NIH establishes roster of firms for comms, IT work

WASHINGTON: The National Institutes of Health has selected a roster of companies to perform public information and communication services following an RFP process that took two years.

WASHINGTON: The National Institutes of Health has selected a roster of companies to perform public information and communication services following an RFP process that took two years.

All selected companies, ranging from PR firms to IT and software developers, are small businesses. The federal agency picked 22 organizations for the multiple indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) communications contracts. In fiscal year 2013, the companies will be eligible to compete for $100 million in work, as well as an additional $400 million in duties in subsequent years.

Communications firms selected for the IDIQ include Seamon Corporation, The Cadmus Group, Palladian Partners, BETAH Associates, Circle Solutions, Kauffman & Associates, Reingold, and Harrison Maldonado Associates.

The contract enables NIH to “fulfill their public affairs missions by purchasing a full range of comprehensive communication, evaluation, and social marketing goods and services,” according to search documents.

Despite the wide range of types of vendors, the PR firms selected feel the award is very much a communications contract.

“We feel there are significant communications needs for the NIH, and this is a public information and communications services proposal, which conveys the idea that this is about communications fundamentally,” said Joseph Ney, principal and creative director at Reingold, a DC-based communications firm.

He added that it was indicated in the RFP process that each selected vendor would ultimately receive a “significant level” of work.

The scope of work described in the RFP includes media analysis and outreach and the creation of strategic communications plans. The firms were also expected to be experiences in reaching targeted groups of people about specific health issues. Other work includes media and crisis communications training, as well as website and material development, and event support.

Non-communications work includes IT security, website usability testing, and call center management.

Selected vendors will find out more about the NIH communications projects that are in the pipeline in the coming weeks, said Mary DiMaggio, president of Harrison Maldonado Associates, a multicultural communications firm.

An NIH representative declined to discuss the RFP process or the awards. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established its own IDIQ last year, and the US Food and Drug Administration created one to target at-risk and underserved populations about tobacco use this summer.

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