The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is preparing to publish one or more Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in fiscal year 2017. The intent of the NOFO is to add capabilities to the MEP system to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the MEP national network which will help solve new and emerging manufacturing problems and capture new opportunities. The responses to the questions below are intended to assist NIST in developing one or more NOFO.
Responses will be accepted by email only. Responses must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “MEP Competitive Awards Program RFI Responses.”
NIST will accept responses to this request for information until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 13, 2017.
Respondents need not reply to all questions; however, they should clearly indicate the number of each question to which they are responding. Brevity is appreciated. No confidential proprietary information, business identifiable information or personally identifiable information should be submitted in response to this Request for Information (RFI), as all responses received by the deadline may be made publicly available without change at www.nist.gov/mep/.
To see the full RFI, visit the official page: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/14/2016-30009/request-for-information-on-identification-of-new-capabilities-needed-by-the-hollings-manufacturing.
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NIST is seeking information that responds to one or more of the questions listed below. Responses should clearly indicate which question is being addressed.
(1) What are the key problems and issues facing small U.S. manufacturers and their competitiveness and opportunities for growth in the near-term (1 to 2 years), mid-term (3 to 5 years) and/or long-term (more than 5 years)?
(2) What advanced manufacturing technologies are and/or will be needed by small U.S. manufacturers for the companies to be competitive and grow in the global marketplace in the near-term (1 to 2 years), mid-term (3 to 5 years) and/or long-term (more than 5 years)?
(a) What would be the appropriate Manufacturing Readiness Level  or Technology Readiness Level  for those technologies in order for small U.S. manufacturers to consider adoption?
(b) What information will be required for small U.S. manufacturers to understand a technology or related group of technologies and the risks and opportunities associated with making or not making an investment in any given technology?
(c) How is the information about advanced manufacturing technologies best delivered to small U.S. manufacturers and/or MEP Centers that support those small U.S. manufacturers?
(3) What technologies and/or business models are important to small U.S. manufacturers as they choose and participate in any particular supply chain?
(4) What complementary business services, including information services, are and/or will be needed by small U.S. manufacturers and/or MEP Centers to take full advantage of advanced manufacturing technologies at the company or supply chain level?
(5) Are there any other critical issues that NIST MEP should consider in its strategic planning for future investments that are not covered by the first four questions?