Grants

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2017 Request for Proposals

 

SOAR Oregon (SOAR), a 501(c)(6) non-profit established to help make Oregon a leader in the civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry, is soliciting grant proposals for projects that will create UAS-related jobs or generate other UAS-related long-term economic activity in the state.

You may download the entire 2017 SOAR Oregon Grant RFP (PDF, 135kb), or read more below.  The PDF version is the official RFP document.  This online version is provided as a convenience to applicants.

Desired Outcomes
Guidelines
Grant Parameters
Grant Categories
Evaluation Criteria
Proposal Content Requirements
Submission Details and Deadline
Decisions and Awards
Questions / FAQ
Previously Awarded Grants

“UAS” is defined in the broadest possible sense to include all related or supporting technologies and all applications and uses built upon unmanned aerial technologies as well as educational endeavors.

“Oregon companies” include those in the Columbia Gorge or elsewhere whose operations cross state boundaries. Because grants come from state tax funds, the proposal must clearly document the benefit to Oregon.


Desired Outcomes

  • Economic development, including creating jobs and revenue
  • Expanding existing Oregon companies that support the UAS industry
  • Assisting Oregon companies in winning new contracts and grants that advance application and use of UAS
  • Recruiting UAS companies to perform testing of new vehicles, sensors, systems, and other applications of UAS in the state
  • Recruiting UAS companies to establish offices and facilities in the state and to initiate projects here
  • Generating UAS industry-leading applications that promote innovation
  • Creating educational programs and curricula in support of the UAS industry


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Guidelines

  • Priority will be given to those projects that have greatest overall benefit to economic development and job creation in the state.
  • Investments will be directed to incentivize and leverage spending by private enterprise and public entities.
  • Investments will be directed to those projects that have the greatest feasibility, cost-effectiveness, strategic importance, and impact.
  • Investments will be directed to those projects that are unique in concept or unique to Oregon, that are novel in terms of technology or application, or that create a technological or market differentiator for the state.
  • Preference will be given to projects that help the state increase operations at any or all of the three Oregon UAS test ranges that were included as part of the FAA UAS Test Site designation. See http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=75399 for details.


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Grant Parameters

  • Grants typically range from $25,000 to $75,000, though smaller and larger requests will be considered.
  • We also offer grants of up to $3,000 for grant-writing assistance as outlined in the Grants Categories section below.
  • Larger grants will be considered if they achieve proportionately greater results, such as establishing a long-term R&D project in the state, a major presence of a UAS developer/manufacturer in the state, or a similar high-value economic development opportunity.
  • Match should be at a minimum 3:1; that is to say, $3 from outside sources to every $1 from SOAR. Match can include direct match, follow-on funding, or in-kind contributions. Match can originate from private or public sources.  However, funds originating from State of Oregon sources are not eligible to fulfill this requirement.  SOAR/public/private cost share is encouraged.
  • Proposals below this match ratio will be considered if the projects can demonstrate significant, direct economic benefit and/or jobs growth.
  • “Leverage” will be evaluated according to the size and nature of other contributions, the number of jobs or other economic activity to be created, and the partnerships involved.
  • All funding decisions are ultimately at the discretion of the SOAR Oregon and its Board of Directors.


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Grant Categories

The goal of this RFP is to solicit as many UAS-related projects in as broad a fashion as possible. All submissions will be considered. The areas of greatest interest to SOAR are:

Precision Agriculture: Development and implementation of commercial applications, wherein UAS will be used for evaluating field conditions, crop health, disease, and resource applications (e.g. water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides). Preference will be given to applications of specific value to Oregon farmers and crops.

Industry Development and Recruitment: Projects that will lead to significant expansion of existing UAS businesses in the state or that bring outside manufacturers, prime contractors, or other businesses to Oregon to develop new UAS or UAS-related systems, creating new long-term investment.

Development of New or Improved UAS Systems: Additionally, ground-based UAS sense and avoid, traffic and airspace management, and voice communication (e.g. UAS pilot to air traffic management) systems will be considered.

Public Safety, Fire/Emergency Response: This includes early fire detection, forest and rangeland firefighting, urban firefighting, search and rescue, law enforcement, and any other uses by first responders. Preference will be given to projects that have the greatest potential for saving lives and property and reducing costs.

Natural Resources Management: Applications that will help Oregon become a national leader in the use of UAS in forest, range, water use and conservation, extractive resource applications such as mining, gas, oil, and wildlife applications, environmental monitoring, that will improve the science results achieved by Oregon researchers, and that have the greatest potential to reduce costs.

All Other Commercial Applications: UAS are being used in more than one hundred different applications. SOAR is seeking innovative uses of particular value to Oregon.

Educational Initiatives: The success of any emerging technology will be impacted by the availability of effective educational and learning programs. SOAR is seeking projects and programs that will directly impact UAS technologies or generate a skilled UAS workforce through related education, research, training and teaching at all grade levels.

Grant-writing Assistance: Funding is available to help Oregon businesses, universities, research centers, and agencies develop grant proposals for funding from other government entities or private foundations or to obtain government contracts. Typical of such grants are the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer grants. Assistance will include 1:1 matching funds for proposal writing, review, or development assistance; we will pay up to $3,000 in grant-writing assistance for each grant.


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Evaluation Criteria

SOAR believes that providing the following general criteria as part of the RFP process encourages the development of proposals and projects appropriate to the mission of the SOAR grants program. SOAR reserves the right to evaluate proposals on additional or alternative criteria not enumerated here.

  • Proposer qualifications
    • Documented business case and/or business plan
    • Legal to operate in Oregon
    • Demonstrated experience and expertise in proposed activity areas
    • Has obtained, or will obtain appropriate flight authorizations (as required)
  • Analysis of outcomes
    • Job creation and resultant operational or business activity
    • Benefits to UAS industry within the State of Oregon beyond direct impact to grant recipient
    • Probability of success
    • Timeline for results
      • Longer-term and larger grant projects will be evaluated favorably if they generate quantifiable, substantial, long-term economic benefit to the involved communities.
      • Short-term projects will be evaluated favorably if the project generates rapid, direct economic benefit to the involved communities or results in new, sustainable jobs.
    • Other revenue streams and resultant operational or business activity (i.e. other economic activity generated by the use of the grant award)
  • Visibility
    • Promotion of public interest / public good
    • Oregon UAS industry PR value
  • Grant requirements & purpose
    • Funding leverage and match. Match can include direct match, follow-on funding, or in-kind contributions.  Match can originate from private or public sources.  However, funds originating from State of Oregon sources are not eligible to fulfill this requirement.  SOAR/public/private cost share is encouraged.
    • Funding source credibility and certification of funds
    • Percentage of work performed in Oregon
    • Activity at Test Ranges


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Proposal Content Requirements

Proposals should clearly and comprehensively describe the project and the expected business value that will be returned to the State of Oregon. Please include all information you think will be useful in evaluating your proposal, while being as brief as possible.

We envision that responses to this request will range in length from two to ten pages, commensurate with the level of support requested. 

SOAR will endeavor to keep all information related to a submission confidential.  However, do not include any proprietary business or technical information in initial submissions. Characterize a project without revealing competitive information. If SOAR accepts your submission or desires further detail, we will do so under a separate non-disclosure agreement.

Industry funding support proposals should include at least these sections:

  1. A Grant Summary of the proposal describing the high-level need, the expected benefit to the Requestor, and the type(s) of funding requested.  The Grant Summary should describe the projects or initiatives to be supported by the requested funding and/or labor and expected benefit by virtue of economic improvement or jobs created or other metric.
  1. A Prospectus of the Specific Tasks/Activities that the requested funding will support. This prospectus will indicate what activities the requested Grant is intended to support.
  1. Description of Project Timeline and Milestones which constitute substantial completion of each project stage.
  1. Team Construct which outlines management team, technical or operations team, and provides a brief summary of their qualifications. If you haven’t yet identified individuals for these positions, you need to identify the roles, at a minimum.
  1. Supporting Documents: Information regarding matching funding, team credentials, etc. may be attached to the proposal as appendices. It is at the discretion of the proposer as to whether to submit these documents as part of the proposal or to provide them if requested during the due diligence phase of grant awards.


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Other

  • SOAR has the discretion to approve or deny applications.
  • All awards are subject to approval by SOAR’s Board of Directors.
  • The payment schedule for awards will be subject to the completion of reasonable milestones.
  • If the proposal includes funding from other sources, then reasonable proof of the other funding will be required.
  • SOAR will not share information about a proposal with other submitters or the public.
  • The award will expire within twelve months if the work has not been completed, unless the award has been explicitly extended in writing by SOAR.
  • A synopsis of awards and associated funding will be publicly disclosed to Business Oregon. This synopsis will include recipient name and award amount.
  • This RFP is not a commitment by SOAR to fund projects. Funds for this round may be rolled forward to a future RFP if there are insufficient projects selected.


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Submission Details and Deadline

Submission should be a single electronic file (preferably PDF) as an email attachment, in standard letter size with one-inch or greater margins; single-spaced in 12-point font. Proposal should include the name of the submitter and point of contact, with telephone number, email address, and other relevant contact information.

RFPs must be submitted electronically to: Earl Bowerman, Executive Director, SOAR Oregon, at grants@soaroregon.com. The subject line should read “Grant Request <<Your Company Name>>.

Requests will be reviewed in the sequence they are received. Proposals will be reviewed the first week of every month. Please make sure to submit by the end of the prior month to be considered in the next round of review.

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Decisions and Awards

An accepted and approved submission will result in a Grant Contract between the Requestor and SOAR Oregon.

The Grant Request submitted by the Requestor will constitute the Funding Statement of Work (SOW) between the Requestor and SOAR. The SOW will be incorporated into all Award Contracts between SOAR and the Requestor.

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Questions / FAQ

Q. When is a submission due in order to have it reviewed in the first week of the month?
A. The due date is 11:59pm, Pacific time, the last day of the month.

Q. Does the 3:1 match requirement mean we must provide $3 for every $1 from SOAR, or vice versa?
A. The match requires $3 for every $1 from SOAR.  Match can include direct match, follow-on funding, or in-kind contributions. Match can originate from private or public sources.  However, funds originating from State of Oregon sources are not eligible to fulfill this requirement.  SOAR/public/private cost share is encouraged.

Q. Can you guarantee that my proposal is reviewed by (date)?
A. We reserve the right to defer evaluation to the following month if we have not received a sufficient number of proposals in any one category.  If you proposal is time-sensitive, please speak with us prior to submitting an application.

If you have any questions, please email grants@soaroregon.com.  You may also submit inquiries using the form below.

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