Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ – FFO-2015

What types of projects are eligible for funding under this federal funding opportunity?

This federal funding opportunity requests proposals that address the NOAA RESTORE Science Program’s short-term priorities:

  • comprehensive inventory and assessment (i.e., strengths/weaknesses) of ongoing ecosystem modeling efforts (conceptual and quantitative)
  • identification of currently available health/condition indicators of Gulf of Mexico ecosystem components, including humans, followed by comparative analysis of strengths and weaknesses and design/testing of additional indicators
  • assessment of monitoring and observation needs and development of recommendations to build off existing assets to establish a Gulf wide monitoring and observation network

in three topical areas

  • ecosystem and living marine resources management
  • climate change and extreme weather impacts on sustainability of restoration
  • integration of social/behavioral/economic science into restoration and management of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem).

Anyone interested in applying for funding should consult the full announcement for the federal funding opportunity for complete details.

How much funding is being made available in this federal funding opportunity? How many projects will be funded?

The amount of funding available for this competition is up to $2.5 million. Approximately 3 to 7 projects are expected to be funded at the level of approximately $200,000 to $400,000 per project.

How many years of funding can be requested?

This current federal funding opportunity requests proposals for 1- and/or 2-year projects.

Is a letter of intent required? If so, when is it due?

Yes. Letters of Intent are required. A full proposal that does not submit a letter of intent will not be considered and will be returned to the proposer without review. Letters of intent were due to the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science / Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (NCCOS/CSCOR) office by 5 p.m., Eastern Time on January 30, 2015.

When are full applications due?

Applicants will need to submit their full applications by 3 p.m., Eastern Time on March 17, 2015. No late applications will be accepted.

How can I submitted a full application?

Full applications should be submitted electronically through or sent in paper form to:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1305 East West Highway
SSMC 4, Station 8219
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education, other non-profits, state, local, Indian Tribal Governments, commercial organizations, and US Territories that possess the statutory authority to accept funding for this type of research. Federal agencies that possess the statutory authority to accept funding for this type of research may apply. Federal agencies are strongly encouraged to collaborate with partners from a non-federal eligible entity, in which case the agency would be collaborators in a multi-institutional submission. The NOAA RESTORE Science Program Funding Opportunities will not be used to hire and fund the salaries of any permanent federal employees, but may fund travel, equipment, supplies, and contractual personnel costs associated with the proposed work. Principal 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, Texas); however, principle investigators that are not from Gulf of Mexico-based eligible entities are encouraged to collaborate with partners from a Gulf of Mexico-based eligible entity. Foreign researchers may apply as sub-awards through an eligible US entity.

Is there a separate competition for federal and non-federal proposals?

No. The program is holding a single competition where all applications whether led by a federal or non-federal principal investigator will be evaluated.

What criteria will be used to evaluate applications?

Proposals will be evaluated using the following five criteria:

  • Importance and/or relevance and applicability of proposed project to the program goal: This ascertains whether there is intrinsic value in the proposed work and/or relevance to NOAA, federal, regional, state, or local activities. For purposes of this competition, plans for preservation, documentation, sharing of data, multimedia and survey or data collections should be adequately and clearly outlined and this information will be used in the evaluation process. (30 percent)
  • Technical/scientific merit: This assesses whether the approach is technically sound and/or innovative, if the methods are appropriate, and whether there are clear project goals and objectives. (30 percent)
  • Overall qualifications of applicants: This ascertains whether the applicant possesses the necessary education, experience, training, facilities, and administrative resources to accomplish the project. This includes the capability of the investigator and collaborators to complete the proposed work as evidenced by past research accomplishments, previous cooperative work, timely communication, and the sharing of findings, data, and other research products. (15 percent)
  • Project costs: The budget is evaluated to determine if it is realistic and commensurate with the project needs and time-frame. (10 percent)
  • Outreach and education: NOAA assesses whether this project provides a focused and effective education and outreach strategy regarding NOAA’s mission to protect the Nation’s natural resources. For purposes of this competition, the applicant must demonstrate clear connections to relevant management and restoration entities that will use the results of the proposed work and define the specific products, outcomes, and timing of the proposed work that will be used in achieving this goal. (15 percent)

What type of review process will be used?

Once a full application has been received by NOAA, an initial administrative review is conducted to determine compliance with requirements and completeness of the application. All applications will be evaluated and scored individually in accordance with the assigned weights of the evaluation criteria by independent peer mail review and/or by independent peer panel review. For additional details, please see the full announcement.

When will awards be made? When will projects be expected to start?

The program anticipates making awards in the fall of 2015 with the earliest possible start date being September 1, 2015.

How will funding be distributed?

NOAA will use either a research project grant award or a cooperative agreement to distribute funding to non-federal investigators. For NOAA and non-NOAA federal investigators, an intra-agency or inter-agency transfer will be used to distribute the funding.

Why did the NOAA RESTORE Science Program announced this federal funding opportunity when it was still working on finalizing its science plan?

This current federal funding opportunity is focused on three short-term priorities that when addressed will help to inform the future direction of the NOAA RESTORE Science Program as well as the other science and restoration initiatives underway or being planned for the Gulf of Mexico region. During the development of the science plan, stakeholders endorsed these short-term priorities and encouraged the program to distribute funds for them now. The science program is responding with this federal funding opportunity.

How is this competition different than the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program grants competition?

The first grants competition being run by the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program is for exploratory grants in two areas: 1) exploring approaches for effective education and training of workers in the offshore oil and gas industry and health professions and 2) linking ecosystem services related to and influenced by oil and gas production to human health and well-being. These exploratory grants will provide seed money for research in its early conceptual phase, activities that can accelerate concept to testing, or development of novel approaches.

The first competition being run by the NOAA RESTORE Science Program (FFO-2015) does not address worker training in the offshore oil and gas or health care sectors nor the impact of oil and gas production and, as a result, there is no direct overlap between these two competitions. The NOAA RESTORE Science Program competition does invite applications that would assess our capacity to measure changes in ecosystem services and to use measures of ecosystem services to assess restoration and ecosystem sustainability. Work in this area would complement the ecosystem services work being invited by the Gulf Research Program and combined this research would provide a more comprehensive understanding of ecosystem services as a tool for both assessing the influence of oil and gas production on human health and as a tool for measuring ecosystem recovery and sustainability.

Who should I contact with additional questions?

Technical Program Information:
Dr. Becky Allee
Science Planning Team Lead
e-mail: becky.allee@noaa.govGrants Administration Information:
Laura Golden
NCCOS/CSCOR Grants Administrator
301-713-3338/extension 151