Monthly Archives: May 2013

NIST Announces Plan to Sponsor First Cybersecurity FFRDC

To help the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) address industry’s needs most efficiently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced its intention to sponsor its first Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC).

The FFRDC mechanism will allow a nonprofit organization to support the NCCoE, which was established in partnership with the state of Maryland and Montgomery County in February 2012. Today’s announcement in the Federal Register* is the first of three required, and will be followed by a solicitation for proposals to manage the FFRDC in the fall of 2013. This will be the first FFRDC solely dedicated to enhancing the security of the nation’s information systems.

The NCCoE is a public-private collaboration that helps businesses secure their data and digital infrastructure by bringing together experts from industry, government and academia to find practical solutions for today’s most pressing cybersecurity needs. Last week, the center announced formal partnerships with 11 private industries.**

Read entire article here.


Review of President’s Budget Request

Centurion Research Solutions analyzed the President’s budget request and identified key areas for agencies interested in pursuing federal government contracts, e.g. VA, Cybersecurity, and Healthcare IT.

Watch the short video here.

You can access the fiscal year 2014 Presidential budget request here.

If you are an ASU staff or faculty member interested in a copy of the Centurion report you can request one from or log in to Centurion and request a copy.

Compliance matrix

In large, complex applications (bids, proposals, grant applications, etc.) it is often necessary to map the solicitation’s requirements to your submission. This is easily done using a compliance matrix. While there is an industry standard for creating these and many, many software applications that can used – smaller academic proposals may not need such grandiose efforts. A compliance matrix can be very handy for internal reviews too.

I find compliance matrices are best used when the solicitation requires a specific narrative structure that may be repetitive or overly complex, e.g., Department of Energy. This circumstance is rather rare in my work, but does occur. You should create your compliance matrix as part and parcel of your pink or red team review matrix – at the beginning of the effort. This a lot of time. A compliance matrix will be at a higher level than the pink and red team evaluation matrix and focus more (if not exclusively) on content organization (as opposed to actual content). Each matrix can exist independently of one another.

For example, a section of your narrative may require that you describe your personnel qualifications to include their years of experience, number of degrees, and the quality of their past leadership experience. This is a requirement that the pink and red team can (and should) evaluate. The compliance matrix will only indicate where the personnel qualifications are enumerated in the draft, e.g., the personnel section and the past performance section. So, they are related, but have different objectives and audiences. While you can construct the compliance matrix to emphasize the quality of your response (content focused), don’t over do it. Using the above example, you could add that  “The team has over 100 years of experience in the field, 18 advanced degrees, and 50 years of management experience” and then give them the proposal section and page number. I would only advise you to remember that the reviewer really needs a map – your pitch should reside primarily in the narrative.

Finally, fitting a matrix into a final submission can be tricky if every page counts. I usually put the matrix following an abbreviated table of contents, which allows reviewers with different reading styles to navigate the document according to their needs.

I have only created compliance matrices in Word tables and I have only done them by hand (along with my pink and red team evaluation matrices and shell documents). I find that it is a fantastic way to internalize your document organization, but it does take time to complete. Ultimately, that initial investment in time is worth it. Here’s an example of a compliance matrix:

FOA Merit Review Criteria

Proposal Section(s)

Proposal Page #(s)

Appendix #

Qualifications and Resources (QR) – Adequacy of the capabilities, experience, qualifications, and credentials of key personnel.




QR – Collaborative partnership can perform both function areas




QRAdequacy of the existing infrastructure and resources




QRAdequacy of applicant’s site access plan and intellectual property framework




What’s your trick of the trade when completing compliance matrices?

Will Business Step In to End a Sequester-Driven Research Funding Gap?

By now we’re all painfully aware of the federal government’s across-the-board cutbacks on discretionary spending–better known as the sequester–and how it has imperiled publicly funded scientific research in the U.S. The only thing less clear than the sequester’s long-term impact on academia, industry and the economy is how to end its austerity measures, which could last through 2021.


A group of science and technology pundits on Tuesday posited some potential approaches to overcoming the sequester during a teleconference hosted by the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies (C-PET). Based on their suggestions, however, we’ll be living with the current budget cuts for some time.

A predominant question is how to make up for shortfalls in funding for early stage research. Industry, which has long benefitted from publicly funded research, could be encouraged to make up for the government’s lack of early stage funding by investing more in the R&D it ultimately uses to sell its products, C-PET president Nigel Cameron noted during Tuesday’s teleconference. Apple, which ended its most recent earnings period with $145 billion in cash, “is sitting on more money than the federal government spends on all of its discretionary R&D combined,” Cameron added. In essence, industry could, for a time, begin to freight the bill for earlier stages of the R&D process, not necessarily a significant burden as most investment occurs later on when bringing products to market.

Read entire article here.

New Coalition Established to Increase Science Giving

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has announced the creation of a coalition of funders that aims to double philanthropic support for basic science over the next ten years.

The seven members of the group — the Kavli, Gordon and Betty Moore, Alfred P. Sloan, W.M. Keck, and Simons foundations, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement — seek to boost to $8 billion the amount given annually by philanthropic organizations ($4 billion) and individual donors ($4 billion) in support of basis scientific research, USA Today reports.

Read entire link here.