What are the required Registrations?
If you’re just starting a business and have never submitted a proposal to the federal government before you will be surprised by the number of registrations that must be completed before you can submit your DOE Phase I SBIR/STTR application. There are 7 registrations in total. This fact alone could be a deterrent to going any further – unless the path can be simplified. So let’s take a stab at doing that.
You will need to register with the following seven systems.
- Portfolio Analysis and Management System (PAMS)
- Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System
- System for Award Management (SAM)
- Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Sub-Award Reporting System (FSRS)
- US Small Business Administration (SBA)
The truth of the matter is that there is nothing enjoyable about the task of completing on-line registrations. The only redeeming fact is that many of these registrations will only need to be done once. However, that said, many of the registrations, such as SAM and grants.gov are time sensitive and depend upon having secured information from previous required registrations.
If you are a researcher working for a small business, before you begin to complete these registrations check with the business office in your company to see which registrations may already be in place and save yourself some time. Let’s assume for sake of discussion that you have none of these registrations completed. Where should you begin?
In order to submit an SBIR/STTR Phase I proposal application to the Department of Energy, you must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). In order to do that you must have registered with PAMS – the Portfolio Analysis and Management System as this is the vehicle through which the LOI is submitted. Therefore, the first system with which you should register is PAMS. Review the online Phase 0 demo showing you how to register with PAMS. The whole process should take no more than 10 minutes. Although PAMS will ask for a DUNS number and an employer identification number (EIN), these are not necessary in order to register with PAMS – so register with PAMS first.
Securing a DUNS number is also an easy task – the registration process will take about 5 minutes and in a few days you will have your DUNS number – so take care of that next. There is also a Phase 0 demo showing you how to secure a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), accompanying this tutorial. To secure an employer Identification number you can register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) is a requirement for any contractor who works with the federal government. If you are not registered with SAM you cannot get paid. The SAM registration process can take up to 6 weeks as well so this is also something you should also take care of early in the proposal preparation process.
With SAM, once you start the registration process you will receive a notification saying that an account has been set up – but don’t be fooled – setting up an account is NOT the same thing as being registered with SAM.
Be sure to look for an e-mail from SAM and then activate your account so that you can complete the registration process. You will need your DUNS number and Employer Identification number in order to complete the application process. You will receive an Marketing partner Identification Number (MPIN) when you complete the registration process. As you will need the MPIN in the future –keep it handy. Your SAM account will need to be updated annually.
People handle registrations in different ways – some people set aside a chunk of time and barrel through them. While others such as myself do a few at a time. Depending on the type of person you are you might want to continue with the registrations on another day or continue on to the next required registrations.
The next system to tackle is grants.gov. There are many subtleties with the grants.gov system that are counter-intuitive. For example, you can’t download an application package until the DOE SBIR FOA is released. Downloading a package to work with is not the same thing as registering with the grants.gov system – so make sure that you do both – download the package and register with grants.gov. An individual in your firm that you identify as the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must register with grants.gov using the link provided. Once this has been done an e-mail will be sent to the E-Business point of contact listed in SAM who must in turn approve the AOR registration in grants.gov using their MPIN from the SAM registration.
As mentioned in Tutorial 18 be sure to make ample use of the document that DOE provides entitled “Instructions for Completing a DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I Grant Application”. This explains in great detail how you complete the DOE Phase I SBIR or STTR proposal application package after downloading it from grants.gov. As an aside, when working with grants.gov – I keep the help desk numbers close by and I never hesitate to call them when I have a question.
The next few registrations are easy. So let’s move on to FedConnect, FSRS, and the SBA registrations. The FedConnect registration can only be done after you have secured a DUNS number and the MPIN number that you secured previously when you registered with SAM. If you win an award, the full and binding version of the assistance agreement between your institution and the Department of Energy will be posted on FedConnect. The next registration to complete is with FSRS – the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Sub-award Reporting System. Registration with this system is also required for awards. To register for this you will need your DUNS number. You will also need this number when you complete your company registration with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
As you complete each registration make sure that you record the information that you will need in the future to access each of these sites. You will always need your ID and passwords for each URL, as well as your DUNS, EIN, and MPIN numbers. Another number that you may need is a NAICS code. NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. These are self-assigned designations used by a company to identify the type of products or services you provide. A company can have multiple NAICS. Keep all of this information available in one easily, located spot.