[Protest of NIH Contract Award]

B-208214: Sep 23, 1983

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

A firm protested the award of a contract to another firm under a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The RFP called for the development, maintenance, and distribution of a nucleic acid sequence data bank under a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The protester contended that: (1) the NIH staff improperly downgraded its final proposal based on considerations not encompassed by the evaluation criteria set forth in the solicitation; (2) the evaluators' written comments regarding its final proposal reflected their consideration of the factors not included in the evaluation criteria; (3) the awardee listed two co-principal investigators when the RFP required that a single principal investigator head the project; (4) the awardee's data collection capability was not properly evaluated since a subcontractor was to perform this function and no subcontract had been entered into at the time of the evaluation; (5) the awardee's use of an NIH computer system constituted an unfair competitive advantage; and (6) NIH failed to evaluate the cost of the awardee's proposed use of a particular computer network. GAO found that: (1) an agency may apply factors in its evaluation not specifically identified as evaluation criteria so long as they are reasonable; (2) the evaluators' comments were intended to call the contracting officer's attention to the need for precise contracting language, not for downgrading the protester's proposal; (3) one of the awardee's two co-principal investigators was designated the principal investigator and the other project manager; (4) the awardee submitted a proposal prepared by its tentative subcontractor; (5) the awardee's use of an NIH computer system was not an unfair advantage; and (6) NIH did not fail to evaluate the cost of the awardee's proposed use of the computer network. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

Jan 21, 2021

Jan 19, 2021

Jan 14, 2021

Looking for more? Browse all our products here