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Oceanographic Facilities and Equipment Support

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Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


Oceanographic facilities and equipment are supported by the Integrative Programs Section (IPS) of the Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE), Directorate for Geosciences (GEO). These awards are made for the procurement, conversion and/or upgrade, enhancement, or annual operation of platforms in the ocean, coastal and near-shore waters, 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 other federal agencies, 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 oceanographic facilities for Federally funded investigators and educators. Individual project-based facilities and instrumentation, limited to one, or a small group of, investigator(s), should be supported through appropriate research programs as opposed to through the IPS programs listed herein.

The individual programs covered within this solicitation include:

1. Oceanographic Technical Services (Tech Services)

2. Oceanographic Instrumentation (OI)

3. Shipboard Scientific Support Equipment (SSSE)

Oceanographic Technical Service (Tech Services): The Tech Services Program provides support of institutional technical services to enhance the scientific productivity of research programs, aboard research vessels and in shore-based, shared-use facilities. Research vessel technical services 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. This program also provides baseline operational support for the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) equipment pools (wire, vans and winches). Support of research vessel technical services and UNOLS equipment pools includes salaries and related expenses, maintenance and calibration of sensors and instrumentation, and associated travel. Oceanographic technical services support requests must be directly attributable to NSF-sponsored science. With the exception of the wire pool, requests for new or replacement capital equipment must be made through the SSSE or OI programs.

Oceanographic Instrumentation (OI): The OI Program provides support to enhance the scientific capabilities and productivity of seagoing research projects that utilize research vessels as well as shore-based, shared-use facilities. Proposals may include shared-use instrumentation for the collection, processing, and analysis of oceanographic data. Typical instrumentation includes sensors, acoustic systems, data loggers, water sampling rosettes, biological net systems, coring equipment and auto-analyzers. Proposals must be for instrumentation that will support multiple research projects. OI proposals are generally submitted by the institution's Tech Services manager whose operational funding is provided through the OCE Technical Services Program.  

Shipboard Scientific Support Equipment (SSSE): The SSSE Program provides support to improve safety and enhance scientific capabilities and productivity of seagoing research programs that utilize research vessels as well as shore-based, shared-use facilities.. Proposals may include new permanent or portable equipment required to outfit a vessel to conduct oceanographic research as well as overhaul of equipment previously funded under this program, including science handling systems (winches, frames, cranes, etc.), navigation and communication equipment, and safety and regulatory-related items. Requests for purchase of new winch pool or van pool capital equipment must be submitted to this program. SSSE proposals are generally submitted by the institution's Marine Superintendent whose operational funding is provided through the Ship Operations Program in OCE.

Program contacts

James S. Holik
(Tech Services, OI and SSSE)
jholik@nsf.gov (703) 292-7711 GEO/OCE

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