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10 Nat i on al Coo perat ive Highway Research Program SELECTING THE BEST INVESTIGATORS A Rigorous, Competitive Process NCHRP does not award grants for research. Rather, the program invites competing proposals from prospective investigators who can demonstrate relevant capability and experience in the problem area to be researched. Eligible organizations include private-sector organizations as well as academic institutions and nonprofit entities. Throughout its history, NCHRP has awarded research contracts to entities headquartered in a majority of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Canada, and England. Contractors selected to conduct NCHRP research principally fall into two categoriesâprivate sector and university/research institute. Of the 94 signed contracts using FY 2017 funds, 53 were with the private sector and 41 were with universities/research institutes. Requests for proposals are posted on TRBâs website, announced through the weekly TRB E-Newsletter, and distributed to a self-subscription listserv. Proposals must comply with the format outlined in the publication Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Boardâs Cooperative Research Programs. The proposed budget total is established in advance and therefore not a factor in selecting an investigator. Because the funds available for research are announced in the project statement, proposers instead provide a research plan that is achievable with the available funds. If the proposed cost exceeds the funds available, the proposal will be rejected. The project panels select investigating agencies after careful evaluation of all proposals and discussion of proposersâ past performance on other research projects conducted by NCHRP or others. The successful proposals are retained by panel members for use in monitoring the research. Proposals, panel deliberations, and meeting notes are considered to be privileged information for use by the project panel and are not released. NCHRP will provide a debriefing, if requested, to unsuccessful proposers to discuss the areas in which their proposals were judged to have weaknesses or deficiencies that were factors in not being selected.
11 2018 Annual Repor t Selection of an agency is made by the responsible project panel considering the following factors*: â¢ The proposerâs demonstrated understanding of the problem; â¢ The merit of the proposed research approach and methodology; â¢ Experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; â¢ The plan for ensuring application of results; â¢ The proposerâs plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprisesâ small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and â¢ The adequacy of the facilities and equipment. * From Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Boardâs Cooperative Research Programs