Entering into Government Contracts with the National Science Foundation

NSF Government Contracting Tips

The National Science Foundation has an acquisition system in place that helps small companies engage in government contracting. The system aims to provide equal opportunities to small and disadvantaged small businesses and prevailing wage contractors. If you are planning to engage in government contracting through the NSF, it is critical that you are acquainted with the end to end acquisition process. Read on below to gain insights on what takes place at the NSF’s selection and bidding process.

The National Science Foundation’s Selection Techniques and Award Types

The foundation has four award types. These are:

1.    Micro Purchases

Purchases below the current threshold of $2,500 ($2,000 for construction) can be awarded without asking for competitive quotations when the price is deemed as reasonable.

2.    Purchase Cards

Contracting officers can delegate the authority to purchase products and services through purchase cards. This is applicable for contracts up to $25,000. Consideration for small business must be made for contracts and purchases over $2,500.

3.    Simplified Acquisitions

Contracts and purchases more than $2,500 but less than $100,000 can be made with simplified process and with fewer contract clause requirements.

4.    Large Acquisitions

These are contracts and purchases beyond the simplified acquisition threshold. For these purchases, the following methods are implemented:

·       Invitations for Bid

·       Competitive Negotiations

·       Noncompetitive Negotiations

The National Science Foundation’s Acquisition Process

The contract acquisition is divided into four stages. Each stage is discussed in full details below.


This phase establishes the groundwork for soliciting offers and awarding a contract. It is in this phase that the foundation should be able to:

·       Identify the requirement

·       Prepare a statement of work

·       Commit enough funds

·       Prepare purchase requests or requests for contracts

·       Research the market for potential suppliers/contractors

·       Determine extent of competition

·       Establish evaluation criteria for the selection process

Solicitation and Evaluation

In this phase, NSF must be able to do the following tasks:

·       Determine method of acquisition and type of contract

·       Draft the solicitation

·       Announce the proposed acquisition

·       Evaluate bids and proposals

·       Determine the responsibilities and deliverable of the potential awardee

Award Phase

In this stage, the foundation awards the contract to its selected government contractor. In the case of protests from unsuccessful bidders, the foundation must be able to send a response to them.

Contract Administration

The foundation must be able to conduct orientation with the chosen government contractor before the start of the project implementation. During the implementation, it is the responsibility of the foundation to monitor the compliance of the contractor. The foundation is also responsible in checking and monitoring if the contract deliverables are met. After the project is completed, the foundation must be able to close out the contract properly.

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