Are R&D contracts a service? If so, is a Service Contract Approval and/pr Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan required for these types of contracts?
R&D contracts are specifically covered in FAR Part 35, whereas Services are covered in Part 37. Each has unique clauses/provisions as prescribed, but R&D is a special type of service (research) that may also include development/supplies. FAR 35.002 says 'Unlike contracts for supplies and services, most R&D contracts are directed toward objectives for which the work or methods cannot be precisely described in advance.'
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FAR 37 contains additional guidance for R&D services in Part 35 and takes precedence over Part 37 in the event of inconsistencies.
FAR 37.101 states: Service contract means a contract that directly engages the time and effort of a contractor whose primary purpose is to perform an identifiable task rather than to furnish an end item of supply. A service contract may be either a non-personal or personal contract. It can also cover services performed by either professional or nonprofessional personnel whether on an individual or organizational basis. Some of the areas in which service contracts are found include the following:
(1) Maintenance, overhaul, repair, servicing, rehabilitation, salvage, modernization, or modification of supplies, systems, or equipment.
(2) Routine recurring maintenance of real property.
(3) Housekeeping and base services.
(4) Advisory and assistance services.
(5) Operation of Government-owned equipment, real property, and systems.
(6) Communications services.
(7) Architect-Engineering (see Subpart 36.6).
(8) Transportation and related services (see Part 47).
(9) Research and development (see Part 35).
Note that in the FAR Matrix under the columns for R&D contracts that some Part 37 clauses are coded "A", "Required when Applicable". And there are likewise FAR Part 22 Labor Law and FAR PART 46 QA clauses for R&D. Therefore, an R&D contract could include services and it may have a service and QA related clause in the contract.
Finally, my opinion is that a QASP (or a SCA) is required if it meets the requirement for one in the FAR, like in FAR Subpart 46.4. R&D contracts are not listed as a PBA exception in FAR 37.102. If the R&D contract has a significant service element that needs surveillance, then a QASP should be included (see FAR 52.246-7, 8 and 9). However, that contract is still classified according to the FAR as R&D. Whether the USACE classifies it in SPS as a Service is a local, policy decision that needs to be staffed at your organization level.