Management and Operation of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The OOI is a large scale ocean observing system constructed and deployed under NSF sponsorship and oversight as a Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) Project.  The system includes an integrated network of cabled and uncabled arrays of instrumentation, distributed in various coastal and global ocean locations, to facilitate Ocean Science research. Since construction was completed in 2016, the OOI has been in operational status at an approximate funding level of $55,000,000 ($55M) per year.

The existing Cooperative Agreement (CA) for Construction and Initial Operation of the facility extends from September 2009 through April 2017.   A National Research Council (NRC) review commissioned by NSF to examine the balance of Ocean Science research and infrastructure costs over the next decade resulted in NSF developing an implementation plan that will require significant changes to the facility operation envisioned by the current CA.  The new approaches required for managing and operating the OOI in the best interest of U.S. science will most effectively be implemented by a new operating model that encourages greater efficiency, innovation, and collaboration.  

This solicitation seeks the services of a qualified organization to provide scientific and technical management and operation of the OOI consistent with National Science Board policy and NSF's decisions regarding NRC recommendations. The initial period of the award is intended to cover five years, plus a maximum 6 month transition period if required, with performance expected to begin in late-2017.


  • Duke Internal Deadline: January 6, 2017
  • Required Letter of Intent: Jan. 18, 2017
  • Full Proposal: Apr. 17, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1. 1 as Lead Awardee. No limit as a subawardee.

Amount Description

Estimated program budget and award size/duration is subject to the availability of funds but not more than $44M per year.

The successful proposal will be awarded as Cooperative Agreement that may include implementing Cooperative Support Agreement(s). NSF anticipates that the initial award commitment will be for five years, with continuation for a maximum of a further five years contingent on the availability of funds and the successful outcome of a comprehensive external review of Awardee performance and facility success in the third or fourth year of the initial period (see Section VII.B, "Special Award Conditions").

All budget amounts given in this program solicitation are for planning purposes only; actual annual funding increments will be determined on the basis of Annual Work Plans (AWPs) submitted by the Awardee and approved by NSF, subject to the availability of appropriated funds and contingent upon successful performance of the Awardee.

If a new Awardee is selected to replace the incumbent, NSF will fund appropriate transition costs for a transition period of up to 6 months. Relevant transition activities include interviewing and hiring personnel, assigning subcontracts, transferring data and property, and obtaining permits and licenses. During this transition period, the new Awardee will have the appropriate level of access to incumbent personnel and facilities as determined by NSF.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

January 6, 2017

External Deadline

January 18, 2017