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Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS) Grants 2 - Request for Applications (CLOSED)

Grants - UGOS 2 - Composite

Topic: Fostering Innovation to Improve Understanding and Prediction of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System

Key Dates and Information

Award Information
Total funding available: $2.5 million
Award duration: Up to 18 months

March 6, 2019: Online Application Submission Opens
June 12, 2019, 5:00 pm ET: Applications Due (CLOSED)

Award Selection and Notification
Fall-Winter 2019

About the Gulf Research Program
The Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice, and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf of Mexico region and the nation.Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions: Grants
PDF (download/view all information about this funding opportunity as a PDF)

RFA Version Information and Revision Notes:
  • Version 1.2 (Issued 05/31/19): Deadline extended from 06/05/19 to 06/12/19.
  • Version 1.1 (Issued 03/20/19): Revisions to merit review criteria.

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This solicitation is the Gulf Research Program’s second funding opportunity aimed at improving understanding and prediction of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System (LCS). The focus of this solicitation is to support innovative theories, technologies, or methodologies that build upon existing understanding of the dynamics driving the LCS and could help improve forecasting capabilities of the Loop Current and its associated eddies.


The LCS is the dominant ocean circulation process in the Gulf of Mexico affecting all oceanographic parameters from coastal ecosystems to the deep abyss, as well as many other human and natural systems and processes. Hurricane intensity, offshore safety, harmful algal blooms, oil spill response, the Gulf food chain, shallow-water nutrient supply, the fishing industry, tourism, and other parts of the Gulf Coast economy are all affected by the position, strength, structure, and variability of the Loop Current and its associated eddies. Improved capabilities to predict the behavior of the Gulf of Mexico as a system would have multiple benefits for all of these human and natural systems and processes. Achieving this long-term outcome requires better understanding of the dynamics driving the LCS, the interactions and feedbacks between the LCS and the atmosphere, and how the LCS evolves over time.

Improving understanding and prediction of the LCS is a costly and complicated endeavor. Innovative approaches could be developed to enable more cost-effective, accurate, or efficient ocean observing and modeling efforts to better facilitate improving understanding and prediction of the LCS.

Funding Priorities

The GRP seeks to support the development, testing, and/or validation of innovative and/or high-utility theories, technologies, and methodologies that can be used to understand and predict the LCS and that expand upon the current knowledge base and improve existing observational and modeling tools. Examples of ideas that align with the aim of this Request for Applications (RFA) include, but are not limited to:
  • Application of new, underutilized, or previously unexploited data sets to demonstrate, expand on, or validate theoretical understanding of LCS dynamics.
  • Development, investigation, and/or validation of new modeling approaches, data assimilation, or data analysis techniques to improve understanding and predictability of the LCS.
  • Development and/or demonstration of a technology that could reduce the cost or improve the accuracy of in-situ and/or satellite measurements required to better understand and predict the LCS.
  • Development and/or validation of new real-time or near-real-time ocean data exfiltration and telemetry technologies.
  • Investigation of a new way to leverage existing or planned observational infrastructure to sample key chemical or biological variables needed to understand and predict the LCS.

Project Guidelines

To be considered responsive to this RFA, proposed projects must involve the following:

  • The proposed research must be aimed at improving understanding and prediction of the LCS.
  • The project should propose an innovative theory, technology, or methodology that could lead to more cost-effective, accurate, and/or efficient observing and modeling efforts to better understand and/or predict the LCS.
  • Clear articulation of how the project results will be critical to understanding and/or improving forecasts of the LCS.
  • An extensive data management component that, at minimum, meets requirements of the Gulf Research Program's data management policy.
Strongly Encouraged:
  • If appropriate, coordination with planned UGOS Grants 1 or other Gulf-focused activities relevant to the proposed research.
  • Leveraging of Resources: UGOS Grants 2 permits leveraging private and public resources in the form of in-kind support. Though not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to leverage available resources, such as talent, equipment, ship time, computational resources, data management, and/or funding from public or private partners.
Please note: While this particular funding opportunity is mainly focused on understanding and predicting the LCS, it is also related to addressing larger ocean dynamics challenges. Projects funded through this competition should provide opportunities for scientists studying other Gulf of Mexico oceanographic and resource processes to leverage Gulf Research Program investments, observation systems, and modeling efforts for some of these other broader purposes. Applicants may include collaborative leveraging as long as it does not detract from the main LCS understanding and prediction goals. Such collaborative intentions should be described in the application.

Award Information

Project Duration: Up to 18 months
Total Amount Available: $2.5 million
Estimated number of awards: Up to 10 awards are anticipated. There are no set minimum or maximum budget requests per application; proposed budgets should be commensurate with the work described. Resources made available under this funding opportunity will depend on the quality of applications received and the budgets proposed by successful applicants. The GRP reserves the right to select for negotiation all, some, one, or none of the applications received in response to this solicitation.
Award Notification: Fall - Winter 2019


These terms mean the following when referenced:
  • Applicant: The organization under which an application is being submitted (i.e., applying organization).
  • Project director: The individual who will lead the proposed project. The project director is responsible for the direction and intellectual design of the project and has primary responsibility for project execution and the submission of all required reports to GRP. Project directors usually initiate applications that are officially submitted by their employing organizations (the applicant). When initiating an application, the project director is responsible for ensuring it meets all the requirements outlined by the Gulf Research Program as well as any requirements set by their employing organization.
  • Key personnel: Individuals who share in the responsibility of the direction or intellectual design of the proposed project and/or contribute to the execution of the proposed project in a substantive, measurable way.
The Gulf Research Program welcomes applications from all types of U.S. organizations, excluding federal agencies, on behalf of qualified individuals.

Applications must adhere to the following to be eligible:
  • U.S. organizations (excluding federal agencies) that have a valid federal tax ID number are eligible to apply.
  • BP Exploration and Production, Inc. (BP), Transocean Deepwater, Inc. (Transocean), their affiliates, and employees are not eligible to receive grant funding or to participate in any grant.
  • This funding opportunity is for distinct activities only. Proposed activities that are part of a broader, existing effort or "project" may only be eligible if the application clearly demonstrates that the funding request is for distinct activities that would not otherwise occur.
  • Activities currently under consideration for funding from other sources are not eligible. The status of "currently under consideration for funding from other sources" is intended to mean that full or final application materials have been submitted to another entity to request funding. Submission of a letter of intent or pre-proposal to another funding source does not constitute an activity being "currently under consideration for funding from other sources" if that submission is a step that precedes submission of full or final application materials in an application process.
  • U.S. organizations may partner with international organizations; a U.S. organization must be the applicant, but applicants may include key personnel from and subawards to non-U.S. organizations. Please note that legal restrictions may prohibit transactions, including subawards, between U.S. entities and entities within certain foreign countries.
  • U.S. federal agencies are not eligible to receive Gulf Research Program funding as applicants or subawardees, although their employees may be non-funded collaborators. Any proposed collaboration with employees of a U.S. federal agency should not involve any transfer of Gulf Research Program funding to the agency and must be in compliance with all applicable federal statutes and regulations. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if this requirement is met.
Individuals named as project director or key personnel in an application must adhere to the following:
  • An individual may be proposed as project director in only one application. If an individual is proposed as project director in any application, that individual may also be proposed as key personnel in up to two additional applications.
  • An individual not proposed as a project director in any application may be named as key personnel in up to three applications.
  • It is the responsibility of each individual being named as project director or key personnel in any application to ensure that they are not named in more than three total applications.

Image credits: (from left) Jay Hooper/NOAA AOML, University of South Florida Center for Ocean Technology, Liquid Robotics and NOAA AOML.