Marine Mammal Commission

Current Funding Opportunities

Fiscal Year 2020 Grants

Fiscal Year  2020 Request for Proposals 

Proposal deadline: Tuesday, April 21st 2020 11:59pm EST

Applicant notification: by Friday, July 31st 2020

Funding Opportunities in Fiscal Year 2020

The Marine Mammal Commission will be accepting proposals between November 4, 2019 and April 21, 2020 for consideration on any subject in support of marine mammal conservation, protection, research, and management.  Preference will be given to proposals requesting $35,000 or less; however, exceptional proposals requesting larger amounts (not to exceed $70,000) will be considered. Additional weight will be given to proposals that leverage other resources, have matching funds, or are highly collaborative in nature.

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.  We are particularly interested in projects focused on fisheries interactions, especially those that contribute to the mitigation of bycatch, or reduction of fishery-related mortality and serious injury of marine mammal populations at-risk (ESA threatened or endangered species, MMPA depleted stocks).  Projects focused on interactions with fisheries (including commercial, recreational, subsistence, artisanal, aquaculture, etc.) MUST include meaningful engagement with the fishing community.  Solely reporting findings to the fishing community, industry, associations, or councils will not be considered meaningful engagement.

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 21, 2020.

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?