RFP Instructions: MSRC Common Data Elements

The objective of this Request for Proposals is to fund the best overall secondary data analyses of the MSRC Common Data Elements (CDEs). Information regarding the MSRC CDEs can be found here.


  • The maximum period of performance is one year (Note: the period of performance cannot go beyond March 30, 2022).
  • The anticipated total budget for the secondary data analysis should not exceed $125,000. Indirect costs are to be budgeted in accordance with the organization’s negotiated rate.
  • All direct and indirect costs of any subaward must be included in the total direct costs of the primary award.
  • The MSRC cannot send funds directly to a Government entity. Proposals from DoD and VA PIs must include an extramural foundation partner such as Geneva, HJF, etc.
  • We anticipate a funding rate of approximately 16%.

Submission Guidelines and Requirements

  1. Proposals should be submitted no later than 11:59 pm EST on December 6, 2020. Submissions are to be made through our website: http://msrc.fsu.edu.rfp
  2. The proposal must be clear and legible. Documents must conform to the following guidelines:
    1. Type Font: 11 point or greater (Times New Roman is strongly recommended).
    2. Margins: Minimum of 1 inch on all sides.
    3. Spacing: Single space unless otherwise specified.
    4. Proposal must be submitted as one PDF or one PDF with appendices as a second PDF.  No more than 2 PDFs will be accepted.  Use the following file name format:
      RFP_CDE_PI Last Name_PI First Initial.PDF.

 Key Dates for the LOI, Proposal, and Approval Timeline:

Full Proposal
(Proposals are by invitation only)
Due: Sunday, December 6, 2020 11:59 PM EST
Independent Scientific Review of Proposals Due: January 22, 2021
Proposals and Scientific Reviews sent to MEAB for review Sent: January 25, 2020
Funding Decision Expected: February 2021
Contracting Expected: March 2021


Elements of the Proposal

  1. Project Narrative(limit 12 pages): The Project Narrative includes the body of the proposal. It should comply with the formatting guidelines at the beginning of the instructions.
    1. Background: Provide a brief statement of ideas and reasoning behind the proposed secondary data analyses of the MSRC Common Data Elements (CDEs).
    2. Personnel: Briefly state the qualifications of the PI(s) and key personnel to perform the described research. Briefly describe their roles on the project.
    3. Military Significance: Describe how the proposed study is responsive to improving scientific knowledge about suicidal behavior in the military that improves mental health outcomes of Service members.
    4. Objectives/Specific Aims/Hypotheses:Provide a description of the purpose and objectives of the study with detailed specific aims and/or study questions/hypotheses.
    5. Methods: Give details about the analyses to be run.
    6. Statistical Plan and Data Analysis: Describe the statistical model and data analysis plan with respect to the study objectives as appropriate to the type of study.
  2. Bibliography & References Cited (no page limit): List the references according to current APA or AMA format. Do not send or attach copies of articles in print.
  3. Supporting Documentation(no page limit):
    • Acronyms: Spell out all acronyms the first time they are used. One page following the proposal body is allocated to spell out acronyms, abbreviations and symbols.
    • Facilities, Existing Equipment, and Other Resources: Describe the facilities and equipment available for performance of the proposed project.
  4. Abstract(limit 1 page): Include the following:
    • Background: Present the ideas and reasoning behind the proposed work.
    • Objective/Hypothesis: State the objective/hypothesis to be tested. Provide a rationale for each objective/hypothesis.
    • Specific Aims: State the specific aims of the study.
    • Study Design: Briefly describe the analyses to be run.
    • Military Benefit: Briefly explain how the proposed project will have an immediate or potential long-term benefit to the Armed Forces, as distinguished from general advancement of knowledge in suicidology.
  5. Statement of Work (SOW) (limit 3 pages): The SOW should include specific goals and objectives that will be completed as well as milestones achieved for the prime site and all subawards. Investigators should include time for Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Human Research Protection Office review. 

    The PI and subawards (if applicable) are expected to meet the goals and milestones of the SOW.

  6. Research & Related Budget (no page limit): An estimate of the total research project cost, with a breakdown by category and year, must accompany each full proposal. All costs must be entered in U.S. dollars. Please use the provided “Detailed Cost Estimate Form” for the Budget.
    1. Personnel: The basis for labor costs should be predicated upon actual labor rates or salaries. Budget estimates may be adjusted upward to forecast salary or wage cost-of-living increases that will occur during the period-of-performance. The justification should separately identify and explain the ratio applied to base salary/wage for cost-of-living adjustments and merit increases in the budget justification.

      The qualifications of the site PI and the percentage of time that they and other professional personnel will devote to the research are important factors in selecting research proposals for funding. For each key staff member identified on the budget form, list the percentage of each appointment to be spent on this project with sufficient detail regarding their duties to justify the costs.

    2. Consultant Services: Regardless of whether funds are requested, the justification should include the names and organizational affiliations of all consultants. State the daily consultant fee, number of days per year, travel expenses, nature of the consulting effort, and why consultants are required for the proposed research project. A signed letter from the consultant should include a summary of their expertise, commitment to the project, their daily rate and number of days per years committed to the project and travel cost, if any.
    3. Equipment: It is DoD policy that all commercial and nonprofit recipients provide the equipment needed to support proposed research. In those rare cases where specific additional equipment is approved for commercial and non-profit organizations, such approved cost elements shall be separately negotiated.
    4. Materials and Supplies (Consumables): The justification supporting materials and supplies (consumable) costs should include a general description of expendable equipment and supplies. Individual supply costs in excess of $3,000 should be justified including a vendor quote. 
    5. Travel: The justification supporting travel costs should list the number of trips, number of people per trip, the destinations, and the purpose for all proposed travel annually. Estimate round trip fare and per diem costs for each trip.
      • Include travel costs for the PI(s) to present project progress at one MSRC sponsored, 1 day meeting. For planning purposes, it should be assumed the meeting will be held in the Denver area. These travel costs are in addition to those allowed for scientific meetings.
      • The number of trips funded for scientific meetings is limited to $1,800/year for attendance at one conference.
    6. Other Direct Costs:This section includes all other costs not specified elsewhere in the budget and could include publication costs, graduate tuition, ADP/Computer Services, fees, alterations/renovation and other miscellaneous costs. Please itemize by category and yearly cost.
      • Publication Costs: This section is self-explanatory.
      • ADP/Computer Services: This section is self-explanatory.
      • Equipment or Facility Rental/User Fees: This section is self-explanatory.
      • Alterations and Renovations: This section is self-explanatory.
      • Other Direct Costs (if applicable): Include other anticipated direct costs that are not specified elsewhere in the budget. Unusual or expensive items should be fully explained and justified.
    7. Subaward/Contractual Costs:The cost justification must include a description of services or materials that are to be awarded by subcontract or subaward. The following information must be provided on subawards:
      • Identification of the type of award to be used (e.g., contractor, sub-recipient cost or reimbursement);
      • Identification of the proposed subcontractor or subaward and an explanation of why and how the subcontractor or subward was selected.
    8. Direct Costs: This section is self-explanatory.
    9. Indirect Costs (overhead, general and administrative, and other): The federally negotiated rates will be accepted by DRI and FSU, who are subject to the regulations/requirements set forth in 2 CFR 200.331. You must submit your institution’s current negotiated rate and a link to where that rate can be verified. The most recent rates, dates of negotiation, base(s) and periods to which the rates apply should be disclosed along with a statement identifying whether the proposed rates are provisional or fixed. If negotiated forecast rates do not exist, provide sufficient detail regarding a determination that the costs included in the forecast rate are allocable according to applicable FAR/DFARS or OMB Circular provisions (see above). Commercial firms can also visit www.dcaa.mil for additional information on indirect rates. Disclosure should be sufficient to permit a full understanding of the content of the rate(s) and how it was established. If the budget includes subaward costs, the applicant institution may only calculate its own indirect costs on the first $25,000 of each subaward.
    10. Total Direct and Indirect Costs: This section is self-explanatory.
    11. Budget Justification: Organizations must provide sufficient detail and justification so that the MSRC can determine the proposed costs to be allocable and reasonable for the proposed research effort. Attach one file that addresses each of the cost elements proposed.

      The budget justification must include information for all budget periods.

  7. Research & Related Project/Performance Site Location(s) (no page limit): In a separate document include the names and addresses for each location where research will be performed for the proposal. Include resources available to conduct the project (e.g., Computer equipment, work space, secure storage space, laboratory or clinical space). Please note that each additional research site requesting funds will require a subcontract budget.
  8. Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (no page limit): Provide the following information for each senior/key person proposed on the project: full name, degree(s), position/title, department, organization name and full mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, and role on project. A current biographical sketch must be included for all key personnel.
  9. Support: Provide the previous (5 year)/current/pending support for all key personnel. The document should include the title of award, supporting agency, performance period, funding amount, level of effort in percentage or calendar months, brief description of project goals, and potential overlap.
  10. Attachments Provided by the MSRC:
  • Detailed Cost Estimate Form
  • Budget Justification Template
  • Biosketch Template
  • PCPS Template
  • Statement of Work (SOW) Template
  • Abstract Template

Submissions are now closed.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Gronau at Karen.Gronau@va.gov.