NOAA -- Competition for a Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

OAR invites applications for the establishment of a Cooperative Institute (CI) to: a) discover and initially characterize new marine flora, fauna, and phenomena in support of NOAA and national priorities; (b) advance NOAA and national undersea technology capabilities in partnership with academia, the private sector, and not-for-profit institutions; and (c) enhance the utility of ocean exploration results to stakeholders. This CI will facilitate a long-term collaborative environment between NOAA and the recipient(s) within which broad-based exploration, research, technology development, and education and outreach capabilities that focus on NOAA's priorities for the global ocean living and non-living marine resources can be developed and sustained. 

Deadline: Oct. 15, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The NOAA CI for ocean exploration will conduct exploration of the world’s oceans; identify and test advanced technology; and maximize the value of ocean exploration information.

I. Ocean Exploration: The new CI will work in partnership with NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), consistent with its mission to make ocean discoveries of scientific, economic, and cultural value. The new OER CI will:

a. Independently conduct, as well as partner with NOAA to support, at-sea ocean exploration expeditions.

b. Assist with support of NOAA’s at-sea ocean exploration expeditions aboard NOAA owned vessels, UNOLS vessels, or other capably equipped vessels in use by NOAA (e.g., leased or chartered vessels)

c. Foster partnerships for ocean exploration missions with federal, public and private programs and organizations.

II. Ocean Exploration Technology: OER is NOAA’s focal point for the design, development, deployment, testing, evaluation, application, and transition to operational status of new and refined marine technologies (e.g., instrument systems, sensors, and platforms) to advance deep, expeditionary, and interactive marine data collection technology. 

III. Increase the Utility of Ocean Exploration Information: A critical component of OER's mission is to transition new knowledge of the ocean’s physical, geological, chemical, biological, and archaeological environments. In order to increase the richness of content and lessen the interval between collection, availability, and application of data, the new OER CI will employ new techniques for data management, synthesis, visualization, and display that allow NOAA and its stakeholders both to conduct science differently and to share results in terms useful to government, academic, private, and public stakeholders.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility is limited to non-Federal public and private non-profit universities, colleges and research institutions that offer accredited graduate-level degree-granting programs in NOAA-relevant sciences.

Amount Description

All funding is contingent upon the availability of Federal appropriations. NOAA anticipates that approximately $15M-$30M will be available annually for this CI. The actual annual funding that the CI receives may be less than the anticipated amount and will depend on the actual projects that are approved by NOAA after the main CI award begins, the availability of funding, the quality of the research, the alignment of project progress to the original project proposal's stated goals, and continued relevance to OER program objectives.

The award period will be 5 years and may be renewed for up to an additional 5 years based on the outcome of a review of scientific and administrative performance conducted in the fourth year of the award period, as described in the NOAA CI Interim Handbook located here:

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

October 15, 2018