March 27, 2019

$5 Million in Grants Available to Advance Understanding of U.S. Gulf Coastal Ecosystems and Their Interactions with Natural Processes and Human Activities

WASHINGTON – The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced a new funding opportunity under its Healthy Ecosystems Initiative. Up to $5 million is available to fund research projects that will improve understanding of how coastal ecosystems in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region are affected by or interact with natural processes and human activities for the purpose of informing natural resource decision-making and management practices.

“As part of GRP’s Healthy Ecosystems Initiative, we are working to facilitate more sustainable natural resource management,” said Laura Windecker, program officer for the GRP. “The U.S. Gulf Coast is a complex, dynamic region where natural processes and human activities are deeply intertwined to a unique degree. This opportunity focuses on improving our understanding of U.S. Gulf Coast ecosystems by considering them as part of a coupled natural-human system.”

A National Academies report released last year, Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human Coastal System: The Future of the U.S. Gulf Coast, highlighted the interconnections between natural processes and human activities along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The high concentrations of human populations and human activity — such as from coastal development, energy and industrial activities, and recreational and commercial fisheries — have a large impact. The physical landscape is subject to powerful processes, including hurricanes, sea-level rise, and land subsidence. In turn, coastal ecosystems are constantly responding to changes in external inputs from these activities and processes.

“Our ability to make decisions that ensure a resilient future for the U.S. Gulf Coast region depends on how well we understand coastal ecosystems within the larger context of their interactions with natural processes and human activities. This funding opportunity aims to encourage this type of research,” said Windecker.

Applications have two stages: a required letter of intent is due May 22, 2019, by 5 p.m. ET; a full proposal is then due July 24, 2019, by 5 p.m. ET. Awards will be announced during the winter of 2020 for projects lasting up to 36 months

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The National Academies' Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice, and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf of Mexico region and the nation. The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships, and other activities in the areas of research and development, education and training, and monitoring and synthesis. Visit to learn more.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit

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Kacey Templin, Media Relations Officer
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