NOAA -- Marine Debris Research

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), authorized in the Marine Debris Act (33 U.S.C. 1951-1958), provides funding to support eligible organizations to conduct research directly related to marine debris through field, laboratory, and modeling experiments. The MDP invites applications for research funding in any of three areas of focus: research that explores the ecological risk associated with marine debris and determines debris exposure levels; research that examines the fate and transport of marine debris; and/or research that quantifies habitat impacts resulting from marine debris and the gains in ecosystem services that result when debris is removed. Projects may address one or more of these research priorities and should be original, hypothesis-driven projects that have not previously been addressed to scientific standards. Successful proposals through this solicitation will be funded through cooperative agreements. Funding of up to $1,500,000 is expected to be available for Marine Debris Research grants in Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). Typical awards will range from $150,000 - $250,000. Funding for this grant competition comes through the NOAA Marine Debris Program as appropriations to the Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service.


Deadline: Dec. 14, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The overarching goal of this funding opportunity is to advance the state of marine debris science by funding hypothesis-driven research projects in order to enhance resource management objectives. 

Program priorities (in no preferential order) for this competition are for research that:

- conducts an ecological risk assessment or uses a risk assessment framework to evaluate the likelihood that adverse ecological effects may occur or are occurring to a managed/regulated recreational, commercial, or aquaculture fishery species population as a result of exposure to marine debris. This can include research that estimates exposure of a managed/regulated recreational, commercial, or aquaculture fishery species to a specific type of marine debris and quantifies subsequent biological impacts to the target species;

- investigates the fate and transport of marine debris, including the vertical transport of debris from surface waters, throughout the water column, to benthic sediments; and

- quantifies impacts from marine debris to intertidal and nearshore habitats and the gains in ecosystem services when debris is removed from sensitive habitats.

Eligibility Requirements

In accordance with the Marine Debris Act, eligible applicants are state, local, tribal, and territory governments, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, or commercial (for-profit) organizations with expertise in a field related to marine debris. Applications from federal agencies or employees of federal agencies will not be considered. Interested federal agencies may collaborate with eligible applicants but may not receive funds through this competition.

All projects must take place within the United States or territories or their respective waterways. Foreign organizations and foreign public entities (non-U.S. or territory organizations) are not eligible to apply as the primary applicant but can be listed as a subawardee or contractor. 



Amount Description

Funding of up to $1,500,000 is expected to be available for this grant solicitation. The actual funding amount available is contingent upon the availability of Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations. The NOAA MDP does not plan to fund proposals with a budget less than $75,000 or more than $350,000 under this solicitation. Typical project awards range from $150,000 to $350,000.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

December 14, 2018