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The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

R&D Contracts (BAA)

The ADL Initiative contracts with external vendors and academic institutions to perform some research and development tasks.

Broad Agency Announcement

The ADL Initiative uses a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) contracting mechanism to solicit and award external R&D contracts. The U.S. Government uses BAAs to award contracts for basic and applied research and advanced technology development (so called, budget activities 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3). The ADL Initiative primarily uses our BAA to contract for Advanced Technology Development (budget activity 6.3).

Our official BAA solicitation is posted on FedBizOpps. It lists general areas of interest. Each year, we also identify more refined research targets, which are listed on this page (below).

ADL Initiative BAA Solicitation on FedBizOpps

How to Participate

Businesses and academic institutions may submit project ideas for consideration. The official FedBizOpps link includes full participation details, and a summary is provided below for convenience. (If a conflict exists between this summary and the directions on FedBizOpps, defer to the FedBizOpps guidance.)

Step 1: Quad Charts (optional but recommended)

You can start at any point in this process, but we recommend you submit a quad-chart, first. Quad-charts let you pitch ideas quickly, and if we believe the idea has merit, fits our mission, and can be potentially funded then we'll request a more detailed white paper. You can use this template for your quad charts: Quad Chart Template.

Step 2: White Papers (optional but recommended)

If the ADL Initiative is interested in your quad-chart submission, the Government may request a corresponding White Paper. These are due within 30 days of request. You are encouraged to contact the ADL Initiative to discuss project ideas prior to White Paper submission. Offerors may use their own format for the White Paper, but are encouraged to consider Heilmeier's Catechism as part of their organizing structure.

Step 3: Full Proposals

After White Paper review, offerors may be asked to submit a Formal Proposal. These should include detailed technical and management plans, pricing data, execution timelines, and a proposed statement of work. After receiving a formal request for proposals, offerors have 30 days to submit the document. Once a proposal is requested, open discussions with ADL Initiative personnel are no longer permitted other than with explicit Contracting Officer involvement and oversight. Offerors will be notified of the award decision within 4–6 months of Proposal submission.

FY19 Focused Research Areas

The ADL Initiative conducts R&D in areas relevant to distributed learning, such as e-learning, m-learning, learning theory, web-based virtual worlds and simulations, learning analytics and performance modeling, and interoperability infrastructure. We're always seeking new ideas in these areas; however, based upon requirements collection and strategic guidance, we periodically identify particular topics of interest. In other words, we are especially interested in R&D projects that help meet these topics of interest (to be published at later date) but remain open to other good ideas, so long as they fall within our mission.