Technology Improvement Awards

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Award Goals

The purpose of the Technology Improvement Award is to encourage high quality health information access and delivery to Network members, health professionals and consumers in the Region.  This award is intended to enhance the capacity of a library or organization to offer electronic health information services by supporting the purchase, installation, and/or upgrading of hardware and software. 

Preference will be given to:

  • Libraries and organizations that demonstrate a need to upgrade technology in order to improve on an existing service, or offer a new service
  • Libraries and organizations that serve “under-connected” communities, particularly those in inner city and rural settings  
  • Hospital and public libraries, providing health information services with outdated equipment
  • Libraries and organizations that have a letter of support from the institution's information technology staff

Potential Projects

Projects can include but are not limited to:

  • Purchasing computers or technology, to be used for health information access, for public areas such as clinic waiting rooms, Medical Express or “walk-in” clinic waiting rooms, and library public service areas
  • Upgrading equipment in a computer lab or learning center to facilitate hands-on computer-based instruction
  • Establishing a mobile workstation to be used when providing information services outside of the library
  • Using mobile devices to support access to health information at the point of need, such as for emergency responders or patient care teams on bedside rounds
  • Installing adaptive hardware and software to better enable individuals with disabilities to access computer-based health information
  • Implementing or improving a Web-based document delivery service, such as purchasing interlibrary loan (ILL) management software, scanner, etc.

Eligibility Requirements

Full and Affiliate Network members in the NN/LM MAR (Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) are eligible to apply.

Availability of Funds

Awards will be up to $10,000 each.

All awards issued under the NLM Contract with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System are subject to the Government’s availability of funds in compliance of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.232-18, Availability of Funds.

The Government’s obligation under this contract is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds from which payment for contract purposes can be made.  No legal liability on the part of the Government for any payment may arise until funds are made available to the Contracting Officer for this contract and until the Contractor receives notice of such availability, to be confirmed in writing by the Contracting Officer.

Application Process

  • Applications will be accepted until January 21, 2014
  • Eligible members can apply for awards up to $10,000
  • Applicants may submit a proposal (file type icon PDF) and supporting documentation to NN/LM MAR at
  • Put Technology Improvement in the subject line

Budget Guidelines

Funding will cover items such as the direct cost of equipment, software, Internet/wireless service provider fees, broadband access cards, and any applicable maintenance agreement.

Furniture costs are not allowed.

No personnel or indirect costs are allowed for this award unless the project contains a strong outreach component.

For mobile technology or computer hardware, please include the following as part of your cost proposal:

  • For technology or computer hardware purchases under $3,000 – submit catalog pricing
  • For technology or computer hardware purchases $3,000 or more per item – submit three (3) vendor quotes (valid preferably for 60 days, minimum of 30 days).  Quotes may include General Service Administration (GSA) price lists.  Reference:
  • Purchase of collection materials is permitted, but must not exceed 5% of the budget
  • For personal appeal items such as cameras, MP3 Players, smartphones, and laptop computers the proposal must address the following:
    • Purpose:  There is a legitimate purpose for the items, and use of the items by the awardee will be managed in accordance with institutional policy.
    • Appropriate Use:  Items will not be used in a way that would discredit the NN/LM, the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health or the applicable Institution.
    • Cost Effective:  Must demonstrate requested items are cost effective and appropriate. For example, will generic brands satisfy the minimum requirements?  If not, the proposal/request must describe 1) why it is necessary to purchase branded products,   2) benefits in brand name products.  How will items further the mission of the NN/LM and achieve the objectives of the contract?

Vendor quotes are necessary to determine price reasonable for purchase of $3,000 or more.  The absence of competitive quotes must be documented and justified.

Period of Performance

  • Funding period is May 1, 2013 – April 30, 2014.  Projects must be completed by April 30, 2014.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by RML staff and MAR advisory committees, as appropriate, according to the following criteria. Requests for clarification and/or revision may be asked of proposal writers as determined by reviewers.

  1. Evidence of need for the project and involvement of the target audience in determining need(s) (10 points)
  1. Well defined description of the target population (10 points)
  • Estimates of the potential population and the portion expected to be reached should be included.
  1. Goals and outcomes that can reasonably be accomplished and even sustained beyond the project period (10 points)
  1. Project plan that clearly indicates specific steps to be accomplished to fulfill objectives (20 points)
  • Inclusion of a timeline or implementation schedule for major events and activities.
  • Planned outputs for the project: number of training session, participants, transactions, etc.
  1. Detailed plan to promote the project to the target population (10 points)
  1. Clear evaluation strategies to measure and assess outcomes and determine the project's success (10 points)
  • In developing an evaluation mechanism, attention should be given to how successful the project will be in meeting the information needs of the target group.
  • Evaluation should measure project objectives and their outcomes. Proposed evaluation tools should reflect these measurements.
  • NN/LM members are strongly encouraged to consult the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) publications and resources, or OERC staff for assistance in developing an effective evaluation plan:
  1. Describe the activities that will continue project services to targeted community after completion of the award (10 points)
  1. Evidence of qualified personnel and organizational resources, including partnerships, to assure completion of the project and potential sustainability (10 points)
  • Evidence of institutional facilities and resources adequate to support the proposed program.
  • Letter of commitment from bidder's institutional administration
  • Letters of commitment from administrations of all agencies involved or targeted in the project.
  • If technology is being purchased, letter of support from the person in charge of supporting technology for the bidder’s institution.
  1. Budget plan that is complete, clear, and well justified to complete the project (10 points)

Reporting Requirements

  • Progress reports must be submitted quarterly.  These will include a report of project activities, including progress made toward award goals, problems encountered and a report of the ongoing evaluation or assessment of the project’s effectiveness.
  • One final report will be submitted no later than May 14, 2014.
  • Users of the System must first create an account before reports can be submitted. The NN/LM MAR will provide additional information on accessing the system and submitting reports.
  • If training is conducted as part of the project, the awardee will complete an Outreach Activity Collection Form. This form must be received at the MAR office within 14 days of the activity. The appropriate form will be provided by NN/LM MAR prior to the session.
  • Final reports will be posted to the NN/LM MAR website.
  • Awardee may be asked to participate in a Lunch with the RML session to discuss project activities, outcomes, plans for continuation and lessons learned.

  • The project leader shall provide copies of all communications, materials produced, press releases, advertisements, photographs and articles for newsletters related to the project.  In accepting the award, the project leader gives permission for use of such materials by the NLM and NN/LM.

Additional Requirements

Publication and Publicity

The awardee shall acknowledge the support of the National Library of Medicine whenever publicizing the work under this award in any media by including an acknowledgment substantially as follows:

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHS-N-276-2011-00003-C with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System.

NIH Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research

As of April 7, 2008, final peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication. The NIH Public Access Policy at ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.  It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PMC ( upon acceptance for publication.  To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers ( are accessible to the public on PMC no later than 12 months after publication.

The NIH Public Access site should be consulted for additional information:

Website Compliance

The Department of Health and Human Services synopsis of Section 508 accessibility requirements, requires that all Federal agencies are obligated to make all electronic and information technology (EIT) that they develop, maintain or use compliant with Section 508. EIT purchases made on or after June 25, 2001, are subject to Section 508.

Federal regulations and guidelines (e.g., Section 501 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) require equal access for individuals with disabilities. Therefore, Federal agencies are required, upon request, to provide information and data to individuals with disabilities through an alternative means of access that can be used by the individuals.

The National Library of Medicine is a part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recipients of National Library of Medicine funding through the NN/LM must also meet these requirements.

[Information on 508 Compliance is located at]

Development of Training Materials

Successful applicants are expected to use or adapt existing training materials before developing new materials.  Consult the Medical Library Association (MLA) Educational Clearinghouse prior to developing materials.  Training materials developed as part of the award should be submitted to the MLA Educational Clearinghouse.

Resources for Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Outreach Projects

Need Assistance?

To request assistance, contact us at or (800) 338-7657.