Opportunity: Management and Operation of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI)

The OOI is a large-scale ocean observing system constructed and deployed under NSF sponsorship and oversight as a Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) Project.

Full proposal deadline: April 17, 2017

The system includes an integrated network of cabled and uncabled arrays of instrumentation, distributed in various coastal and global ocean locations, to facilitate Ocean Science research. Since construction was completed in 2016, the OOI has been in operational status at an approximate funding level of $55,000,000 ($55M) per year.

The existing Cooperative Agreement (CA) for Construction and Initial Operation of the facility extends from September 2009 through April 2017. A National Research Council (NRC) review commissioned by NSF to examine the balance of Ocean Science research and infrastructure costs over the next decade resulted in NSF developing an implementation plan that will require significant changes to the facility operation envisioned by the current CA. The new approaches required for managing and operating the OOI in the best interest of U.S. science will most effectively be implemented by a new operating model that encourages greater efficiency, innovation, and collaboration.

This solicitation seeks the services of a qualified organization to provide scientific and technical management and operation of the OOI consistent with National Science Board policy and NSF's decisions regarding NRC recommendations. According to the solicitation, the Anticipated Funding Amount is $221,000,000, with Annual Funding amounting to $44,000,000 for each year of operations is currently anticipated. Additional funding of up to $1,000,000 may be requested to support a transition period of up to 6 months in duration.

The initial period of the award is intended to cover five years, plus a maximum 6-month transition period if required, with performance expected to begin in late-2017. The full solicitation is available here.

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