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Requests for Proposals - Archived

A Regional Center in the NOAA
Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

FY 2010-2011

Deadline:  December 09, 2009

The Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), the NOAA Undersea Research Center for Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific in the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) invites pre-proposals for research beginning in late FY 2010. The programmatic themes for this period are listed below. It is anticipated that a limited number of full proposals will be requested from those submitting pre-proposals, with award decisions expected in June of 2010.

The Center

HURL is a regional center in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, created by a merger of the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) and Ocean Exploration (OE). The Center supports highly-rated, peer-reviewed proposals to conduct undersea research in offshore and nearshore waters of the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and waters of the central, southwestern, and western Pacific, including the new marine national monuments.

HURL supports the NOAA national and regional priorities by providing an improved understanding of the Nation’s underwater resources to enable effective ecosystem-based management. Our primary responsibility is to engage academic- and government-based science and technology experts in developing solutions to problems facing the region, NOAA, and the Nation. Projects approved by the Center must further the NOAA mission by addressing the themes outlined below. Preference will be given to those in marine managed areas under U.S. jurisdiction that provide data to guide large area ecosystem and resource management plans.

2010-2011 Thematic Research Areas

  • Extreme and Unique Environments. Research will focus on unusual ocean environments in strategic locations, including ecosystems associated with deep sea corals, hydrothermal vents, methane hydrates, hydrocarbon seeps, submarine canyons, seamounts, and ridges.
  • Ecosystems of Island, Atoll, or Seamount Flanks, Including the Extended Continental Shelf. Research will focus on characterizing ecosystems and assessing their health, including the identification of stressors and processes, to ensure their sound management.
  • New Resources from the Sea. Research will focus on new resources from the sea, including marine biotechnology, energy, and cultural or non-living resources.
  • Ocean Dynamics: Episodic Events to Long Term Changes. Research will focus on oceanic and climatic events taking place on a wide range of time and spatial scales along with their impacts on the success and survival of species and communities past, present, and future (e.g., deployment of time series sensors, collection of samples used as proxies).


The Center invites pre-proposals under the 2010-11 Thematic Research Areas. Pre-proposals will be accepted for work in the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (2010), the U.S. Line and Phoenix Islands, Johnston Atoll, and American Samoa (2011). Sites may extend beyond areas under U.S. jurisdiction if logistically feasible and necessary in the context of a larger program. Projects supported by the Center will be hypothesis driven and address a specific scientific need or gap in knowledge. The focus is field-based research, rather than modeling and laboratory-based studies.

The Center will continue to provide support for undersea systems, including human occupied and remotely operated vehicles, a multibeam sonar system, and other standard oceanographic instruments appropriate to the work proposed. See the link below for further information. The main constraint for this RFP will be the available number of ship days that can be applied to each project. PIs are encouraged to discuss potential projects and how they fit into the research themes with Center staff prior to submission.


  • The proposed research must address the 2010-11 Thematic Research Areas.
  • Field work must be located within the Center’s region and along expected cruise tracks: the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in late 2010, or the U.S. Line Islands (e.g., Kingman, Palmyra, Jarvis), Phoenix Islands (e.g., Howland, Baker), Johnston Atoll, and American Samoa in early-mid 2011. See notation above for sites outside U.S. EEZs.
  • The lead PI must be a scientist at a U.S. institution, either government (federal, state, local, indigenous), academic, or not-for-profit. Scientists from other countries are welcome as collaborators, but the proposal must be submitted through a U.S. institution.
  • The lead PI must participate in the field work.


Project Duration. One-year field projects are preferred. Two-year projects in the different areas of operation will be considered if clearly justified and necessary for success of the project. Diving activities in Year 2 will be contingent on Year 1 achievements and continued program funding from NOAA. The Center reserves the right to postpone dive programs as necessary resulting from funding delays, logistical grounds, or technical reasons.

Expedition planning. Prospective PIs are encouraged to discuss ship and equipment needs with Center staff at any time. Logistical feasibility, which largely involves transit time to/from sites off the planned cruise track, will play heavily into the successful invitation to full proposal. Please contact the Science Director prior to submission if there are questions in this regard.

Extent of support. General support of at-sea operations, including vessel, submersible, and ROV time, along with food and lodging while aboard ship, is provided at no cost to participating investigators and their associates. Up to ten scientists can be accommodated on the support ship in addition to the full HURL operations team. Participants should expect to acquire any other costs associated with their projects, including salaries, travel costs, and onboard supplies, from other sources. Funding for post-cruise scientific analysis and publication should be solicited from other NOAA programs, alternate granting agencies such as NSF, or private foundations.

Pre-Proposal Submission Guidelines.

Pre-proposals may be up to three single-sided and numbered standard letter-size pages in length, using one-inch margins, single-spacing, and font no smaller than 12 pt Times New Roman. The first page must list the Project Title and Principle Investigator(s) names and affiliations. The primary contact person should be identified with telephone number and email address. Any figures used must be referenced in the text. Citations may be in 10 pt font. All items must be included within the three-page limit. Official forms, signatures, and CVs are NOT required at this time. Pre-proposals should contain a summary of the proposed research including: hypotheses to be tested; a brief description of the experiments and methods to be employed; relevance to the 2010-11 Thematic Research Areas; justification for using human occupied and remotely operated vehicles; any pertinent time constraints; the area of operations including latitude, longitude, and depth; and reference to sources and/or commitments of external support should dives be awarded. This will ensure that appropriate research guidelines are addressed, and will permit operations staff to evaluate feasibility. PIs are cautioned to propose a realistic number of dives as Center funding for days at sea is limited. Co-partner funding is encouraged.

Pre-proposals are due by December 09, 2009. These must be submitted electronically to as a standard PDF, word processor, or text attachment file, or via surface mail on a CD/DVD to the address listed below. Submissions will be acknowledged. Pre-proposals exceeding the guidelines stated above will be rejected without review.

Full Proposals. Invitations to submit full proposals will be issued by early January 2010 following internal review of the pre-proposals by Center staff. Full proposals will be due by March 10, 2010. Provisional award decisions are expected in June; final decisions will depend on the timing of the Federal budget process for FY10.

Center Director: Dr. John Wiltshire (Non-Living Resources), 808.956.6042,
Science Director: Dr. John R. Smith (MG&G, Logistics), 808.956.9669,
Program Biologist: Dr. Christopher Kelley (Living Resources), 808.956.7437,
Operations Director: Mr. Terry Kerby (Vehicle Capabilities), 808.259.9991,

Please note that Smith, Kelley, and Kerby will be at sea from mid-Nov to Dec 06. Questions for them during this time should be directed to which will be monitored on shore.

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