Event FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions for:

Tech Challenges

How do tech challenges work?

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Who is eligible to participate in ERDCWERX tech challenges?

Industry, academia, national labs, individual innovators, and other parties are invited to apply for consideration. ERDCWERX tech challenges do not require that the applicant be certified to do business with the federal government. If registration in SAM.gov is a requirement, it will be specifically stated in the solicitation.

What is a Capability Assessment?

Capability assessments are a type of tech challenge in which ecosystem contacts and market research are utilized to invite submissions to solve a specific problem identified by government stakeholders.

Does it cost anything to submit for a tech challenge?

There is no cost associated with a submission to ERDCWERX for tech challenges.

How are participants selected from among the applications/submissions received?

Submissions are solicited and accumulated by ERDCWERX. Upon closing of the submission timeframe, a team established by and including a representative of our government partner (ERDC) will evaluate and conduct the downselect. This will determine which of the submitting parties will then be invited by ERDCWERX to participate in a virtual pitch, demonstration, or direct engagement with ERDC.

Do tech challenges involve prize awards or other recognition for those receiving the top scores?

ERDCWERX tech challenges may, at times, involve a funding prize award or other form of recognition. This will vary based on the requirements of the individual project. If needed, ERDCWERX may offer a subcontracting opportunity with the top performers in support of physical presentation or other deliverables.

How can I find out about future tech challenges from ERDCWERX?

We encourage interested parties to join the ERDCWERX ecosystem and follow ERDCWERX on social media to learn about tech challenges and other project opportunities.

Broad Other Transaction Authority Announcement (BOTAA)

How does the prototype agreement process work?

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Prototype Agreement Process

What is the definition of a prototype project?

The definition of a “prototype project” in the context of an OT is as follows: a prototype project addresses proof of concept, model, reverse engineering to address obsolescence, pilot, a novel application of commercial technologies for defense purposes, agile development activity, creation, design, development, demonstration of technical or operational utility, or combinations of the foregoing. A process, including a business process, may be the subject of a prototype project.

What is an OT and how do government entities use them?

Other Transactions (OTs) are a special class of assistance instrument used to increase the involvement of commercial firms in defense research and development programs and for other purposes related to integrating the commercial and defense sectors of the nation’s technology and Industrial  Base. It is the intent to provide an effective means for the Government to engage with non-traditional, traditional, and non-profit research institutions and entities to streamline access and investments for mission-critical capabilities.

Is ERDCWERX a consortium?  

No. ERDCWERX provides U.S. Army Engineer Research and  Development Center (ERDC) the capability to advertise and solicit prototype opportunities. Any resulting agreement is made directly with the offeror and the government.

What are the current project opportunities/requirements?  

Prototype opportunities will be announced through the ERDCWERX platform and/or through SAM.gov. New tech challenges are also announced through this platform as well.

How are notifications issued regarding new business opportunities?   

Prototype opportunities will be posted via ERDCWERX platform. Email, social media, and/or through SAM.gov may issue announcements. 

Can my organization pursue multiple prototype focus areas listed? 

Yes. Organizations can indicate which focus area to which their white paper applies. They can also indicate which of the prototype focus areas may be a fit with their organization’s capabilities.

Are a Unique Entity ID and CAGE code required to join the ERDCWERX ecosystem?   

Unique Entity ID and CAGE code are NOT a requirement for joining the ERDCWERX ecosystem. However, they are required to perform work with the U.S. government. Registration at SAM.gov will be required prior to the award of any OT agreement.

How do I get a Unique Entity ID and CAGE code?

To learn how to view your Unique Entity ID or get a Unique Entity ID, click here. To receive a CAGE code, register to do business with the government at SAM.gov.

How is an OT agreement different from a FAR contract?

Other Transactional Agreements are flexible contracting mechanisms outside of the purview of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Please view the OT Guide for additional detail.

What is a Prototype Other Transaction (OT)?   

Prototype OTs are authorized by 10 U.S.C. 4022. Transactions pursuant to this authority can take many forms and generally are not required to comply with Federal laws and regulations that apply to procurement contracts, grants and/or cooperative agreements. To the extent that a particular law or regulation is not tied to the type of instrument used (e.g., fiscal and property laws), it would generally apply to an OT.

Will all ERDC OT (Other Transactions) opportunities be competed?


What is the difference between a Broad OTA Announcement (BOTAA) and a Project Specific Prototype Request?

The BOTAA allows white paper submissions in response to the stated focus areas at any time. Project Specific Prototype Requests allow white paper submissions in response to a specific need or capability gap for a limited time.

We are interested in sharing our capabilities. Is there a Program Manager to speak with?

Please submit a white paper online in accordance with the BOTAA to begin the review process.

Are there general orders of magnitude and/or timeframes on the website?

No. There are no general orders of magnitude and/or timeframes. Any and all white paper solutions that correspond with one or more of the focus areas identified are desired.

Is there a deadline for submission in response to the BOTAA?

No. The BOTAA is an open and continuous announcement. White Papers may be submitted at any time.

Are the maturity levels (TRL/MRL) of proposed solutions to the required focus areas expected to be at some minimum level?

No. There are no established minimum maturity levels required. Any and all white paper solutions that correspond with one or more of the focus areas identified are desired.

Is cost share a requirement to participate?

If the prime offeror is a nontraditional defense contractor (NTDC) or if the prime is a traditional defense contract (TDC) that proposes a solution including significant participation with an NTDC, cost share is not required to participate. 

Do Cost Accounting Standard (CAS) requirements apply to my small business?

Contracts with small businesses are exempt from CAS.

Does our company need to obtain a Unique Entity ID, CAGE code and be registered in SAM to submit a white paper?

No. There is no requirement to have a Unique Entity ID, CAGE code, or be registered in SAM to submit a white paper. However, this must be done prior to receiving an award from the Federal government. To obtain a Unique Entity ID, click here. Once a Unique Entity ID is issued, create an account through the System for Award Management (SAM) at SAM.gov. SAM will send your entity information to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for CAGE Code assignment. Foreign entities must register for an NCAGE Code prior to creating an account through SAM.

Is it acceptable to propose that ERDC testing facilities may be used to conduct certain tests of the prototypes?


What information should be included in the “data rights assertions” section of the white paper?

All information pertaining to anticipated licensing, data, patent, and/or copyright assertions that may need further negotiating prior to award should be discussed in this section.

What should be included as supporting documentation in the ROM section? Would a brief narrative that explains the estimated price suffice?  

Yes, a brief narrative is sufficient. If the white paper is selected, a full-price proposal will be requested.

Can a white paper be submitted under more than one focus area? 


It is said that “proposals with detailed artwork are not desired…” Can we still include sketches to explain better the concepts being proposed?

Yes. However, the white paper shall be no more than three pages.

On the focus area section, do we need to explain our selection of the focus areas? or, would it be enough to just enlist the focus areas that we think the proposed solution represents?

There is no requirement to explain your selection of focus areas.

Do you have an idea of when funding may be available if a white paper is selected? Or do you know how long this white paper will stay in the electronic library?

There is no estimated timeframe for funding availability. White papers are maintained in the electronic library for up to three years after submission. If during the three-year availability funding does become available, the Agreements Officer will send a Request for Prototype Proposal.

Does the white paper have to be submitted through ERDCWERX?

Yes, all submissions must be made through ERDCWERX so they can be processed in accordance with the BOTAA. 

Has ERDC awarded prototypes using the ERDCWERX process?

Yes. To date, several prototype other transactions have been awarded.

Are foreign entities eligible for an award under this announcement?

Due to the nature of this program, Clause 252.225-7048 will be included in any resulting award. Per 252.225-7048, the Contractor shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding export-controlled items, including, but not limited to, the requirement for contractors to register with the Department of State in accordance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The Contractor shall consult with the Department of State regarding any questions relating to compliance with the ITAR and shall consult with the Department of Commerce regarding any questions relating to compliance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Therefore, it would be upon the individual entity to ensure compliance.

What does “selected’’ mean?

“Selected” means your solution has been determined to meet all the white paper requirements set forth in the announcement and is potentially advantageous to the Military Engineering mission. Please note: Selection of a white paper does not guarantee funding will become available. If funding does become available, a Request for Prototype  Proposal will be sent by the Agreement Officer.

Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO)

This section contains general questions as well as questions for individual program requirements.

How does the CSO process work?

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Commercial Solutions Opening Process

What is a “validity” date?

The validity date tells the Government how long an entity’s proposal is valid. The CSO requires pricing to be valid for a minimum of 90 days.

What cost elements does the Government desire in the cost submission?

Initial submission pricing can be high-level estimates because the Government does not intend to require more information than is completely necessary for a preliminary evaluation. The total for the solution being submitted is required. If the submission represents multiple years of effort, a yearly estimate is preferred. More detailed pricing will be requested if the solution is selected to proceed for an award.

Can a university be the prime recipient of the contract, and if not, can a university be a subcontractor?

A university can be the recipient or a subcontractor of an award resultant from a solution submission. Note that the primary award vehicle is anticipated to be a contract, therefore entities will need to be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) for all awards. Additionally, the applicable DPAP Policy only permits fixed-price type awards.

Will CSO solicitations be offered as a small business, 8aSetaside, Full and Open or Direct Award?

All Commercial Solutions Openings are considered full and open solicitations.

Is the funding currently allocated? If not, can you provide an estimated allocation date?

The funding is allocated and ready for the award(s) should an acceptable solution be identified.

Can we propose a partial solution and then be matched with others to provide a total or do we need to team up with partners ahead of responding to provide a complete “total solution?”

Partial and total solutions will be considered.

Is there a submission deadline for Commercial Solutions Openings?

Each CSO is open continuously until the date stipulated. Solutions can be submitted at a time during the open period.

​What is an individual program requirement?

An individual program requirement is a standalone invitation for proposals with specific project needs of our government partner.

What should I include in a pitch deck when submitting to a CSO? What is the difference between a solution brief and a pitch deck?

Slides (pitch decks) are meant to act as a supporting document to the solution brief. The solution brief is a detailed proposal that drills down into the specifics of the solution being submitted. 

Are there formatting requirements for the CSO submission of solutions (i.e. margins, type font, rules for acronyms, etc.)?

There are no formatting requirements.

Is it acceptable to include multiple “Areas of Interest” in one single proposal response under the CSO solicitation as long as it is clearly identified to which areas of interest it includes? 

No. Only one area of interest may be selected as it pertains to your solution brief. Multiple solution briefs may be submitted.

If our submission is selected without funding and placed in the ERDC library, when we get selected how soon we can receive the fund? 

There is no set timeframe. If there is funding available for the ERDC project team to move forward, they will request a full proposal. They may select your solution pending funding, which would give ERDC the ability to put it in the virtual library in the event they identify funding in the future.

Should we propose the price in phases? 

Since this is your solution, the way you propose it and price it is up to you. If there is a way to price it in “phases,” it’s a good idea to present that in case the Government only has funding for a particular portion. Showing the price for various phases would offer flexibility. 

How soon does the delivery date or period of performance need to be completed? 

The solution is yours, which means you would propose the delivery date/performance period based on whatever your solution requires. If selected, there is an opportunity to collaborate on scope later in the process before submitting a full proposal. So, if the Government needs something by a particular date, it can communicate that at an appropriate point in the process.  

Is this opportunity specific for small business or can a big prime make a proposal with a small business in the team?

The CSOs are all full and open, so there are no restrictions on who can submit a solution.  

What is meant by “team member names” on the cover letter?

Team member names refers to the entities, not specific people or employees of the companies.  

What are the dollar values and Period of Performance (PoP) limits?

For any of the open continuous announcements, there are no limitations on dollar values and Period of Performance (PoP). The broad areas are intended to generate your novel and innovative ideas and solutions. If you don’t see something that specifically speaks to the funding available, dollar values limits, or PoP limits, then you are free to propose whatever aligns with your ideas.  

Can a foreign entity be eligible to submit as a prime?

Yes, foreign contractors are able to submit as primes.

Are multi-institution proposals with international collaborators eligible?

The Government anticipates awarding to a single prime offeror. However, the prime offeror is not limited on subcontracting or partnering with other entities. International collaborators may be eligible, depending on the solution proposed. Please note: To be a subrecipient of a grant or cooperative agreement, the entity must be able to obtain a full SAM registration for “All Awards” with the Financial Assistance certification.