Marine Mammal Commission

Current Funding Opportunities

Fiscal Year 2021 Grants

Fiscal Year  2021 Request for Proposals 

Proposal deadline: Thursday, April 15th 2021 11:59pm EDT

Applicant notification: by Thursday, July 29th 2021

Funding Opportunities in Fiscal Year 2021

The Marine Mammal Commission will be accepting proposals between November 13, 2020 and April 15, 2021 for science in support of marine mammal conservation, protection, research, and management.  Funding requests are limited to $35,000 USD.

We are seeking proposals that will further the conservation and management goals of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act ((MMPA) and assist the Commission in fulfilling its duties under the MMPA.  Projects addressing human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems, or proposing research with clear management applications, are highly encouraged.  Additional weight will be given to proposals that: 1) focus on species or population(s) of conservation concern (e.g., designated as depleted under the MMPA or similar legislation; listed under the Endangered Species Act; assigned to an IUCN Red List threatened category), or 2) increase the inclusion or representation of people from underrepresented groups in marine mammal research, management, or conservation.  Projects that leverage other resources, have matching funds, or are collaborative in nature are strongly encouraged.

REQUIRED: All projects MUST include an outreach, communication, or engagement component that furthers marine mammal conservation or management efforts.  This may include, for example, engaging with government agencies, bringing together stakeholders, including industry or the maritime or fishing community, or providing training opportunities.  Conference presentations and publications, while encouraged, do NOT meet this requirement.

Eligibility: Applicants from both within the U.S. as well as outside the U.S. are eligible to apply (including both non-U.S. citizens and those affiliated with non-U.S. institutions).

At the time of posting, the federal government is working under a continuing resolution. Availability of funds to support research is dependent on passage of a final budget for the Commission.  Proposals will be accepted until April 15, 2021.

Proposal Requirements and Submission Information

Information on proposal requirements and submission procedures is available on the proposal requirements page. Please review and follow this information carefully. Proposals that are submitted after the deadline or do not meet the requirements will not be evaluated or considered for funding.

Proposal Evaluation

All proposals will be evaluated with respect to: the importance or significance of the type of project proposed,1 its relevance to the current funding opportunity and focal area and the Commission’s mission and goals,2 the technical and resource adequacy of the proposal,3 and the likelihood that the project will achieve its stated objectives or outcomes. Review and selection of applications will be based on a detailed evaluation of these criteria and recommendations for funding.  Awards are subject to the availability of funds.

Potential applicants may contact Samantha Simmons, Ph.D., Scientific Program Director, by e-mail ( or telephone (301-504-0087) with any questions about proposal requirements, the evaluation process, out of cycle funding, or suitability of a topic for Commission funding. During a review cycle, all proposals  that meet minimum requirements will be reviewed by the Commission’s staff, Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals, Commissioners, and external experts, as necessary. The Commission will choose reviewers based on their expertise and assurance that they have no conflict of interest with the proposed activities. The Commission will maintain the confidentiality of all proposals.



  1. For example, would such a project significantly contribute to the conservation of a species/population, advance critical scientific understanding, contribute to the development of innovative technology, lead to groundbreaking policy ideas, catalyze critical thinking through a meeting, workshop or symposium, or contribute to an important conservation issue through outreach, communication or education?
  2. Mission: ensure consistency with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and other relevant mandates to protect and conserve marine mammals through oversight of domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies addressing human impacts to marine mammals and their ecosystems. Strategic Goal: ensure the protection and conservation of marine mammals as functioning elements of healthy, stable marine ecosystems through science-based mitigation and monitoring of anthropogenic impacts on these populations and their ecosystem.
  3. For example, are the elements described in the proposal (e.g., project plan, field and lab procedures, sample sizes, proposed statistical analyses, equipment, research platforms) internally consistent and are they sufficient to achieve the project’s goals, objectives, and outcomes?