This page will be populated with the most common questions we receive about our project calls. Please bookmark this page and visit often for updates during the project call process.
Project Topic Area
Future Project Calls
1. If one of the members listed in our proposal is unable to become a member by the Full Proposal Submission deadline, is the project disqualified, or executed in a smaller scale?
The proposal will be disqualified if all members of the proposal team are not members of the ARM Institute by the Full Proposal submission deadline.
UPDATE: ARM will recognize the integrity and validity of proposer team arrangements provided that the lead proposer on the project proposal submission is a current Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core ARM member by December 13, 2017 (this membership eligibility requirement is updated from the prior deadline of November 22, 2017). Other organizations participating as project team members on the project proposal submission must be current ARM members by the Step 2: Full Proposal submission deadline (target date of February 15, 2018).
2. Do I need to have my full proposal team finalized at concept paper submission date?
No, you may make changes to your proposal team between the time of the Concept Paper submission and Final Proposal submission. Note however, that if the evaluators invited a Full Proposal partially on the strength of the team offered in the Concept Paper, a different team in the Full Proposal may not be scored as highly.
3. What category does a small business fall under or can they not submit a proposal?
An organization must be at one of these membership levels in order to be the LEAD on a proposal – Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core ARM member. Please see the project call for more information. It is important for lower tier members to know they may, and are expected to, team with upper tier members, and that a membership list is available by request by sending an email to ARM-FAQ@armsintitute.org.
4. Can quick start project teams propose on this project call?
Yes, our quick start project teams are welcome to submit proposals for our current project calls.
5. Do you have some previous examples of project funded that we can see as example?
No, this is the ARM Institute’s first project call so we do not have any examples.
6. Is there a page limit or size for the initial proposals?
The Technical Concept Papers must include 1 page for the Cover Page, a maximum of 7 pages for the Technical Volume, and 1 page for the Cost and Cost Share Estimate, for a total maximum count of 9 pages.
The EWD Concept Paper must include 1 page for the Cover Page, a maximum of 3 pages for the Project Description, and 1 page for the Cost and Cost Share Estimate, for a total maximum count of 5 pages.
7. Who will be reviewing/scoring the concept papers?
Concept Papers determined eligible and complete will proceed for a full evaluation by evaluators who are subject matter experts and independent of all teams submitting Concept Papers.
8. When will the invitation for full proposal be issued?
The expected date for selection notifications is December 22, 2017.
9. The project call required proposal team must contain at least one industry organization. Is this industry organization also required to be an ARM member?
10. How can the federal money be spent? (i.e. education and training of students, program administration, equipment and supplies, offset employment costs of small firm’s hiring apprentices or managing their programs?)
The federal money must be spent on tasks aligned to execution of the proposed project and must be spent according to the guidelines prescribed by the federal government.
For-Profit Members are to comply with the cost principles in 48 CFR Parts 31 and 231 as defined here – https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title48/48tab_02.tpl
Institutes of Higher Education or Nonprofit Members are to comply with the cost principles in Subpart E of 2 CFR Part 200 as defined here – https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=2:22.214.171.124.1.5&rgn=div6
More specifically for the E/WD examples in the question, ARM funds for E/WD projects are not intended generally to subsidize education and training or offset employment costs of hiring apprentices. Cost share from state funds and/or company partner funds should be considered for those items.
11. What metrics are you looking for in a successful project?
Appropriate metrics depend on the details of the statement of work and deliverables for each proposed project. We provide some suggestions in each of the project calls, but the proposer team should prescribe their metrics, justify them, and show how one is working toward them.
12. If an ARM member has a unique tech partner or is aware of one, must they be a member to participate if the member manages and funds their activity in the project call?
Yes, they must be an ARM member by the full proposal date.
13. Once we submit the concept paper, it is possible to add other industry partners for the final proposals? Or are we bound to only have the partners mentioned in the concept papers?
Yes, you may make changes to your proposal team between the time of the Concept Paper submission and Final Proposal submission. Note however, that if the evaluators invited a Full Proposal partially on the strength of the team offered in the Concept Paper, a different team in the Full Proposal may not be scored as highly.
14. Do I need to use the supplied budget template for the Concept Paper submission?
Best estimates of your budget are to be entered into the Excel budget spreadsheet and submitted as part of your Concept Paper package. If your organization requires financial office signoff on particular entries in the template (such as indirect costs), and such signoffs cannot be obtained within the timeframe of the November 22, 2017 deadline, then submit the estimated costs in an alternative form with sufficient category detail for cost review.
15. Is travel ok to include in the budget?
As indicated in the supplied cost template spreadsheet, travel costs required for the project must be included in the budget. Travel to ARM project review meetings, estimated at twice per year, should be budgeted. This travel may be included in the budget as cost share.
16. Is a third-party integrator permitted in the proposal as a service provider?
If the 3rd party is truly providing a service (or supplying a product or a part), then they do not have to be a member. However, if they are collaborating with the team in any way to respond to the proposal, then they must be a member. Additionally, any IP that is created under the project by the 3rd party must come under the ownership of the project team and therefore available to ARM members according to the Membership Policies.
17. What the requirements are for partnering at the concept stage of the project, and is it critical for submission at this time? Can Partners be identified later in the process?
The lead/PI for the concept paper and proposal must be a member by December 13, 2017 and be at one of the following membership levels for the technology project call – Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core.
If the concept paper is accepted, all other participants must be members by the final proposal submission date which is scheduled for February 15, 2018.
With the exception of the PI/lead, the participants can change or new ones added between the concept paper and full proposal submission.
1. Will you provide/where can I find a list of ARM Institute members that I can team with for my project call proposal?
We will send a list of the key contact(s) of each member company to other members ONLY by request. Please send an email to ARM-FAQ@arminstitute.org to request this list. Please note that this list is confidential and should not be shared with non-members.
2. How do ARM start-up members connect / apply to be involved in projects?
Start-up members can participate in projects by building a team with a lead proposer who is at one of the following membership levels – Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core ARM member. Please send an email to ARM-FAQ@arminstitute.org to request a member listing
3. Can government national labs, and FFRDCs be included as team members on a proposed project?
Proposed relationships or interactions with federal government entities can be included in a Concept Paper or Full Proposal. However, no budget for these entities should be included in the ARM funding, and federal funds cannot count toward cost share. Any approved projected costs for government national labs or FFRDCs would most likely be funded separately through the government under a CRADA or similar instrument.
1. Why is the EWD budget only $200k, only 40 % of the technology project?
The funding guidelines are set by the technology investment agreement (TIA) agreed to with the Department of Defense. You should have received a copy of the TIA when you became a member.
2. Compared to Technology Projects, the EWD Project is significantly lower in budget, $200k vs $500k. What is the expectation of accomplishment for EWD?
With the support of matching costs, the total program for EWD projects can be a minimum of $400,000 to $600,000. We expect an apprenticeship program that serves SMMs with well trained workers. Technical programs require a larger initial investment and funding has been directed by our funding agency, the Department of Defense. Proposals that appropriately augment and build on an existing apprenticeship program are within scope of this Project Call.
3. What’s the anticipated award per topic? 1-2, 2-4?
The number of project awards and federal funding amount allocated to this Project Call will be determined based on the quality and quantity of proposals received. It is not pre-determined per topic. The ARM Institute reserves the right to select all, some, one or none of the submitted Full Proposals for award negotiations.
4. What is the total funding available for the proposals?
The ARM Institute can award up to $10M to fund multiple projects for the Technical Project Call and up to $2M in the EWD project call. The exact amount will be based upon the quantity and quality of proposals.
5. Can money from the state or another grant be counted towards our cost matching?
Yes, and please include these expected amounts and sources in your concept paper as it will aid in the determination of awardees. Federal grants and other federal awards are not allowable as cost match; however such awards may be listed as leverage in the proposal.
6. Will you award funding for each of the project call topics?
Not necessarily, as it depends upon the quality of the proposals. The ARM Institute reserves the right to select all, some, one or none of the submitted Full Proposals for award negotiations. It is not based on a predetermined number per topic, but on the quality and quantity of proposals received.
7. We currently provide companies a cash incentive to hire new apprentices. Can we use ARM EWD funds for the same?
ARM is seeking long term, sustainable solutions to support our mission. From the brief information supplied, this does not appear to be an area ARM would encourage based upon our sustainability focus.
1. Is the October 2017 EWD call only considering projects that center on apprentice programs?
Yes, this project call is focused on apprenticeship programs, specifically those that serve SMMs with curriculum in automation and robotics.
2. Are there any limitations about how many topics we can submit for concept paper for same group?
There is no limitation on any organization; you can submit as many concept papers as you wish.
3. How will these technical project calls be industry focused such that industry can implement in their factories quickly and efficiently?
The topic areas for this project call represent the top priorities from ARM’s technology roadmapping process, which integrates the input of manufacturers with a strategic view on the future of manufacturing. As noted in the Project Call, the most attractive submissions will frame the project with appropriate constraints so the project meets the requirement of TRL/MRL 4-7. The requirement of TRL/MRL 4-7 helps ensure project outcomes can then be implemented by manufacturers quickly and efficiently.
As part of this framing of TRL/MRL 4-7, proposers should strive to explain in their concept papers how their proposed project is industry focused such that industry can implement technology arising from the project in their factories quickly and efficiently. (TRL/MRL 4-7 spans the developmental phases from the capability component validation or producing the technology in a laboratory environment through system prototype demonstration or producing systems, subsystems, or components in a production representative environment.)
4. Where does fluid power fit in the ARM technology roadmap and project calls?
Fluid power will fit under the mechanism design technology thrust area. In our initial roadmapping process that occurred over the course of 2017, we did not hear a high demand for the need for fluid power. However, the roadmapping process will constantly be evolving with member input.
5. To qualify as an “apprenticeship” must the project be a federally registered apprenticeship with the DOL?
No. Successful programs need to provide participants with certifications, professional licenses, or proof of competencies that are industry recognized. We recognize that the 12 month period may not be enough time to establish a federally registered program, but certainly encourage a path toward that end.
6. What educational levels are contemplated for Apprentice Programs? I.e, Secondary (technical-vocational), Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s?
GED or a High School Diploma are the minimum educational level. The industry partners will determine level of education acceptable for successful employment.
7. What is the state of the art for Technology Topic 3 – navigating a crowded workspace? There seems to be commercial solutions that meet this project call. What is different with the commercial products from the outcome desired for this topic?
Our focus in this project is the development or advancement of solutions that work well in the presence of people walking around. Commercial solutions tend to isolate people from the robots.
1. Will a proposal be given preference if it has a higher cost share ratio?
Cost and cost share are not scored, but will be considered as part of the overall value proposition of the proposal. The higher the cost share ratio, the higher the overall value proposition of the proposal.
2. Do cost matching funds need to be unique — that is, you can’t count the same dollars as cost share for membership and for a project?
No, the cost share for a project can cover the cost share required by the membership. For example, if your organization was given a $500K project award, the minimum cost share would be $500K. This could also be used to cover the required cost share for the membership level.
3. Are stipends during training an allowed cost?
They are allowable, but not recommended. Initial funding should help create the program. Ongoing expenses such as wages need to have their own funding stream in order to maintain a sustainable and potentially scalable project. Such stipends may be counted as cost share, as long as they follow the ARM cost share guidelines.
4. We would like to offer one of our manufacturing facilities as the testbed for an ARM project, which includes setting up the project there, performing the experiments, and final demoing. Does this contribution of providing the facility counts towards the cost share?
Use of facilities, including use of space, equipment and associated resources directly on the project can be counted as cost share, in accordance with the ARM cost share guidelines and that meet the requirements of 32 CFR §37.530. Likewise, facilities and administration costs that are embedded within the proposer’s indirect costs or fees can count towards cost share. If embedded F&A costs are counted as cost share, those costs then cannot be double-counted also as direct costs.
5. Can federal dollars be budgeted to purchase equipment?
Federal dollars for projects through ARM cannot be used to purchase equipment.
6. Do we need a commitment letter from the industry partners for the cost match at this stage? The RFP requires the letters for the proposal, but there is no mention for the concept papers.
Commitment letters from team partners are not required at the Concept Paper stage. However, the cost and cost share estimate should be based on a clear commitment from the team partners in order to be positioned for a full proposal.
7. What are the indirect cost percentages for ARM proposals? Do indirect costs apply to the ARM budget?
Yes, federally approved indirect costs apply to project budgets submitted to ARM. Indirect rates of the specific organization is doing the work apply, regardless of whether they are a lead or a subcontractor on the project team. You should contact your organization’s business manager to obtain the correct indirect rate. For some organizations, such as universities, their federally approved rates depend on the source of funding. Since the source of funding of ARM is through the U.S. Department of Defense, the appropriate indirect cost rate will be a federal DoD-funded project rate.
1. Will there be additional project calls throughout the year? Any information on when the next round can be expected?
We expect to put out new project calls about every six (6) months, potentially even more frequently.
2. Are the proposal deadlines going to be similar for next year?
Yes, we expect for next year’s proposal deadlines to be similar, but we have not yet announced the dates for the next project call.
1. Is there a role for the RRICs in the project call process?
Absolutely! RRICs can help share information about our project call process with interested teams in their regions, and help members form teams to respond to the project call. All of the information needed to share our project call can be found at www.arminstitute.org/projects.
2. Will you make the slides from the Oct 16 2017 webinar available?
Yes, the slides and the webinar recording are available on our website at www.arminstitute.org/projects.
3. How can an 18 month project cycle speed automation to industry implementation?
The 12 month or 18 month project should be viewed as seed investment for work that will eventually be implemented in a commercial or defense setting. Project teams should have a technology transition path in mind to hone their goals.
4. By utilizing open-source software and open-source tools, how will ARM be able to keep the knowledge focused and centered around USA manufacturing and not world manufacturing?
Open source could help accelerate development of robotics manufacturing technology that will on the whole benefit U.S. manufacturing. However, the development of open source software is not a requirement. For example, software that is application specific may be chosen to not be designated as open source. On the other hand, more general robotics operating system software, tools and algorithms may fit well as open source. A proposed project may include a blend of open source software and proprietary software.
5. Is a goal to produce research or papers from the grant, or is it most important to develop novel, replicable business practices that can be used by others?
Technology projects will perform TRL/MRL 4-7 research and development through a subaward agreement, which is not a grant. The primary goal is not to produce papers; however, publications from the project may be one natural output as a consequence of success.
The primary goal of projects funded through the current Technology Project Call is to to solve specific technology thrusts and gaps in a particular area that provide a benefit to ARM industry members through successful technology transition. One way to help meet that goal is to create replicable technology solutions that can be used by others.
The goal of projects funded through the current Education/Workforce Development Project Call is to create innovations in education and/or training within apprenticeship programs that result in workers that achieve an approved ARM certification that is industry created and recognized, annually evaluated, and provides a revenue stream for both the apprentice coordinators and the ARM Institute.
6. We cannot do much in one year. What is the expectation in terms of the accomplishment level, in particular, for technology projects?
One should do a “year’s worth” of work in one year, with a goal of meeting expectations for the deliverables that are of benefit to ARM industry members. Teams should neither over-promise nor under-promise deliverables, as realism of effort will be assessed. A funded team may apply in a following Project Call for an extension of the project scope, assuming the project topic being addressed persists as a priority for ARM members.
7. Could you talk more about IP, especially software. What rights does a member company have to software created for a project call? What rights do other members have? Does a member company have to release source code to other members?
The IP rights are explained in detail in the ARM Membership Policies document that you received upon membership and whose terms are agreed to by all ARM member organizations. Please refer to section 3. Consortium-Developed IP includes source code developed within an ARM-funded project. For particular cases, such as background IP involved in an ARM-funded project, then the subaward may include an IP management plan, negotiated between the team and ARM.
If you have a specific question, please email it to ARM-FAQ@arminstitute.org and someone will respond to you directly.