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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Other Transactions for Advanced Research

Other Transactions (OTs) are flexible advanced research and development funding instruments, chiefly used to attract nontraditional government contractors to stimulate innovation. They are public assistance agreements other than procurement contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements. OTs allow for greater flexibility on issues related to cost accounting standards, intellectual property rights, changes, certification requirements, and prime-sub relationships. This increased flexibility reduces normal contractual barriers and encourages nontraditional commercial firms’ or consortia’s to partner with the Government.
AMCG has been delegated authority to enter into Other Transactions for Advanced Research (OTARs) for the following purposes:
  • Support Advanced Research and Development:
    • countermeasure and product advanced research and development
  • Support Innovation: 
    • innovation in technologies that may assist countermeasure and product advanced research and development;
    • research on, and development of, research tools and other devices and technologies; and
    • research to promote strategic initiatives, such as rapid diagnostics, broad spectrum antimicrobials, and vaccine manufacturing technologies.
AMCG uses this authority to issue awards under its Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) to further the advanced research & development goals of BARDA. OTARs are meant to encourage participation by new research & development players or commercial firms (including small businesses and start-up companies) to stimulate innovation and improve the pipeline of candidate medical countermeasures to support the preparedness mission of the HHS Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise. OTARs reduce normal contractual barriers while maintaining proper stewardship of federal funds. To the maximum extent practicable, cost or resource sharing of program costs between the government and the nonfederal parties is encouraged.
An OTAR may be used when at least one of the following conditions exists:

  1. When at least one non-traditional government contractor participating to a significant extent;
  2. When the Senior Procurement Executive for the agency determines in writing that exceptional circumstances justify the use of an OT because a conventional arrangement would not feasible

Potential Benefits of Other Transactions

The OTAR process represents a win-win for the Government and Industry because OTARs:

  • Encourage non-traditional government contractors to participate
  • Allow for flexible management of agreements
  • Permit use of Generally Approved Accounting Procedures (GAAP) rather than Government Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)
  • Encourage cost sharing
  • Cost and pricing data and certifications are negotiable
  • Allow for commercially friendly intellectual property provisions


The OTAR template represents an OTAR between the government and a consortium, but should also be consulted by new AR&D entities interesting in proposing an Other Transaction effort on their own.


  • This page last reviewed: November 20, 2017