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Home Back Issues No. 39: Gulf Oil Spill and Research Funding Opportunities

Aug 02

No. 39: Gulf Oil Spill and Research Funding Opportunities

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Gulf Oil Spill and Research Funding Opportunities

Reader Question: I've heard that millions of dollars are available from private and government sources for many kinds of research related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Can you give me specific information on these sources and how/where to apply?

Expert Comments:British Petroleum (BP) and the government continue to seek detailed proposals to solve numerous issues related to the spill, its impact on the Gulf of Mexico, preventing future spills elsewhere, and additional support.

Millions of dollars are available to PIs and their institutions to fund many kinds of research. BP has received more than 117,000 calls to its hotline, 1-281-366-5511, and 8,000 written offers of all types of assistance, including research proposals, says Max McGahan, BP spokesman.

Researchers calling about funding opportunities must submit an Alternative Response Technologies form for review, McGahan says. Currently under review by BP technical personnel are 350 proposals. Of those, 18 are in the field-testing stage before contracts are offered. Ideas also can be submitted at www.horizon.edocs.com.

BP pledged $500 million for its Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI), and the first grant awarded from the initiative was $25 million to the Florida Institute of Oceanography/University of South Florida, Northern Gulf Institute, and Louisiana State University, to study distribution, composition, and interactions of oil and dispersants. Scientists will establish baseline data for future research, monitoring and interpretation of impacts of the spill.

Next, BP will issue a Request for Proposals (RFPs) seeking independent peer reviewers for research proposals. After reviewers are selected, BP will issue RFPs for more GRI research. For updates, go to: www.bp.com.

Besides the BP initiative, here are other funding opportunities:

Coast Guard R&D; center

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Research and Development Center (RDC) is leading an Interagency Alternative Technology Assessment Program (IATAP), to award competitive funding to address five “technology gaps” identified in relation to the spill.

Academics, research and development centers, laboratories, and others can submit white papers (briefs) on:

  • Oil Sensing Improvements to Response and Detection – Tactical oil-sensing and detection and tracking and reporting of surface oil and submerged oil.
  • Oil Wellhead Control and Submerged Oil Response – Booms, skimmers, surface collection techniques, absorbents, shore response, and disposal.
  • Alternative Oil Spill Response Technologies – In-situ burn and alternative chemical treatments.
  • Oil Spill Damage Assessment and Restoration – Damage assessment techniques and surface/submerged restoration technologies.

The RDC has received more than 3,000 submissions since the initial Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) calling for submissions was issued June 4. Approximately 70 ideas have been selected as immediately beneficial or in need of further evaluation, according to USCG Program Analyst Brian Olexy. Those ideas have been forwarded to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) and Subject Matter Experts (SME) for review. When and if contracts are signed for services, products or research, invoices will be submitted by the contracting agency (governmental or non-governmental) to BP.

Major highlights of the BAA include:

  • Review will be based on scientific/technical merit, feasibility, immediacy of application, benefit, and Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM), or cost, ratio to benefit.
  • White papers are accepted electronically at www.homeport.uscg.mil/RDC-BAA-DHR or www.FedBizOpps.gov.
  • White papers will have unlimited distribution to government agencies and private contractors.
  • Technical information, including configurations, temperatures, dimensions, and pressures, is available at: http://www.energy.gov/open/oilspill/data.htm.
  • Live video feed of the wellhead can be viewed at: www.BP.com/GulfOfMexicoResponse.
  • EPA’s schedule of approved products for oil discharge remediation is at: www.epa.gov/oem/content/ncp/product_schedule.htm.
  • Technical/contract questions can be directed to: [email protected]
  • Q&As; are posted at: http://www.homeport.uscg.mil/RDC-BAA-DHR-FAQ.

NSF RAPID Response grants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is offering $3 million in RAPID Response grants for study of oil-spill impacts. RAPID Response was created for immediate action in the wake of natural and manmade disasters/events. Grants are offered in geosciences, computer simulation, engineering, biology, and materials research.

NSF will issue 24 awards of up to $200,000 each. So far it has awarded $1.75 million to 10 submitters, including Louisiana State University’s study of “oil-eating” capabilities of natural bacteria in oyster beds in the Gulf.

Interested parties should contact the NSF division applicable to their proposals. For information, go to www.nsf.gov or http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf10_1/gpg_2.jsp#IID1.

EPA vendor list

Researchers and contractors interested in joining the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Acquisition Management vendor list for responding to the spill can go to: www.epa.gov/bp/spill/vendors.html. Inclusion on the list does not guarantee funding.

New government Web site

The government recently launched www.restorethegulf.gov, as a central location for oil-spill response information. Its previous site, www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com, will be phased out.

Expert comments from PI eAlert's Editorial Team.

Comments (3)
Post-doctoral fellow
written by Edward Hubbard, August 02, 2010
Although it is true that there is a lot of money available for research, researchers interested in these funding sources should know that they come with quite draconian rules about publishing, and even talking about the results of the research. These gag-rules a clear violations of standard expectations of academic freedom, and anyone considering these funding sources should be aware of them before accepting any money.

Professor, University of Arkansas
written by William Bailey. Ph.D., August 02, 2010
Does anyone know of any RFPs for grants focused on the economic impact on families or on the psychosocial aspects of this disaster?

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry
written by Wei WANG, August 02, 2010
Would a research group like us majoring in clinical psychology/ psychiatry in China join a certain research project? Dr. Wei Wang, Zhejiang University School of Medicine ([email protected], [email protected])

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