Offshore Industry News

Funding Opportunity: Oceanographic Facilities and Equipment Support

Full Proposal Due Dates: 16 November and 15 December 2015.

Oceanographic facilities and equipment are supported by the Integrative Programs Section (IPS) of the Division of Ocean Sciences Division (OCE), Directorate for Geosciences (GEO). These awards are made for the procurement, conversion and/or up-grade, enhancement or annual operation of platforms in the ocean, coastal, near-shore and Great Lakes.


Awards are generally directed specifically to support facilities that lend themselves to shared use within the broad range of federally-supported research and education programs. Most of these platforms and facilities also receive partial support from federal agencies other than NSF. This includes state and local governments and private sources on a proportional basis; usually through a daily rate mechanism. The primary objective of these awards is to ensure the availability of appropriate facilities for federally-funded investigators and educators. Individual project-based facilities and instrumentation, limited to one, or a small group of investigators, should be supported through appropriate research programs as opposed to the IPS programs listed herein.

The individual programs covered within this solicitation include:
1 Ship Operations (Ship Ops)
2 Oceanographic Technical Services (OTS)
3 Oceanographic Instrumentation (OI)
4 Shipboard Scientific Support Equipment (SSSE)
5 Ship Acquisition and Upgrade (SAU)
6 Other Facility Activities (OFA)

Ship Operations (Ship Ops): Ship Ops provide support for costs arising from the operation and maintenance of academic research vessels. Allowable costs include salaries and related expenses of crew members and marine operations staff; acquisition of minor or expendable equipment; maintenance, overhaul and repairs; insurance; and direct operating costs such as fuel, food, supplies, travel, and pilot and agent fees. Shore-side facilities and support costs are provided only to the extent that they relate directly to ship operations. Ship Operations support requests must be directly attributable to NSF-sponsored science.

Oceanographic Technical Service (OTS): The OTS Program provides support to enhance the scientific productivity of research programs using major facilities, primarily research vessels. Effective use of such facilities is enhanced by providing institutional technical support services to all users of an institution's facilities. Allowable costs include salaries and related expenses, maintenance and calibration of sensors and instrumentation, and travel. Services provided include quality assurance, scheduling of technical support, logistical assistance, and at-sea supervision of the instrumentation and shared-use equipment available to sea-going researchers. Like Ship Operations, Technical support requests must be directly attributable to NSF-sponsored science.

Oceanographic Instrumentation (OI): The OI Program provides support to enhance the scientific capabilities and productivity of seagoing research projects that use major facilities, primarily research vessels. Proposals for shared-use instrumentation may include items for the collection, processing and analysis of oceanographic data. Typical items which qualify are sensors, acoustic systems, data loggers, water sampling rosettes, biological net systems, coring equipment and auto-analyzers. Requested instrumentation must be justifiable in terms of multi-project cooperative utilization.

Shipboard Scientific Support Equipment (SSSE): The SSSE Program provides support to improve safety and enhance scientific capabilities and productivity of seagoing research programs that use major facilities, primarily research vessels. Proposals may include requests for either new permanent or portable equipment required to outfit a vessel to conduct oceanographic research and overhaul of equipment funded under this program including such items as science handling systems (winches, frames, cranes, etc.), the entire range of navigation and communication equipment, and safety and regulatory-related items. This program also provides support for the UNOLS equipment pools (wires, vans and winches). Requests for both replacement and installation of new equipment may be submitted.

Ship Acquisition and Upgrade (SAU): In coordination with interagency agreements and broader Academic Fleet modernization requirements, OCE periodically makes awards for the acquisition, design and construction, modification (either capability enhancement or Service Life Extension), or conversion of research vessels. These awards are dependent upon the availability of funds appropriated for this purpose and are made only on strong evidence of scientific need for a new or reconditioned vessel.

Other Facility Activities (OFA): OCE supports specialized facility operations (i.e. Deep Submergence), University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) functions, workshops and other facilities enhancement and developmental activities. All projects must focus on shared-use capabilities for the ocean science research community. Compliance with the UNOLS Research Vessel Safety Standards (RVSS) is mandatory under these programs and will be more fully described in the cooperative agreement or grant terms and conditions.

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