SUMMARY: In accordance with Public Law 101-508, the FAA plans to competitively select a Center of Excellence for UAS within the next year. The COE will be a geographically disbursed consortium of the FAA, university partners and their affiliates selected by the FAA Administrator to conduct UAS related research, education and training while working jointly on issues of mutual interest and concern. The FAA will initially issue cooperative agreements to the selected university team members and specific projects will be defined and funded through matching grants over the life of the COE. In accordance with Public Law 101-508, the COE is responsible for matching all funds granted to establish, operate and conduct related research, and may contract with others as appropriate. Following the COE competitive process, the FAA sponsor may also generate requirements that would be supported through contract tasks awarded by the FAA to the COE member universities for FAA purpose. SELECTION CRITERIA: The FAA Administrator will select the COE team based on the ability of the applicants to meet the following criteria mandated by Congress: --The extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of the needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities. --The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant for carrying out the intent of the legislation. --The capability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate air transportation problems. --The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program. --The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a statewide or region-wide continuing education program. --The research projects that the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant. Please Note: Â• All criteria are weighted equally. Â• Page limits are specified in the Solicitation. Â• The actual projects supported through the COE will be defined and further evaluated following selection of the COE members. A research agenda will be developed with the COE team during the first year of operation, and additional tasks will be funded throughout the life of the Center. RESEARCH AREAS: The FAA intends for the Center members to support a broad range of research areas. Research topics have been expanded to include, but will not be limited to, the following: 1. Air Traffic Control Interoperability 2. Airport Ground Operations 3. Control and Communication 4. Detect and Avoid (DAA) 5. Human Factors 6. Low Altitude Operations Safety 7. Noise Reduction 8. Spectrum Management 9. Unmanned Aircraft (UA) Crew Training and Certification, Including Pilots 10. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management 11. UAS Wake Separation Standards for UAS Integration into the NAS The FAA anticipates the COE will attract organizations such as industrial groups and other public and private entities interested in collaborating with and coordinating the research and related activities that will generate solutions to immediate and long-term UAS related issues. These organizations may be considered as affiliate members by the COE core universities and may provide matching contributions and receive funding from the COE. The FAA has conducted a public meeting and has made changes to the Draft Solicitation following the period of public comment. The Final Solicitation is currently available on the COE website: www.faa.gov/go/coe. Universities intending to submit proposals must notify the FAA COE Program Director, Patricia Watts, Ph.D., by August 22 and identify their core team and affiliate members. The FAA COE Program Office is taking written questions regarding the COE application process through September 9; contact: Patricia.Watts@FAA.gov. The closing date for proposal submission is September 15. AWARD DATE: The FAA Administrator expects to announce the final selection of the COE for UAS core team within the next six to nine months. The COE for UAS is expected to be operational within the next year. Issued in Atlantic County, New Jersey on August 12, 2014.