Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Requests Grant Proposals

Up to $22.5 million will be awarded to researchers studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident on the Gulf of Mexico, public health

For release: 2:00 PM EST, December 15, 2011
Media contact: Dr. Robert Gropp, 202-628-1500 x 250,

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Reston, VA – The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Research Board has issued a new request for proposals, RFP-II, which will provide up to $7.5 million per year for research grants to individual investigators or small groups of researchers.  The funding is part of BP’s commitment to provide $500 million over ten years to support independent scientific research into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident on the Gulf of Mexico and to develop innovative new technologies and tools to respond to and mitigate future oil spills.

It is anticipated that grants awarded through the RFP-II competition will range between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per year.  Grants may be awarded for a one to three year period.  All applications will be evaluated using a peer-review process similar to that of the United States National Science Foundation.

Applicants for funding must respond to one of the five research themes identified by the GoMRI Research Board.  These themes are: 1) Physical distribution, dispersion, and dilution of petroleum, its constituents, and associated contaminants under the action of physical oceanographic processes, air-sea interactions, and tropical storms; 2) Chemical evolution and biological degradation of the petroleum/dispersant systems and subsequent interaction with coastal, open-ocean, and deep-water ecosystems; 3) Environmental effects of the petroleum/dispersant system on the sea floor, water column, coastal waters, beach sediments, wetlands, marshes, and organisms, and the science of ecosystem recovery; 4) Technology developments for improved responses, mitigation, detection, characterization, and remediation associated with oil spills and gas releases; and 5) Impact of oil spills on public health.

“On August 30th we awarded $112.5 million to fund eight Research Consortia,” said GoMRI Research Board Chairman Dr. Rita R. Colwell.  The GoMRI also awarded $1.5 million this year to help researchers maintain a continuity of observations and sampling, and to help investigators initiate time sensitive observations and sampling.

“We are pleased to announce this important next step in our work.  Through RFP-II the GoMRI will fund individual investigators or small teams consisting of a lead investigator and up to three collaborators.”  Colwell said.

Colwell described RFP-II as a mission oriented research program that will fund compelling investigations with defined goals within one of the five themes identified by the GoMRI Research Board.  “We are looking for world-class expertise in these topic areas, including specific local knowledge of the environmental and public health issues in the Gulf of Mexico region,” advised Colwell.

Individuals and small groups interested in submitting a grant application should consult RFP-II ( for specific guidelines and requirements.  A Letter of Intent must be submitted by 9:00 p.m. EST on January 17, 2012.  A final grant application will not be accepted if GoMRI did not receive a Letter of Intent.  The Letter of Intent provides essential information required by the GoMRI to avoid conflicts of interest in the establishment of lists of potential reviewers and for determining the number of reviewers needed for the application evaluation process.  All application deadlines and requirements are clearly identified in the official RFP-II guidance document.

The GoMRI Research Board is an independent body that administers BP’s ten-year, $500 million commitment to independent research into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident.  Through a series of competitive grant programs, the GoMRI is investigating the impacts of the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and the affected coastal States in a broad context of improving fundamental understanding of the dynamics of such events and their environmental stresses and public health implications.  The GoMRI also funds research that improves techniques for detecting oil and gas, spill mitigation, and technologies to characterize and remediate spills.  Knowledge accrued will be applied to restoration and to improving the long-term environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The GoMRI is an independent scientific research program and is separate from the Natural Resources Damages Assessment process.

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For more information about the GoMRI, the Research Board, or to view a copy of RFP-II, please visit

GoMRI Research Board Members:

Rita R. Colwell, PhD
GoMRI Research Board Chair
Distinguished Professor
University of Maryland College Park and
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Margaret Leinen, PhD
Research Board Vice Chair
Associate Provost for Marine and Environmental Initiatives of Florida Atlantic University
Executive Director of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Debra S. Benoit, MEd
Director of Research and Sponsored Programs
Nicholls State University

Peter G. Brewer, PhD
Senior Scientist
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Richard E. Dodge, PhD
Professor, Dean, Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center
Executive Director, National Coral Reef Institute

John W. Farrington, PhD
Scientist Emeritus
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Kenneth M. Halanych, PhD
Alumni Professor & Coordinator, Marine Biology Program
Auburn University

David Halpern, PhD
Senior Advisor for Earth Science Research, NASA Headquarters
Senior Research Scientist, California Institute of Technology/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

William T. Hogarth, PhD
Interim Director
Florida Institute of Oceanography
College of Marine Science, University of South Florida

Jörg Imberger, PhD
Director, Centre for Water Research
Professor of Environmental Engineering
The University of Western Australia

Raymond L. Orbach, PhD
Director, Energy Institute
The University of Texas at Austin

Jürgen Rullkötter, PhD
Professor of Organic Geochemistry
Institute of Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM)

David R. Shaw, PhD
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Mississippi State University

John Shepherd, PhD
Professorial Research Fellow
School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre
University of Southampton

Bob Shipp, PhD
Chair, Department of Marine Science
University of South Alabama

Burton Singer, PhD
Courtesy Professor
Emerging Pathogens Institute
University of Florida

Ciro V. Sumaya, MD, MPHTM
Professor, Health Policy and Management
Cox Endowed Chair in Medicine
Founding Dean, School of Rural Public Health
Texas A&M Health Science Center

Denis Wiesenburg, PhD
Vice President for Research
The University of Southern Mississippi

Charles Wilson, PhD
Professor and Executive Director
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Louisiana State University

Dana Yoerger, PhD
Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution