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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligible projects for this competition will propose a planning effort to support a specific natural resource management decision. See section I.B.2 of the full announcement.

Natural resources are abiotic (e.g., sand, water), biotic (e.g., animals, plants), or energy (e.g., solar and wind) components of the Earth that are useful to humans and not built by humans.

Any management decision regarding the human use of or interaction with a natural resource in the Gulf of Mexico is eligible to be the focus of a proposal. Natural resource management can take many forms including wildlife and fishery management; local, state, tribal, and federal rulemaking and permitting; conservation practices by public or private landowners; place-based management; and restoration planning.

Natural resource managers can be found in city, county, regional, state, tribal, and federal government. Private landowners may also be eligible managers. You should identify the manager that has decision making authority over the natural resource of interest and collaborate with them. If you are having trouble identifying the appropriate natural resource manager(s), feel free to reach out to the Science Program at

It is of critical importance that you consider the needs of natural resource managers. Generating a plan for research and its application that is directly connected to a specific natural resource management decision is the driving factor for this funding competition. It is required that at least one manager either lead or participate as an equal partner on the project team.

See section I.B.2 of the full announcement.

Scoping is the process of defining the natural resource management decision and the context surrounding the decision. See Beier et al. 2017 (table 1) for example scoping questions.

Beier, P., L.J. Hansen, L. Helbrecht, and D. Behar. 2017. A how-to guide for coproduction of actionable science. Conservation Letters. 10:288-296.

Joint planning by the researcher conducting the science and the natural resource manager who has a decision to make increases the likelihood that the findings and products from the research will be relevant and will inform the management decision. As these planning projects conclude, the Science Program expects to release a second competition for funding to execute and apply actionable science in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, there are several other programs that fund research in the Gulf of Mexico who prioritize actionable science.

Approximately $2.5 million is available through this competition to fund approximately 20 projects for 12 months. For this competition, the minimum individual award amount is $25,000 and the maximum individual award amount is $125,000.

See section II.A and II.B of the full announcement 

Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education; non-for-profit institutions; local, state, and tribal governments; for-profit organizations; and U.S. territories and federal agencies that possess the statutory authority to accept funding for this type of work. The lead applicant must be from a U.S.-based entity.

Investigators are not required to be employed by an eligible entity that is based in one of the five U.S. States on the Gulf of Mexico (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas). However, investigators that are not employed by or associated with Gulf of Mexico-based eligible entities are strongly encouraged to collaborate with partners from Gulf of Mexico-based eligible entities.

See section III.A of the full announcement.

No, the Science Program cannot support existing or planned research led by NOAA unless agreed to in writing by the grant recipient.

See section IV.F of the full announcement.

Yes, a letter of intent is required. A full proposal that is not preceded by a letter of intent will not be considered and will be returned to the applicant without review. Letters of intent are due via email to by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on September 29, 2020. There are detailed instructions in the full announcement on the components a letter of intent must include. Once a letter of intent has been checked for the required components, the applicant will receive an acknowledgement of receipt.

See sections IV.B.1 and IV.D.1 of the full announcement.

The deadline for receipt of full proposals is 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on December 15, 2020. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their full proposals electronically through If use of is not feasible, contact NCCOS Grants Administrator Laura Golden ( as soon as possible and no later than a week before the due date to assess whether alternative arrangements can be made. See sections IV.D.2 and VII of the full announcement.

Yes, a full proposal must include a data management plan of no more than one (1) page. Applicants should consult sections IV.B.3.(5) and VIII.A of the full announcement for complete details.

The Science Program will conduct a review of each letter of intent to determine whether it is responsive to the announcement. Emails to applicants encouraging or discouraging a full proposal will be sent out approximately four weeks after the letter of intent due date.

Once a full proposal has been received by NOAA, an initial administrative review is conducted to determine if it is timely, responsive, and complete. Full proposals that pass an initial administrative review will undergo an independent peer mail review and/or independent peer panel review in which each proposal will be evaluated and scored individually by at least three professionally and technically qualified reviewers with expertise in the subjects addressed by the proposal.

See section V.B of the full announcement.

Proposals will be evaluated on five criteria. These are 1) the level of understanding of the specific natural resource management decision (25 percent); 2) the efficacy of the proposed activities and steps (25 percent); 3) the capability and composition of the project team (20 percent); 4) the feasibility of the budget (10 percent); and 5) integration of the resource manager into the project team and future use and ownership of the plans generated by the project (20 percent).

See section V.A of the full announcement for complete details.

The program anticipates notifying applicants of the outcome of the competition around May 2021 and the start date for projects should be September 1, 2021.

See section II.B of the full announcement.

The Gulf of Mexico is defined as the ocean basin bounded by the United States along its northeastern, northern, and northwestern edges; Mexico on its southwestern and southern edges; and Cuba on its southeastern edge. Applicants can propose to focus on a natural resource management decision in a watershed or waters connected to the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Channel or the Straits of Florida, if the decision impacts a species, habitat, or process that has a direct, significant, and quantifiable impact on the Gulf of Mexico.

Yes, a project that proposes to focus on a natural resource management decision impacting non-U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico is eligible, but the project must be led by a U.S.-based entity. Funding may be directed to partner institutions outside the U.S. with the exception of Cuba.

See section I.B.2 and III.A of the full announcement.

General Information:
Frank Parker
Associate Director and federal program officer

Grants Administration Information:
Laura Golden
NCCOS Grants Administrator

Data Management Information:
Jessica Morgan
NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator

Indirect or Facilities and Administrative Costs Information:
Lamar Revis
Grants Officer
NOAA Grants Management Division