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Projects that plan to identify, track, understand, or predict trends and variability in the Gulf of Mexico’s natural resources and the abiotic and biotic factors driving those trends. 

See section III of the full announcement for detailed eligibility information.

Natural resource management can take many forms including, but not limited to, 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 governments. Private landowners may also be natural resource managers. You should identify a 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

Yes, project teams may include multiple natural resource managers. Each proposal must include at least one letter of participation from a natural resource manager. See full announcement section IV.3.9 for detailed information on natural resource management letter of participation requirements. 

Project teams are required to include one or more natural resource managers. Applicants must describe how the team’s natural resource managers will shape the project throughout the award period, and, if possible, how the project fits into a strategic goal or plan laid out by the natural resource management agency. A letter of participation is required from the natural resource manager(s) or natural resource management bodies responsible for the identified resource. If multiple managers from one management body are on the project team, they may submit one combined letter. The letter should describe their role as the project lead or as an equal partner in the project, how they were involved in the project planning process and their role in the project moving forward, and how and when they will use the findings and products from the research.

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

Yes, applicants may make connections among the areas of emphasis and the human communities and economic activities that are impacted by natural resource management decisions.

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

Approximately $17.5 million is available through this competition to fund approximately six projects that will run for five years with the option for a five-year, non-competitive renewal award for high-performing projects.  For this competition, the minimum individual award amount is approximately $1 million over five years (an average of $200,000 per year) and the maximum individual award amount is approximately $4 million over five years (an average of $800,000 per year).

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

Proposals requesting five (5) years of funding should use two SF-424A forms, as follows:

  1. Place the first four years on one of the forms in Section B, columns (1) through (4).
  2. Total the first four years in column (5).
  3. Place the total from the first form (from column (5) onto the second SF- 424A form in Section B column (1) and use column (2) for the fifth year budget figures.
  4. Total all five years in column (5) on the second SF-424A.

The budget amounts in the forms must correspond with the description contained in the budget narrative (element 15). 

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

Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education; not-for-profit institutions; for-profit organizations; local, state, and tribal government entities; 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.

Science Program funding opportunities may not be used to hire and fund the salaries of any permanent federal employees. Federal award recipients may use their funding to cover travel, equipment, supplies, and contractual personnel costs associated with the proposed work.

Investigators are not required to be employed by an eligible entity that is based in one of the five Gulf of Mexico States (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.

Foreign researchers may participate by submitting a sub-award or contract through an eligible U.S. entity. Science Program funding may not be spent in Cuba.

See section III.A of the full announcement.

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

See section IV.F of the full announcement for additional details.

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 May 23, 2024. 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 via email.

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

The deadline for receipt of full proposals is 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on August 22, 2024. Applicants should submit their full proposals electronically through If use of is not feasible, contact the NCCOS Grants Administrator ( or Federal Program Officer ( 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, we do not have an example of the letter of intent, but we have examples of milestone chart and full proposal below.

The Science Program will conduct a review of each letter of intent to determine whether it is responsive to the announcement. Full proposals will be encouraged only for LOIs deemed relevant; however, the final decision to submit a full proposal is made by the investigator.

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 the 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 of the full announcement.

Proposals will be evaluated on five criteria. These are 1) importance/relevance and applicability of proposed projects to the program goals (25 percent); 2) technical and scientific merit (30 percent); 3) overall qualifications of applicants (15 percent); 4) project costs (10 percent); and 5) dissemination and application (20 percent). 

See section V of the full announcement for complete details.

The program anticipates that final recommendations for funding under this announcement will be made in June 2025 and projects should begin on October 1, 2025.

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 (e.g., 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.

This notice of federal funding opportunity is in response to the RESTORE Act, also known as the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies Act, which authorized NOAA to establish and administer a “Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring, and Technology Program,” now commonly known as the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. 

The Science Program is funded by 2 1/2 percent of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established by the RESTORE Act. The Trust is composed of 80 percent of the Clean Water Act civil penalties recovered from parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Science Program also receives 25 percent of the interest accrued from funds deposited into the Trust. All the parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have agreed to settlements or had judgments rendered against them. Collectively, the fines and interest will result in at least $141 million in total funding for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program.

Yes, a project that proposes to focus on a natural resource 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.

No, leveraged or matching funds are not required for project proposals. Awarded projects will be asked to report on leveraged and matching funds used during the project period. 

General Information:
Caitlin Young
Science Coordinator and Federal Program Officer 

Grants Administration Information: 
Laurie Golden
NCCOS Grants Administrator  

Data Management Information: 
Lauren Jackson 
NCCOS Data Officer 

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