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R -- Systems Dynamic Modeling

Notice Date
Notice Type
Sources Sought
541720 — Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities
Contracting Office
Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 105, Bethesda, Maryland, 20894, United States
ZIP Code
Solicitation Number
Point of Contact
Sally Boakye, Phone: 301-496-6546
E-Mail Address
Small Business Set-Aside
Total Small Business
This Sources Sought Notice is for informational and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation or commitment by the Government. This notice is intended strictly for Market Research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is conducting a market survey to help determine the availability and technical capability of qualified small businesses, veteran-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and/or HUBZone small businesses capable of serving the needs identified below. Background Information In 2007, the OBSSR at the NIH in collaboration with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded the Collaborative Obesity Modeling Network (COMNet). COMNet was designed to convene modeling groups from around the world (United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia) who were already developing statistical and computational models for obesity. The groups have convened four times with the purpose of purpose learning about one another's models. Although many valuable lessons have been learned through these meetings, funds for modeling work was not available. What has been realized through these meetings is that there is a need to identify the best ways that modeling can be used to aid policy decisions about how to reverse the obesity epidemic. "Comparative modeling" exercises were identified as a promising approach for this endeavor. Comparative modeling involves using a variety of different modeling approaches to address common questions, and in some cases may involve some common model assumptions or datasets. Comparative modeling can be used to show how differences in approaches can affect projected outcomes and to help determine which approaches are best suited for which research questions. Results from comparative modeling studies lend credibility to model results by providing a form of sensitivity analysis on the model assumptions and structure adopted by independent working groups. As part of the next phase of the project OBSSR, RWJF, and a new partner, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), have come together to sponsor a comparative modeling exercise for overweight and obesity-related public policy. RWJF and NICHD have already identified modeling groups that they will be supporting in this joint project. Ultimately, OBSSR will seek two modeling groups to participate in this comparative modeling venture, along with the groups funded by RWJF and NICHD. System Dynamics modeling has proven useful for informing public policy decisions in many areas that affect human life and health, including tobacco use, cardiovascular disease risk factors, diabetes, and mental health. A variety of modeling approaches are represented among the modeling groups supported by NICHD and RWJF, but currently there are no system dynamics modeling groups being supported in the comparative modeling network. Therefore, OBSSR would like to fill this gap by supporting one or two modeling groups that specialize in system dynamics modeling as part of the comparative modeling network. Objectives The purpose of this sources sought notice is to determine the availability and technical capability of an organization to develop teams- made up of at least one system dynamics modeling expert in partnership with one or more obesity policy experts - to join the comparative obesity modeling network. What is necessary are the requisite skills and knowledge to complete the project. In addition to top notch modeling skills and obesity policy expertise, a demonstrated ability to collaborate and work in teams is essential. The costs of overweight and obesity, in terms of morbidity and mortality, health care costs, lost productivity, quality of life and shortening of the lifespan are all well established. Also well documented is the consistent and significant increase in overweight and obesity over one generation with no foreseeable end in sight. Thus, while enormous data is now available on obesity, its risk factors and consequences, with more being generated every day, very little is known about how exactly to stop the overweight/obesity epidemic. Policy interventions tend to have the most leverage for problems at the population level, especially ones like overweight and obesity that now affect the vast majority of the population. This project will fill an important gap by helping identify the most important aspects of the problem - for example, where models consistently converge, a policy for success may be identified; where they wildly diverge, important data gaps may exist. While policy interventions in the United States will be the focus of the current project, it will undoubtedly have implications for countries all over the globe, which interestingly (if not disturbingly) seem to be on a similar path with respect to trends in overweight and obesity prevalence. Scope of Work The NIH is looking for an offeror that will develop a team comprised of a system dynamics modeler with demonstrated expertise, combined with one (or more) experts in obesity-related public policy. Project tasks will Required tasks will require the successful offeror to:  Participate in an initial face-to-face meeting with the project funders and other modeling group network members.  Convene one or more face-to-face meetings of the key team members (e.g., the SD modeler and the obesity policy expert). The purpose of this meeting is to develop an initial strategy for the project and to set up within team processes including a plan for communications and approach to modeling.  Participate in web-based, network wide meetings. Attendance is also expected 2-3 times per year at network wide meetings via web-based software and/or telephone.  Develop system dynamic models capable of providing projected outcomes over the identified time period for the jointly identified research questions.  Register the models. A key feature of the work is to develop transparent models that are shared with the other modeling groups and beyond (public domain)..  Participate in a second face-to-face meeting with the project funders and other modeling group network members approximately one year after the project begins. Interested firms responding to this sources sought notice must adhere to the following: (a) Provide a capability statement demonstrating relevant experience, skills and ability to fulfill the Government's requirements for the above. The capability statement should contain enough sufficient detail for the Government to make an informed decision regarding your capabilities, however, the statement should not exceed 10 pages. (b) The capability statement should include references, key personnel, and any teaming arrangements needed to fulfill the requirements. It must identify the responder's small business type and size. (c) All capability statements must be submitted electronically no later than 5:00pm eastern standard time on Thursday August 6, 2009 to Sally Boakye at boakyes@mail.nih.gov
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