Funding call for Gulf of Mexico oil spill research

Image source: GoMRI (For illustration only)

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), scheduled to complete its work in 2020, has released a new $65 million funding call for research proposals.

GoMRI is an organization that supports research directed at improving the understanding of the effects of oil spills on the environment and people of the Gulf of Mexico region.

It is a ten-year program established by a $500 million commitment from BP following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

A competitive, merit review process modeled after that of the U.S. National Science Foundation identifies research programs and projects to be funded by GoMRI. Data from all GoMRI-funded research are made available to the public via a data management system called the GRIIDC.

This request for proposals will provide funding for up to two years (2018-2019).

Rita Colwell, Chair of the GoMRI Research Board, said: “We have been very pleased by the quality of research produced by GoMRI-supported researchers.

“New species have been discovered, and improved understanding of ocean currents and microbial degradation of oil have been gained.

“This understanding is critical and brings us to a place where we have a more comprehensive understanding of how an oil spill moves through the Gulf of Mexico, and its influence on the environment and the citizens of the region.”

The organization said on Monday that the latest GoMRI awards (RFP-VI) would total about $32.5 million per year for the next two years and that this would be the last round of funding by the organization.

It is anticipated that approximately 20 individual investigators or collaborations and 10 research consortium awards will be made.

Areas of focus for the last GoMRI award are:

– Physical distribution, dispersion, and dilution of petroleum (oil and gas), its constituents, and associated contaminants (for example, dispersants) under the action of physical oceanographic processes, air–sea interactions, and tropical storms.

– Chemical evolution and biological degradation of the petroleum/dispersant system and subsequent interaction with coastal, open-ocean, and deep-water ecosystems.

– 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.

– Technology developments for improved response, mitigation, detection, characterization, and remediation associated with oil spills and gas releases.

– Impact of oil spills on public health including behavioral, socioeconomic, environmental risk assessment, community capacity, and other population health considerations and issues.

GoMRI said that full proposals must be received by March 3, 2017. The organization expects to announce the awards in September 2017, with start dates in January 2018.

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