Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Awards $1.5 Million in Grants

Funding Supports Short-Term Continuing and Emergent Observations and Sampling of the Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the Gulf of Mexico

RESTON, VA – The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Research Board announced today that it has awarded 17 grants totaling $1.5 million to support the time-sensitive acquisition of critical samples and observations associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico.  The funding will support work from July 1 to September 30, 2011 and is provided under the terms of RFP-III, the most recent GoMRI request for proposals.

The Research Board at its May 5-6, 2011 meeting identified the critical need for funding to support short-term continuing and emergent observations and sampling of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico.

“The RFP-III addresses the urgent need to provide stop-gap or emergency funding to continue observations and sampling, or to initiate new observations and sampling during the summer months,” said Dr. Rita R. Colwell, Chairman of the GoMRI Research Board.

The following lead scientists and institutions have received a grant:

–       Susan S. Bell, PhD, University of South Florida

–       Edward Bouwer, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

–       Stephen A. Bullard, PhD, Auburn University

–       Wei-Jun Cai, PhD, University of Georgia

–       James A. Carr, PhD, Texas Tech University

–       Micheal Davis, PhD, University of Southern Mississippi

–       Lane D. Foil, PhD, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center

–       Suzanne Fredericq, PhD, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

–       Yufeng Ge, PhD, Texas AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University

–       Frank J. Hernandez, Jr., PhD, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

–       Markus Huettel, PhD, Florida State University

–       Deepak Mishra, PhD, Mississippi State University

–       Joseph Neigel, PhD, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

–       John H. Pardue, PhD, Louisiana State University

–       Christopher M. Reddy, PhD, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

–       Caroline Taylor, PhD, Tulane University

–       David C. Weindorf, PhD, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center

“The $1.5 million awarded today enables scientists from many institutions within the Gulf Coast States and elsewhere to work collaboratively to continue to gather important data and observations about how the Gulf of Mexico is responding to the oil released from the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion,” said Colwell.

This funding allows observations and sampling of physical distribution, dispersion, chemical evolution, biological degradation, and environmental effects associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that would otherwise be unavailable.

In addition to the funding announced today, the GoMRI is accepting proposals under the RFP-I program until July 11, 2011.  The RFP-I program will allocate a minimum of $37.5 million a year among four to eight Research Consortia.  Approximately $7.5 million will also be available under RFP-II, which will make smaller awards to individual or small teams of researchers.  The application requirements for RFP-II will be announced at a later date.

The funding provided under RFP-I, RFP-II, and RFP-III is part of BP’s commitment to provide $500 million over ten years to support research in the Gulf of Mexico.  This funding is administered by the independent GoMRI Research Board and is separate from the Natural Resources Damage Assessment program.

The GoMRI Research Board anticipates announcing the recipients of grants under the RFP-I program in late summer 2011.