As stated in DFARS 246.401, contracting officers must address and document the requirement for a quality assurance surveillance plan (QASP) in the contract file for each contract except those awarded using simplified acquisition procedures.
A QASP and a COR are required for all service contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold and should be considered for supply contracts.
Do I need a QASP in my case, and if not then what mechanism should I use to surveil the contractor, if at all?
For purposes of your question, your R&D acquisition would be considered a service and require a QASP. Specifically, FAR 37.101 includes research and development among "service" contracts, so the requirements of DFARS 246.101 would apply.
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