The Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) has issued a Request for Proposals a for Competitive Research Program Awards to address critical research gaps in the north-central Gulf of Mexico related to Water Quality and/or Oyster Reefs and their Sustainability. Click here to read the RFP.

ORSP will host a Lunch and Learn related to this opportunity on July 15.
Click here to sign up for the Lunch and Learn.

The Core Research Program Award, also discussed in the RFP, is NOT the subject of this ORSP notice.

Scientific Focus

Per the RFP, “Science-based needs as they related to water quality and oyster sustainability…are diverse in scope and discipline. MBRACE is specifically looking for projects that increase understanding of:

  • Transport and fate of bacteria in Mississippi coastal systems, including source tracking and factors affecting bacterial occurrence and growth in water, beaches, and/or sediment, specifically in the nearshore environment
  • Dynamics of freshwater inflow (e.g., timing, duration, quality) and associated sedimentation, urban runoff, altered salinity regimes, and effects on estuarine and coastal systems, including but not limited to nutrient loading, bacterial loading, harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia.
  • Oyster biology, ecology, and production, including, but not limited to, larval transport, settlement, growth, abundance, and survival
  • Parameters and locations for optimal cultch deployment and oyster seed deployment to enhance oyster production and reef sustainability.”

“Projects may address one or both of the topic areas of (1) Water Quality, and (2) Oyster Reefs and their Sustainability, and can include monitoring, modeling, and/or manipulative experiments, and the use of existing datasets, the collection of additional data to complement existing datasets, and/or the creation of new datasets. Applicants are encouraged to review the MBRACE Science Plan, which is available on the MBRACE website(see About->Mission and Goals).

PI Eligibility

Proposals to the Competitive Research Program are invited from lead investigators at UM, JSU, MSU, and USM—either for single investigator projects or collaborative projects involving investigators from institutions beyond even these four. Any UM employee who is eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator is invited to lead or participate in the development of one or more such proposals. However, MBRACE Executive Steering Committee (ESC) members are not eligible to participate as PIs, co-PIs, or collaborators (funded or unfunded) on Competitive Research Program Awards.

Proposal Submission

The deadline to submit is August 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. C.T. All UM personnel leading or participating on proposals are required to coordinate their submission through ORSP, including submitting a transmittal at least 5 working days ahead of the sponsor’s deadline.

Evaluation Criteria

Competitive Research Program proposals will be evaluated on: Importance and Relevance (40%); Scientific Merit (40%); Qualifications (10%), and Appropriateness of Budget (10%).

Award Information

At least three Competitive Research Grants will be awarded for projects of no more than a two-year (24 month) duration, with an expected start date of 1/1/2020. While the ceiling on each award is $450,000 (inclusive of both direct and indirect costs), we encourage UM applicants to limit project scopes (and corresponding funding requests) to the size of project that makes sense for them, since smaller budgets could result in more awards.

Undergraduate Student Internships

Following notice of funding, Lead PIs on Competitive Research Program Awards will be eligible to apply for an undergraduate supplementary internship. MBRACE will pay for an undergraduate to conduct a research internship related to the funded proposal, with a $10,000 award to cover research expenses, a full-time participation stipend, and housing for a 10-week summer internship. UM rules on student employment will be in effect, including the rule that students are not permitted to work over 25 hours in any given week. Therefore, as soon as they receive notice of funding, UM Lead PIs are encouraged to complete and submit a Student Program Request for this internship to be recognized as an experiential student learning program, rather than paid University employment. Students in institutionally recognized Experiential Learning Programs may receive stipends for full-time program participation without that being considered university employment. See https://research.olemiss.edu/resources/students for details on this process.

UM MBRACE Information Session (Lunch and Learn)

On July 15, ORSP will facilitate an Information Session from noon. to 1:30 p.m., with lunch provided. Prospective investigators and others wishing to learn more about this program are invited to sign up by July 8 at http://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations.
Marc Slattery, UM’s representative on the MBRACE Executive Steering Committee (ESC), will be on hand to provide insights into the competition/process, give feedback proposal ideas, and answer questions related to the RFP, the MBRACE Science Plan, or other MBRACE topics.

Prospective UM investigators are also invited (but not required) to share one-page proposal white papers with Dr. Slattery between now and the end of the July 19. Dr. Slattery will provide feedback/suggestions on all ideas received—feedback that the investigator may incorporate or ignore.