The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Gulf Research Program
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Healthy Ecosystems Grants 2 - Request for Applications (CLOSED)

Grant Type: Synthesis

The Gulf Research Program is pleased to announce its first competition in the area of environmental monitoring. The opportunity seeks to tap the potential of existing observations and monitoring data through integration and synthesis.

Key Dates

Letter of Intent

May 4, 2015: Online Submission of Letter of Intent Opens
June 15, 2015, 5:00pm EDT: Letter of Intent Due (CLOSED)

Full Proposal
No later than June 22, 2015: Online Submission of Full Proposal Opens (ONLY to Applicants Who Submitted a Letter of Intent) 
July 31, 2015, 5:00pm EDT: Full Proposal Due (CLOSED)

Access to Online Application

New Applicants 
that are accessing the online application for the Data Synthesis Grants – Award Year 2015 for the first time must use this link

Returning Applicants that have started an online application for the Data Synthesis Grants Award Year 2015 and would like to return to it, please use this link and bookmark it.

Request for Applications for Data Synthesis Grants – Award Year 2015


The Gulf Research Program seeks innovative ideas on the use of existing data collected in the Gulf of Mexico and associated coastal communities to advance understanding of environmental conditions, ecosystem services, and community health and well-being, including community vulnerability, recovery, and resilience. A number of programs supported by different entities are monitoring physical, environmental and health parameters in the Gulf of Mexico region for various reasons. The data derived from different sources or collected for different purposes have the potential to be synthesized and integrated to obtain novel insights or to increase the generality and applicability of scientific research. Data integration and synthesis can be applied within or across physical, environmental, health, social and other relevant disciplines and across professional sectors to improve understanding of the Gulf of Mexico as an ecosystem and of its dependent communities and people. Through this funding opportunity, the Program aims to expand the use and extend the lifespan of data collected in the Gulf of Mexico while advancing thegoalsof the Gulf Research Program as outlined in itsstrategic vision.

A recent workshop summary,Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Monitoring Ecosystem Restoration and Deep Water Environments, describes how integration of observations and monitoring data in combination with predictive modeling could inform the planning of or decision-making for the numerous restoration activities being undertaken or planned for the Gulf of Mexico. The same summary also highlights the importance of increasing knowledge of Deep Gulf ecosystems in order to better protect their living resources as the Gulf’s oil and gas industry increases its offshore exploration and production activities in the Deep Gulf. Therefore, this Request for Applications seeks to stimulate the use of existing observations and monitoring data to either:
  • Inform plans and efforts to restore and maintain the services provided by Gulf coastal ecosystems, or
  • Enhance understanding of the Deep Gulf, or the connectivity of the Deep Gulf to the coast, including physical and biological connectivity to coastal communities.
What we are looking for:

The Program seeks applications for activities that integrate or synthesize existing data from different sources that, analyzed together, may provide additional insights, address important questions, or lead to new approaches to interpreting monitoring data. Proposed projects could use synthesized data to develop new models, or the synthesized data could be incorporated into an existing modeling framework to inform restoration and maintenance of ecosystem services or to enhance understanding of the Deep Gulf or the connectivity of the Deep Gulf to the coast (see bullets above). Data sources could include the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors. Proposed projects should seek to generate outputs that would increase fundamental understanding of the Gulf of Mexico region as a dynamic system and lead toward better-informed decision making, translation into human benefits, or other actionable outcomes. Below are examples of the types of activities and approaches that could be considered; this list is illustrative only.
  • Activities that leverage existing but previously unavailable data (e.g., data that were developed to address a specific set of questions or were previously proprietary) or that integrate historic data with recent data.
  • Activities that analyze existing data with new methodologies to expand its utility or that develop innovative approaches to mining large data sets for useful information.
  • Research that validates and links historic coastal monitoring data with recent data derived from advanced technologies.
  • Activities that bring together stakeholders such as the oil and gas industry, academia, public-sector agencies, and the NGO community to identify obscure or previously proprietary data that could be shared for synthesis and analyses to advance understanding of the Deep Gulf environment.
  • Data syntheses that could establish reference conditions or improve our understanding of key processes that in turn could improve the management and protection of important or protected species or habitats.
  • Activities that explore the challenges of data sharing and synthesis across disciplines.
  • Activities that bring together novel combinations of expertise and groups to develop non-traditional approaches to analyzing existing datasets in efforts to identify additional uses.
To be considered responsive, all proposals must:
  • Clearly articulate a rationale or focus that serves as the organizing principle of the activity (i.e., a conceptual framework). For example, mention how the proposed project would be organized around a research question or model development.
  • Describe the novel insights to be gained, the intended output, and how the outputs of the proposed project would
    • Inform plans and efforts to restore and maintain the services provided by Gulf ecosystems, or
    • Enhance understanding of the Deep Gulf, or the connectivity of the Deep Gulf to the coast, including physical and biological connectivity to coastal communities
  • Demonstrate the project’s feasibility. For example, characterize the data (types, location, scale) needed to address the research question. Identify existing datasets along with their location and availability, including people or organizations necessary for collaboration. Describe how the project could lead to actionable information. Describe the computing resources available to conduct the work.
The Program will not consider funding:
  • Activities that require the collection of new data.
  • Activities or programs that are simply a continuation of efforts that are already underway. 
Award Information

Anticipated Project Duration: 24 months
Estimated Number of Awards: 10 to 14 awards
Anticipated Total Amount for this Funding Opportunity: $5 million. Resources made available under this funding opportunity will depend on the quality of the proposals received. The Gulf Research Program reserves the right to select for negotiation all, some, one, or none of the proposals received in response to this solicitation.