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Coastal Ocean Institute: Call for Proposals

2013 COI Call for Research Proposals

Deadline for proposal submission: May 1, 2013 (Please contact your individual department staff regarding their internal policy and deadlines.)

Award Start Date: June 17 – July 1 2013

Award Duration: Two year (with all funds allocated in the first year)

Amount Available:  Approximately $200,000 (with a maximum of $75,000 per proposal request)

Director:  Chris Reddy, x2316 creddy@whoi.edu


The Coastal Ocean Institute (COI) is soliciting proposals from members of the Scientific and Senior Technical Staff for research or technology development that address one or more of these themes, as detailed below. Proposals for interdisciplinary work involving more than one WHOI department are especially encouraged

Natural and anthropogenic threats to the coastal environment

Research that examines threats to and abuses of coastal waters, including studies of:

  • natural hazards, such as hurricanes, other severe weather events, tsunamis and flooding, sea-level changes, harmful algal blooms, and introductions and spreading of aquatic nuisance species
  • shoreline change, coastal erosion, habitat destruction, and the effects of human development and shore protection efforts
  • natural resource uses and management, such as groundwater, renewable energy, fisheries and aquaculture, recreation, and minerals
  • pollution sources, modes of transport, and fate
  • coastal carbon cycling / acidification

The Dynamic Land/Sea Margin

Research that examines the biological, physical, geological, and chemical processes at work where air, sea, and land meet, including:

  • physical and biogeochemical dynamics of continental shelves, estuaries, rivers and deltas
  • transport and exchange between salt- and fresh-water systems--groundwater, surface water, and sea water
  • coupling of physical and biological processes
  • biogeochemical pathways processes affecting shoreline change, including waves, tides, currents, weather patterns, morphodynamics, and sediment transport

New Tools and Technologies for Coastal Research

Research and development that improves our ability to measure, monitor, and analyze the fundamental processes shaping the coastal region, including development of:

  • new sensors, instruments, and analytical tools
  • cabled, moored, and wireless ocean observatories
  • remotely operated and autonomous vehicles
  • multidisciplinary approaches to laboratory and field work
  • coastal mapping
  • theoretical and computational modeling of coastal processes

Policy studies relevant to all of the above theme areas are appropriate as well.


Ocean Acidification Initiative - There is a strong scientific consensus and growing public awareness that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are making the oceans more acidic and impacting marine ecosystems and fisheries.  Through WHOI’s Ocean Acidification Initiative, which is coordinated and supported by all four Ocean Institutes, proposals are sought that investigate ocean acidification in coastal settings of the Atlantic Coast of the United States, from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the Gulf of Maine.  Thematic topics to be included within the OA Initiative are:

  • Field studies of that include comprehensive measurements of water chemistry, and development of new sensors and new modeling techniques.
  • Lab studies of the biological impacts of (e.g., gene expression, acclimation, and adaptation).
  • Field studies of OA impacts on fish and shellfish species and ecosystems (e.g., calcification, food quality).
  • Societal impacts of OA (studies of economic impacts on commercial fisheries and aquaculture, ecosystem services or marine recreation, and development of science-based management approaches and aquaculture procedures to minimize OA impacts)

Research Projects

The Coastal Ocean Institute is soliciting proposals for research projects that fall within one or more of the above research themes.

Awards are available to those who satisfy the WHOI eligibility requirements to be a Principal Investigator (see http://www.whoi.edu/DoR/page.do?pid=30035&tid=3622&cid=34968 ).  

Please note that an individual may not be a PI or co-PI on more than two (2) proposals for this combined Ocean Institute/Access to the Sea Call for proposals).

A total of approximately $200,000 is available for awards in 2013, with awards upward to a maximum of $75,000.  Proposals will be for one year of funding, to be spent over a maximum of two years.


Award Criteria

The Coastal Ocean Institute will support individual and interdisciplinary collaborative research projects relevant to the current themes of the Institute.  The mission of the COI is to support and enrich the coastal research activities of the WHOI community, particularly those research activities that directly affect the protection and enhancement of coastal resources. 

Summaries of previous COI awards are available at: http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=96769

The awards may be used for salary support for Principal Investigators, postdoctoral investigators, support staff, and graduate students, the development or purchase of equipment, sea-going activities, or any other activities normally associated with research projects.  Note that investigators are encouraged to include funding for current joint program students working on coastal research. Salary support will not be provided to those receiving substantial Institute or Institution salary support as Chairs, Fellows, Directors, Education Coordinators, etc., unless a strong justification is provided. Proposals should include a brief description of how the proposed work would fit with other existing or planned research projects, and/or contribute to longer-term programs and strategic goals of the Institution.

Principal Investigators will be expected to participate in some activities of the Coastal Ocean Institute and to help communicate the results and implications of their research to donors, the public, and to policy-makers in government.  PIs may also be expected to work with the Institute Director and Institute Advisory Committee in developing future research plans and activities for the Institute.

The following factors will be considered in granting the awards:

  1. Quality of proposal (scholarship, innovation, research approach, scientific importance)
  2. Relevance to the Institute’s Mission:
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Match to a current Institute theme (see above);
  • Providing a link between basic research and management of the coastal environment
      3. Other attributes
  • Unlikely to be readily or immediately funded by external sources;
  • An important new area of inquiry at WHOI.


WHOI Ocean Institute Proposal Submission Guidelines and Review Process 2013

Important: please note that the Ocean Institutes (OIs) proposal submission process has changed.  A signed “green sheet” proposal is not required when submitting a proposal by 1 May.  Instead, a proposal with estimated budget information is requested first.  Only awarded proposals will require a signed “green sheet”, a budget produced in WHOI grants, and submission as a full proposal to GCS. 

Please submit your proposal due 1 May to your Department AP for them to upload.  This will automatically send proposals to Andrew Daly (adaly@whoi.edu) and the OI Director of the Institute to which a proposal is being submitted.  The deadline for submission is May 1, 2013 at 5:00 pmPlease follow the instructions below.

Proposals must include the following information:

  • Abstract: The abstract should not exceed one page and should not be too technical. If your proposal is funded, the abstract will be part of a report to the donor that describes what was done with the money provided to us for the program.  Abstracts of funded projects will be posted on the appropriate OI website.

  • Text: Total proposal length must not exceed six (6) pages including budget detail and justification, figures and references. NSF font and margin guidelines apply.  The text should describe the research planned and its relevance to OI themes. Reviewers look for a clear description of your primary research questions, your methods for accomplishing the work, the relevance of the research to the key questions and goals of the respective OI, and the potential for this work to lead to new ideas and new proposals to federal agencies for additional field and laboratory work.  Please include a short description of how the proposed research fits in with your overall research strategy and with previously funded research projects or future proposal submissions.

  • Budget Estimate: PIs are asked to submit a budget detail estimate that is accurate to within +/- 10%. The objective of this new budget requirement is to streamline the process for internal OI, MMC and A2S awards; an official budget will be required dependent on the success of review and funding. The estimated budget should include a basic justification that outlines the amount of salary for PIs, technical and administration staff support, and other costs (equipment, travel, supplies) being requested.  PIs can use recent salary and OH numbers from fully vetted NSF or other proposals to arrive at their budget figures, and can ask their APs for assistance, so that their budget estimates are close to the target.

  • Current CV for each PI: Two page CV that includes a list of the10 most recent or relevant products. Products are publications, data sets, software, patents or copyrights.

  • Cover Sheet: stating proposal title, PIs and department affiliation, budget estimate amount, and the internal call that the proposal is being submitted to.  Please note that proposals may be jointly funded by more than one Institute/program.  In this case, the primary and secondary Institute/program needs to be indicated. The green sheet can be used as a cover page, but does not have to be signed for the proposals submitted by 1 May.
  • Submission: Please send your proposal to your AP for uploading by May 1 2013 at 5:00 pm.  Uploading will assure that the proposal is received by  Andrew Daly (adaly@whoi.edu) and the appropriate OI Director.


The Ocean Institute Review Process

All Ocean Institute proposals are rigorously reviewed using the members of each OI Advisory Committee (see OI websites for listings of personnel on each Advisory Committee (http://www.whoi.edu/main/ocean-institutes).  We expect that the review process will be completed by early June with funding commencing in mid-late June 2013.  If needed, additional scientific and senior technical staff members may be asked by the OI Directors to assist with reviews.  For each category, the committee will rate the proposals on the basis of the quality and relevance of the proposed research and make recommendations for funding to each OI Director.  The OI Director will in turn make recommendations to WHOI’s Institute Oversight Committee for final approval (The Institute Oversight Committee consists of the Department Chairs, Institute Directors, all the VPs and the Chief Development Officer.).  Normal WHOI procedures to avoid conflict of interest will be followed.


Final Proposal Funding Process

If a proposal is awarded, the PI will be asked to prepare a formal WHOI grants budget (please do not include the detailed "Salary & Related Cost" report).  Submit the entire proposal (Abstract, Text, Final Budget, Justification and CV) to GCS with a green sheet, and appropriate signatures at the Departmental level.  Please fill out the green sheet as follows:

  1. Address Field on the routing form (green sheet) should indicate that the proposal is to be submitted to the specific OI Director, their MS#, and the specific name of the OI.
  2. Agency information to be inserted is as follows:
    - Agency: WHOI Internal Awards
    - Agency Division: WHOI – Specific OI
    - Program Field should be left blank

    If proposals are to be jointly funded by more than one Institute/program, the prime Institute or program should be identified in the Division field on the routing form (green sheet).   In addition, joint submission status should be indicated both on the Green Sheet under “Special Instructions for Repro & Mailing” and in any transmission email.


Upload the entire proposal package online, in PDF format, at:
http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=22956

Please note: Department(s) should retain desired copies for their files.


Points of Contact

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your proposal to OLI, or if you wish to discuss your OLI proposal in advance, please contact Chris Reddy (creddy@whoi.edu, x3366).  Questions about the submission process may be directed to Andrew Daly (adaly@whoi.edu, x2852).


Final Project Report

A brief report is required at the end of the award period.  This report will be posted on the COI project web page with your abstract and used to keep the donors of the funds that support the COI informed of the awards and to express our gratitude by sharing the results of the research.  The donors, while not necessarily trained in your field, are knowledgeable about science in general, and curious about what we do.  We wish to do everything we can to keep them fully informed of our progress.  PIs will be encouraged to work with the Communications group to prepare popular accounts of their COI research.

Last updated: April 23, 2013