National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program


The National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program was established from criminal penalties from the Gulf Oil Spill.  The Program will have a total of $500 million ($350M from BP and $150M from Transocean) in a fixed term endowment. The funds accumulate over five years (2013-2018), and must be disbursed within 30 years. Program activities focus on the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. coastal and outer continental shelf regions where human communities, ecosystems, and energy production co-exist. Work that transfers knowledge to or from other places in the United States or other nations is included in the mandate.  NAS should receive the full $500 Million by 2017-18.  They are just now ramping up, with $5 million awarded in their first 18 months.  They anticipate this increasing to $10 million next year.  NAS is looking for different approaches that are multi-disciplinary and integrative.  They encourage holistic approaches that look at the Gulf as a whole and cut across state boundaries.

Funding Opportunities

Early-Career Research Fellowships – Award Year 2016

Two-year research fellowships that recognize tenure track faculty (or equivalent) for exceptional leadership, past performance, and potential for future contributions to improving oil system safety, human health and wellbeing, or environmental protection.

Application deadline: February 17, 2016.

Science Policy Fellowships – Award Year 2016

One-year science policy fellowship with a state environmental, natural resources, oil and gas, or public health agency; or regional office of a relevant federal agency in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Application deadline: February 17, 2016.

Anticipated 2016 Funding Opportunities

1.     Exploratory Grants – Award Year 2016

Grants of up to two years for projects that break new ground to address an old or a new problem through innovation, which includes developing new approaches, technologies, or methods, or engaging non-traditional disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, or cross-sector perspectives.   Exploratory grants are modeled on the NSF Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER).  They are not intended for incremental research in well-studied areas. 

  • $4 million total, 10-20 projects
  • Topic 1:  Scenario Planning to Explore Risks in Offshore Oil and Gas Operations
  • Topic 2:  Helping Coastal Communities Plan for and Respond to Environmental Change in Regions with Offshore Oil and Gas Operations
  • Full details will be available when applications open December 15, 2015. Letter of Intent deadline: February 17, 2016.

2.     Synthesis Grants – Award Year 2016

Two-year grants for projects that generate novel insights, address critical questions, or lead to new approaches to interpreting and using data through scientific synthesis—the process of integrating distinct elements or components into a coherent or complex whole to support research.  These grants are not intended to support the mere collaboration of data or the collection of primary data (including new field, laboratory, or imagery data). 

  • $5 million total , 10-15 projects
  • Topic:  Scientific Synthesis Connecting Environmental, Social, and/or Health Data

Full details will be available when applications open March 1, 2016. Letter of Intent deadline: April 27, 2016.

3.     Capacity Building Grants – Award Year 2016

Grants of up to two years for projects that provide opportunities for organizations with close ties to communities to evaluate and test approaches and build capabilities that are needed to encourage scientific literacy, solve problems, spark innovation, and establish sustainable approaches for tackling complex challenges facing coastal communities.

  • $1 million total, 5-10 projects
  • Topic:  Cross-boundary Networks to Address Regional Environmental Challenges in U.S. OCS Regions.

Full details will be available when applications open May 11, 2016. Proposal deadline: TBD.


Sign up to receive e-updates:
Strategic Plan:
2013-14 Annual Report:
Advisory Board Members: