on chapters to be provided by the Project Officer by the end of month no. 3, shall be delivered on electronic media in first draft form by the end of month no. 5 and in Web-ready form by the end of month 8. Based on the results of evaluation, subsequent revisions may be required through month 21. The subsequent modules shall be obtained by the contractor from the authors during months no. 11 through 16 (first draft) with subsequent revisions as required based on the results of testing, in disk or similar form and subsequently on the Web page, through month no. 36. Note: all instructional modules ordered and delivered under this contract shall become the property of the Government upon acceptance.

    5. Evaluations

      Pilot testing and beta testing shall be conducted continually from month no. 5 through month no. 24 with the results of each evaluation provided to the Project Officer within two weeks following completion of each evaluation. The initial schedule of evaluation reports shall be based on the Program Plan, with subsequent schedule revisions based on approved revisions of the Program Plan.

    6. Style Guide

      The style guide, described in task 5 above, shall be delivered by the end of month 9 in draft form and in final form at the end of month no. 10.

    7. Website Plan

      The website plan shall be delivered by the end of month no. 18. Website maintenance shall continue through completion at the end of month no. 36. Note that the first two (and subsequent) modules shall be placed on a web site as soon as such placement is feasible, for testing and evaluation purposes, substantially prior to the due date for the formal website plan.

    8. Final Report

      This report is to include a summation of the work performed and results obtained for the entire contract period of performance. This report shall be in sufficient detail to describe comprehensively the results achieved. The Final Report shall be submitted on or before the last day of the contract performance period in accordance with ARTICLE F.1, DELIVERIES, of this contract.

    Satisfactory performance of this contract shall be deemed to occur upon completion of the services described in ARTICLE C.1. and upon delivery and acceptance by the Contracting Officer, or the duly authorized representative, of the following items in accordance with the stated delivery schedule:

    Item Description Delivered to: Delivery Schedule
    a. Program Plan Project Officer and Contracting Officer Within two weeks following the date of contract award
    b. Monthly Progress Report Project Officer and Contracting Officer By the fifteenth day of each succeeding month
    c. Steering committee membership list Project Officer By the last day of month no. 4
    d. Instructional modules on diskette Project Officer First two in draft, month no. 5; web-ready by month no. 8; subsequent modules and revisions in accordance with Program Plan. Modules no. 3-9, web-ready for beta testing, month no. 22; final 6 modules, month no. 27
    e. Evaluations Project Officer In accordance with Program Plan. Detailed assessment and recommendations based on beta testing of first two modules: month 18; next 7 modules, month 30; final 6 modules, month no. 34
    f. Style Guide Project Officer Draft, month no. 9; final, month no. 10
    g. Website Plan Project Officer End of month no. 18
    h. Final Report Project Officer and Contracting Officer Contract completion date

    Copies of reports shall be sent to the following addresses:

    Addressee Item Quantity
    Project Officer
    Building 10, Room 3C403
    10 CENTER DR MSC 1258
    BETHESDA MD 20892-1258
    1 ea
    2 ea
    2 ea
    2 ea
    2 ea
    15 ea
    2 ea
    2 ea
    Contracting Officer
    Contracts Operations Branch, DEA, NHLBI
    Rockledge 2, Room 6110
    6701 ROCKLEDGE DR MSC 7902
    BETHESDA MD 20892-7902
    (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g)
    1 ea
    2 ea
    0 ea
    2 ea

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Reference Material.

Examples of the type of teaching material to be used in the first two units are Chapters 4 and 8 of Max MB, Portenoy RK, Laska EM, eds., The Design of Analgesic Clinical Trials, Adv Pain Res Ther, vol 18, New York: Raven Press, 1991.

Background information regarding the need for symptom research is nicely summarized in: Cassel C and Field M. Care at the End of Life. Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences Press, 1997.

  1. Additional Requirements:

    Special Requirements. Key project staff must be able to travel to one or two scientific meetings per year and travel to NIH and to major beta-testing sites.

    Government-furnished Material/Facilities. Text for modules 1-2 from Dr. Max and Dr. Gracely. Advice and editing comments from Project Officer.

    Project Risk. There is a risk that the proposed authors may not deliver material on time. (To avert that, payment of consultant fees will be contingent on a schedule that permits completion of revisions within the period of the contract.) It may be difficult to locate researchers who wish to test and give a critique of materials.

    Data, data rights, patents, copyrights: Title to all modules will be in the Government. The Government intends to place the instructional materials on a World Wide Web site for free access by students and faculty.

    Replication, dissemination, or use of the results. This material will be disseminated on the World Wide Web and used by clinical research trainees and faculty in medicine, dentistry, nursing, and industry around the world.

    Post-Award Administration and Monitoring. Milestones are listed above under "deliverables." There will be a post-award conference at NIH, Bethesda. The contractor will make a monthly progress report to the Project Officer and will deliver all drafts of materials for modules.

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    The technical proposal will receive paramount consideration in the selection of the Contractor for this acquisition. In the event that the technical evaluation reveals that two or more offerors are approximately equal in technical ability, then cost may become a significant factor in determining award. In any event, the Government reserves the right to make an award to the best advantage of the Government, cost and other factors considered.

    The evaluation will be based on the demonstrated capabilities of the prospective Contractors in relation to the needs of the project as set forth in the RFP. The merits of each proposal will be evaluated carefully. Each proposal must document the feasibility of successful implementation of the requirements of the RFP. Offerors must submit information sufficient to evaluate their proposals based on the detailed criteria listed below.


    Listed below are mandatory qualification criteria. The qualification criteria establishes conditions that must be met at the time of receipt of initial proposals by the Contracting Officer in order for your proposal to be considered any further for award.



    The evaluation criteria are used by the technical evaluation committee when reviewing the technical proposals. The criteria below are listed in the order of relative importance with weights assigned for evaluation purposes.
    No. Criterion Points
    1. Technical approach--Technical aspects of plan, particularly the rationale for designing the project in a way that allows for efficient modification of materials (which will be needed at approximately 3 year intervals), incorporation of new technologies if appropriate, and access of potential users with a wide range of computer equipment to the material. Plan for evaluating clarity and effectiveness of teaching materials during and after sequential revisions, including finding groups for pilot testing and types of evaluation and iterative feedback planned. 35
    2. Corporate Experience--Evidence that the contractor or key members of the staff have produced readable, effective interactive teaching materials for scientific/technical audiences. This may include printed or computerized material. Proposers should supply instructions on how to examine their available material on the World Wide Web, so that actual materials (the most important evidence regarding this point) can be evaluated. Evaluations of the educational effects of this material are also relevant. 25
    3. Qualifications of Personnel--Adequacy of expertise, experience, and time commitment of proposed personnel, as documented in verifiable résumés or curricula vitarum, to perform the statement of work. This includes prior experience of members of the team in programming languages, web application design and implementation, curriculum design, development of instructional modules, and research in symptom evaluation and treatment. 25
    4. Corporate facilities and resources--Availability of adequate facilities, equipment, and administrative support for accomplishing the statement of work. 15
    Total: 100

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  1. Specific RFP Instructions and Provisions, and
  2. Applicable RFP References


    NOTICE TO OFFERORS: This section contains proposal instructions and information which are specifically related to this acquisition. The information provided below is only a portion of the instructions and notices required for the submission of a proposal. References to additional, more general, information and forms regarding proposal preparation are contained under Section III. Applicable RFP References.

    The following specific RFP instructions and provisions apply to this Request For Proposal:

    1. Proposal Intent Response Sheet (submit prior to proposal submission--by May 6, 1998)
    2. Packaging and Delivery of Proposal
    3. SIC Code and Small Business Size Standard
    4. Number and Type of Award(s)
    5. Estimate of Effort
    6. Service of Protest
    7. Technical Proposal Table of Contents
    8. Other Provisions

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    RFP No. NHLBI-DR-98-23
    TITLE OF RFP: Pain/Symptom Research Training Software










    Review Branch
    6701 ROCKLEDGE DR MSC 7924
    BETHESDA MD 20892-7924
    Attention: Dr. James Scheirer

    or FAX TO: Dr. James Scheirer at (301) 480-3541

    NHLBI RFPs Available | NIH Request for Proposals Directory | NHLBI Home | NIH Home


      Your proposal shall be organized as specified in the "Standard RFP Instructions and Provisions." Shipment and marking shall be as follows:

      In addition to the address cited below, mark each package as follows:

      "RFP NO. NHLBI-DR-98-23

      The numbers of copies required of each part of your proposal are:


      Review Branch, Division of Extramural Affairs
      National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH
      Rockledge Building, Room 7091
      6701 ROCKLEDGE DR MSC 7924
      BETHESDA MD 20892-7924


    NHLBI RFPs Available | NIH Request for Proposals Directory | NHLBI Home | NIH Home


      NOTE: The following information is to be used by the offeror in preparing its Representations and Certifications, specifically in completing the provisions entitled, SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM REPRESENTATIONS, FAR 52.219-1:

      The standard industrial classification (SIC) code for this acquisition is 7371.

      The small business size standard is $18,000,000 average annual receipts over the three preceding fiscal years.



      It is anticipated that one award will be made from this solicitation and that award will be made in September 1998.

      It is anticipated that the award from this solicitation will be a multiple-year cost reimbursement, completion type contract with a period of performance of thirty-six months and that incremental funding will be used.

    3. Level of Effort. It is expected that a completion type contract will be awarded as a result of this RFP. To assist you in the preparation of your proposal, the Government considers the effort to be approximately 18,411 labor hours including excused absences, vacation, holiday, and sick pay (i.e., assuming a 2080 hour work year). This information is furnished for the offeror's information only and is not to be considered restrictive for proposal purposes.

      Labor Category Ph.1 Ph.2/1 Ph.2/2 Ph.2/3 Total
      Project Manager 433 624 373 9 1439
      Scientific Writer/Educator 1213 1040 624 35 2912
      Educational Assessment Specialist 1283 1560 606 9 3458
      Computer Programmer 1456 2704 2150 35 6345
      Biomedical Statistician 165 312 130 0 607
      Psychologist 408 520 164 0 1092
      Secretary/Clerical/Admin. 1517 624 417 0 2558
      Total: 6475 7384 4464 88 18411

      All staffing levels proposed should be accompanied by specific justifications as to the type and hours of work expected to be performed by all personnel. Offerors will be required to propose levels of commitment whether compensated or donated effort, necessary to complete the work described in their proposals. It is expected that realistic levels of effort will be proposed such that an offeror's understanding of the work will be apparent.


      In accordance with FAR 52.233-2 SERVICE OF PROTEST (NOV 1988):

      1. Protests, as defined in Section 33.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, that are filed directly with an agency, and copies of any protests that are filed with the General accounting Office (GAO) shall be served on the Contracting Officer (addressed as follows) by obtaining written and dated acknowledgment of receipt from:

        Mr. Robert A. Julia

        National Institutes of Health
        National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
        Contracts Operations Branch
        Rockledge 2, Room 6110
        6701 ROCKLEDGE DR MSC 7902
        BETHESDA MD 20892-7902

        The copy of any protest shall be received in the office designated above within one day of filing a protest with GAO.


      Please number each page of text. Type density and size must be 10-12 points. If constant spacing is used, there should be no more than 15 cpi, whereas proportional spacing should provide an average of no more than 15 cpi. There must be no more than six lines of text within a vertical inch.

      The technical proposal should be organized as follows:

      1. TECHNICAL PROPOSAL COVER SHEET (Form is located in the Streamlined RFP References under "FORMS, FORMATS, ATTACHMENTS") Page 1


      3. ABSTRACT Page 3
        State the proposal's broad, long-term objectives and specific aims. Briefly and concisely describe the research design and methods for achieving these goals. DO NOT EXCEED one page in providing the abstract. Identify the RFP Number, Institution and Principal Investigator on the abstract.

      4. TECHNICAL PLAN (approximately 25 PAGES)
        Refer to Technical Proposal Instructions located in the Standard RFP Instructions and Provisions under Streamlined RFP References for more detail.
          1. Objectives Page #
          2. Approach Page #
          3. Methods Page #
          4. Schedule Page #
        2. PERSONNEL
          1. List of all Personnel in the project including Subcontractors, Consultants/Collaborators, by name, title, department and organization Page #
          2. Principal Investigator/Project Director Page #
          3. Other Investigators Page #
          4. Additional Personnel Page #
            [NOTE: For personnel, include a two-page biosketch under APPENDICES below.]
          List/describe all facilities, equipment and other resources available for this project.
          (Use specifically titled subparagraphs, as applicable.)
      5. OTHER SUPPORT Page #
        Complete the Form "Summary of Current and Proposed Activities." All key personnel must be listed on this form. The form is located in the Streamlined RFP References under "FORMS, FORMATS, & ATTACHMENTS."
        (Form located in the Streamlined RFP References under "FORMS, FORMATS, & ATTACHMENTS.")
      7. LITERATURE CITED Page #
      8. APPENDICES Page #
        List each Appendix and identify the number of pages for each one. Appendices must be clear and legible, and easily located. Include biosketches here.

    NHLBI RFPs Available | NIH Request for Proposals Directory | NHLBI Home | NIH Home

      1. GOVERNMENT FURNISHED FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT--Text for modules 1-2 from Dr. Max and Dr. Gracely. Advice and editing comments from Project Officer.
      2. POTENTIAL AWARD WITHOUT DISCUSSIONS--The Government reserves the right to award a contract without discussions if the Contracting Officer determines that the initial prices are fair and reasonable and that discussions are not necessary. If award will be made without conducting discussions, offerors may be given the opportunity to clarify certain aspects of their proposal (e.g., the relevance of an offeror's past performance information and adverse past performance information to which the offeror has not previously had an opportunity to respond) or to resolve minor or clerical errors.
      3. COST/PRICING INFORMATION--The offeror's business proposal shall include the basic cost/pricing information specified in the Standard RFP Instructions and Provisions, under the Streamlined RFP References Directory referenced in this RFP. In addition, the Government may require offerors included in the competitive range to submit additional information substantiating their proposed costs or prices. This additional cost/pricing information will be requested after establishment of the competitive range, and potentially includes payroll documentation, vendor quotes, invoice prices, and/or any other information deemed necessary by the Contracting Officer to evaluate the reasonableness of the price or to determine cost realism. The information may also include submission and certification of cost or pricing data.
      4. FAR 52.215-16, FACILITIES CAPITAL COST OF MONEY (October 1997)
        (This is applicable if you are a commercial organization.)
      5. Facilities capital cost of money (see FAR 15.408(h) will be an allowable cost under the contemplated contract, if the criteria for allowability in subparagraph 31.205-10(a)(2) of the Federal Acquisition Regulation are met. One of the allowability criteria requires the prospective Contractor to propose facilities capital cost of money in its offer.
      6. If the prospective Contractor does not propose this cost, the resulting contract will include the clause "Waiver of Facilities Capital Cost of Money."
      7. PUBLICATION AND PUBLICITY (It is anticipated that this clause will appear in the contract.)

      The contractor shall acknowledge the support of the National Institutes of Health whenever publicizing the work under this contract in any media by including an acknowledgment substantially as follows:

      This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. .
      1. HHSAR 352.270-6 PUBLICATION AND PUBLICITY (JULY 1991) (It is anticipated that this clause will appear in the contract.)

      Unless otherwise specified in this contract, the Contractor is encouraged to publish, and make available through accepted channels, the results of its work under this contract. A copy of each article submitted by the Contractor for publication shall be promptly sent to the Project Officer. The Contractor shall also inform the Project Officer when the article or other publication is published, and furnish a copy of it as finally published.

    NHLBI RFPs Available | NIH Request for Proposals Directory | NHLBI Home | NIH Home


      This section identifies the items located in the Streamlined RFP References that are applicable to this Request For Proposal (RFP).

      1. The entire file entitled "STANDARD RFP INSTRUCTIONS AND PROVISIONS" is applicable to this RFP, except as modified by the inclusion of items from the "OPTIONAL RFP INSTRUCTIONS AND PROVISIONS" below and except for the new RFP provision, FAR 52.215-1 which is included in full text at the end of this section. This provision is important to review because it describes new rules for conducting negotiated competitive acquisitions. (This provision was not included in the Standard RFP Instructions and Provisions at the time this RFP was prepared, but may appear at a later date.)
      2. The following items are applicable from the file entitled "OPTIONAL RFP INSTRUCTIONS AND PROVISIONS". The full text of the provisions is available in the file.

      List of provisions which apply to this specific RFP:

      1. Notice of Small Business Set-Aside
      2. Total Compensation Plan--Instructions
      3. Total Compensation Plan--Evaluation
      4. Past Performance Information
      5. Facilities Capital Cost of Money
      6. "JUST IN TIME"
      7. ADP Systems Security

      8. The following items are applicable to this specific RFP and are located in the file entitled "FORMS, FORMATS, AND ATTACHMENTS", under Streamlined RFP References:

SUBMIT WITH TECHNICAL PROPOSAL (with original and every copy of technical proposal)

        1. Technical Proposal Cover Sheet
        2. Summary of Current and Proposed Activities
        3. Technical Proposal Cost Information


        1. Contract Pricing Proposal Cover Sheet, SF-1411, or equivalent, with every copy of business proposal.
        2. Proposal Summary and Data record, NIH-2043, with every copy of business proposal.
        3. Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, OMB SF-LLL, only one completed and signed original. This form is not required if there are no lobbying activities to disclose.
        4. Representations and Certifications, only one completed and signed original.


        1. Certificate of Current Cost or Pricing Data, NIH-1397, to be submitted with Final Proposal Revision, if required by the Contracting Officer.


        1. Invoice/Financing Requests Instructions for NIH Cost-Reimbursement Type Contracts, NIH(RC)-1
        2. Procurement of Certain Equipment, NIH(RC)-7

The "SAMPLE CONTRACT FORMAT-GENERAL" under the Streamlined RFP References is applicable to this RFP. Selected clauses applicable to this acquisition will be included in the contract.

NHLBI RFPs Available | NIH Request for Proposals Directory | NHLBI Home | NIH Home

NOTE: The following provision supersedes equivalent text and provisions contained in the Standard RFP Instructions and Provisions, current at the time this RFP was prepared. In the event of any conflicts, this provision shall take precedent.


  1. Definitions. As used in this provision--

    Discussions are negotiations that occur after establishment of the competitive range that may, at the Contracting Officer's discretion, result in the offeror being allowed to revise its proposal.

    In writing or written means any worded or numbered expression which can be read, reproduced, and later communicated, and includes electronically transmitted and stored information.

    Proposal modification is a change made to a proposal before the solicitation's closing date and time, or made in response to an amendment, or made to correct a mistake at any time before award.

    Proposal revision is a change to a proposal made after the solicitation closing date, at the request of or as allowed by a Contracting Officer as the result of negotiations.

    Time, if stated as a number of days, is calculated using calendar days, unless otherwise specified, and will include Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. However, if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the period shall include the next working day.

  2. Amendments to solicitations. If this solicitation is amended, all terms and conditions that are not amended remain unchanged. Offerors shall acknowledge receipt of any amendment to this solicitation by the date and time specified in the amendment(s).

  3. Submission, modification, revision, and withdrawal of proposals. 1. Unless other methods (e.g., electronic commerce or facsimile) are permitted in the solicitation, proposals and modifications to proposals shall be submitted in paper media in sealedenvelopes or packages (i) addressed to the office specified in the solicitation, and (ii) showing the time and date specified for receipt, the solicitation number, and the name and address of the offeror. Offerors using commercial carriers should ensure that the proposal is marked on the outermost wrapper with the information in paragraphs c.1.i. and c.1.ii. of this provision.

    1. The first page of the proposal must show--

      1. The solicitation number;
      2. The name, address, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the offeror (and electronic address if available);
      3. A statement specifying the extent of agreement with all terms, conditions, and provisions included in the solicitation and agreement to furnish any or all items upon which prices are offered at the price set opposite each item;
      4. Names, titles, and telephone and facsimile numbers (and electronic addresses if available) of persons authorized to negotiate on the offeror's behalf with the Government in connection with this solicitation; and
      5. Name, title, and signature of person authorized to sign the proposal. Proposals signed by an agent shall be accompanied by evidence of that agent's authority, unless that evidence has been previously furnished to the issuing office.

    2. Late proposals and revisions. (i) Any proposal received at the office designated in the solicitation after the exact time specified for receipt of offers will not be considered unless it is received before award is made and--

        1. It was sent by registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the date specified for receipt of offers (e.g., an offer submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of offers by the 20th of the month must have been mailed by the 15th);
        2. It was sent by mail (or telegram or facsimile, if authorized) or hand-carried (including delivery by a commercial carrier) if it is determined by the Government that the late receipt was due primarily to Government mishandling after receipt at the Government installation;
        3. It was sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service-Post Office to Addressee, not later than 5:00 p.m. at the place of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for receipt of proposals. The term "working days" excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays;
        4. It was transmitted through an electronic commerce method authorized by the solicitation and was received at the initial point of entry to the Government infrastructure not later than 5:00 p.m. one working day prior to the date specified for receipt of proposals; or
        5. There is acceptable evidence to establish that it was received at the activity designated for receipt of offers and was under the Government's control prior to the time set for receipt of offers, and the Contracting Officer determines that accepting the late offer would not unduly delay the procurement; or
        6. It is the only proposal received.

      1. Any modification or revision of a proposal or response to request for information, including any final proposal revision, is subject to the same conditions as in subparagraphs c.3.i.A. through c.3.i.E. of this provision.
      2. The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late proposal or modification or revision sent either by registered or certified mail is the U.S. or Canadian Postal Service postmark both on the envelope or wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. or Canadian Postal Service. Both postmarks must show a legible date or the proposal, response to a request for information, or modification or revision shall be processed as if mailed late. "Postmark" means a printed, stamped, or otherwise placed impression (exclusive of a postage meter machine impression) that is readily identifiable without further action as having been supplied and affixed by employees of the U.S. or Canadian Postal Service on the date of mailing. Therefore, offerors or respondents should request the postal clerk to place a legible hand cancellation bull's eye postmark on both the receipt and the envelope or wrapper.
      3. Acceptable evidence to establish the time of receipt at the Government installation includes the time/date stamp of that installation on the proposal wrapper, other documentary evidence of receipt maintained by the installation, or oral testimony or statements of Government personnel.
      4. The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late offer, modification or revision, or withdrawal sent by Express Mail Next Day Service-Post Office to Addressee is the date entered by the post office receiving clerk on the "Express Mail Next Day Service-Post Office to Addressee" label and the postmark on both the envelope or wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. "Postmark" has the same meaning as defined in paragraph c.3.iii. of this provision, excluding postmarks of the Canadian Postal Service. Therefore, offerors or respondents should request the postal clerk to place a legible hand cancellation bull's eye postmark on both the receipt and the envelope or wrapper.
      5. Notwithstanding paragraph c.3.i. of this provision, a late modification or revision of an otherwise successful proposal that makes its terms more favorable to the Government will be considered at any time it is received and may be accepted.
      6. Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice or telegram (including mailgram) received at any time before award. If the solicitation authorizes facsimile proposals, proposals may be withdrawn via facsimile received at any time before award, subject to the conditions specified in the provision entitled "Facsimile Proposals." Proposals may be withdrawn in person by an offeror or an authorized representative, if the representative's identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal before award.
      7. If an emergency or unanticipated event interrupts normal Government processes so that proposals cannot be received at the office designated for receipt of proposals by the exact time specified in the solicitation, and urgent Government requirements preclude amendment of the solicitation or other notice of an extension of the closing date, the time specified for receipt of proposals will be deemed to be extended to the same time of day specified in the solicitation on the first work day on which normal Government processes resume. If no time is specified in the solicitation, the time for receipt is 4:30 p.m., local time, for the designated Government office.

    3. Unless otherwise specified in the solicitation, the offeror may propose to provide any item or combination of items.

    4. Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation shall be in English and in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise permitted by the solicitation.

    5. Offerors may submit modifications to their proposals at any time before the solicitation closing date and time, and may submit modifications in response to an amendment, or to correct a mistake at any time before award.

    6. Offerors may submit revised proposals only if requested or allowed by the Contracting Officer.

    7. Proposals may be withdrawn at any time before award. Withdrawals are effective upon receipt of notice by the Contracting Officer.

  4. Offer expiration date. Proposals in response to this solicitation will be valid for the number of days specified on the solicitation cover sheet (unless a different period is proposed by the offeror).

  5. Restriction on disclosure and use of data. Offerors that include in their proposals data that they do not want disclosed to the public for any purpose, or used by the Government except for evaluation purposes, shall--

    1. Mark the title page with the following legend: This proposal includes data that shall not be disclosed outside the Government and shall not be duplicated, used, or disclosed--in whole or in part--for any purpose other than to evaluate this proposal. If, however, a contract is awarded to this offeror as a result of--or in connection with-- the submission of this data, the Government shall have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the resulting contract. This restriction does not limit the Government's right to use information contained in this data if it is obtained from another source without restriction. The data subject to this restriction are contained in sheets [insert numbers or other identification of sheets]; and
    2. Mark each sheet of data it wishes to restrict with the following legend: Use or disclosure of data contained on this sheet is subject to the restriction on the title page of this proposal.

  6. Contract award. 1. The Government intends to award a contract or contracts resulting from this solicitation to the responsible offeror(s) whose proposal(s) represents the best value after evaluation in accordance with the factors and subfactors in the solicitation.

    1. The Government may reject any or all proposals if such action is in the Government's interest.

    2. The Government may waive informalities and minor irregularities in proposals received.

    3. The Government intends to evaluate proposals and award a contract without discussions with offerors (except clarifications as described in FAR 15.306(a)). Therefore, the offeror's initial proposal should contain the offeror's best terms from a cost or price and technical standpoint. The Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Contracting Officer later determines them to be necessary. If the Contracting Officer determines that the number of proposals that would otherwise be in the competitive range exceeds the number at which an efficient competition can be conducted, the Contracting Officer may limit the number of proposals in the competitive range to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition among the most highly rated proposals.

    4. The Government reserves the right to make an award on any item for a quantity less than the quantity offered, at the unit cost or prices offered, unless the offeror specifies otherwise in the proposal.

    5. The Government reserves the right to make multiple awards if, after considering the additional administrative costs, it is in the Government's best interest to do so.

    6. Exchanges with offerors after receipt of a proposal do not constitute a rejection or counteroffer by the Government.

    7. The Government may determine that a proposal is unacceptable if the prices proposed are materially unbalanced between line items or subline items. Unbalanced pricing exists when, despite an acceptable total evaluated price, the price of one or more contract line items is significantly overstated or understated as indicated by the application of cost or price analysis techniques. A proposal may be rejected if the Contracting Officer determines that the lack of balance poses an unacceptable risk to the Government.

    8. If a cost realism analysis is performed, cost realism may be considered by the source selection authority in evaluating performance or schedule risk.

    9. A written award or acceptance of proposal mailed or otherwise furnished to the successful offeror within the time specified in the proposal shall result in a binding contract without further action by either party.

    10. The Government may disclose the following information in postaward debriefings to other offerors:

      1. The overall evaluated cost or price and technical rating of the successful offeror;

      2. The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during source selection;

      3. A summary of the rationale for award; and

      4. For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror.

(End of provision)

Alternate I (October 1997). As prescribed in 15.209(a)(1), substitute the following paragraph (f)(4) for paragraph (f)(4) of the basic provision:

(f)(4) The Government intends to evaluate proposals and award a contract after conducting discussions with offerors whose proposals have been determined to be within the competitive range. If the Contracting Officer determines that the number of proposals that would otherwise be in the competitive range exceeds the number at which an efficient competition can be conducted, the Contracting Officer may limit the number of proposals in the competitive range to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition among the most highly rated proposals. Therefore, the offeror's initial proposal should contain the offeror's best terms from a price and technical standpoint.

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