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Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements


Under Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements (ICAs), federal laboratories may provide assistance to public institutions of higher learning and agencies of state and local government.


ICAs are authorized by the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, 31 USC 6505. The Act authorizes the head of an executive agency to provide specialized or technical services to a state or local government when:

  1. Written request is made by the state or local government; and
  2. Payment of salary and all other identifiable costs of providing the services are made to the agency by the state or local government making the request. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-97 sets forth the rules and regulations implementing the law. The circular requires the requesting entity to certify that such services cannot be procured reasonably and expeditiously by it through ordinary business channels. It further provides that the requested services can be provided only upon payment or provision for reimbursement to the federal agency involved. These payments must be made in advance of rendering the service.

When an ICA is Appropriate

The primary mechanisms for working with state and local governments are Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and ICAs. CRADAs require collaborative participation by the partner beyond providing funds. CRADAs also require Army review. ICAs do not require any technical collaboration by the partner, nor do they require Army review. The partner must request such support in writing and certify that the assistance is not reasonably or expeditiously available from a private sector source. Work may not be initiated prior to receipt of funds sufficient to cover the cost of the estimate or at least an initial increment based upon an approved payment schedule that ensures funds are deposited prior to work being performed.

Who May Participate in an ICA

  • State, local and tribal governments (U.S.)

The term “state” includes any of the states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States or any agency or instrumentality of a state. The term “local government” includes a county, municipality, city, town, township or a school or other special district created by or pursuant to state law or combinations thereof.