Marine Mammal Commission

Research Program – Proposal Requirements

Fiscal Year 2023 Grants

Fiscal Year  2023 Request for Proposals 

Proposal deadline: Wednesday, April 12th 2023 11:59pm EDT

Applicant notification: by Monday, July 31st 2023

Proposal Requirements

Proposed projects must fit within our current funding opportunity and adhere to all proposal requirements.  The body of the proposal must not exceed five pages using 12-point font, exclusive of cover page, references, budget, curricula vitae, and supporting materials.

Cover Page (limit 1 page)

  • Title: The full title of the proposal. A shorter running title is optional.
  • Principal Investigator (PI): Please list only one (corresponding) principal investigator even if your proposal team consists of two or more co-equal investigators and institutions (also see instructions for Curricula Vitae).
  • PI Contact Information: Address, phone, website, and e-mail for the principal investigator.
  • Financial Point of Contact (POC): An individual (with or without institutional affiliation, as appropriate) who will be responsible for contractual and fiscal matters. This may or may not be the same individual and institution listed as principal investigator.
  • Financial POC Information: Address, phone, and e-mail.

Proposal Body (limit 5 pages)

  • Abstract: Provide an abstract summarizing the project objective(s), and how the project will further our understanding of environmental factors affecting marine mammal population health. Briefly describe the health indicator(s) that will be assessed, and the marine mammal populations and environmental factors that will be studied. If applicable, also state if (and how) the environmental factors and/or health indicators are expected to be affected by a changing climate. Please limit the abstract to 300 words.
  • Introduction, Background, or Problem Statement: Introduce and provide background on the health indicator(s) that will be assessed, and the marine mammal populations and environmental factors that will be studied. Provide a brief review of prior related efforts by the research team or others. Indicate knowledge gaps, shortfalls of previous efforts, or challenges to further progress and describe how the proposed effort will address these issues.  Describe importance of the health indicator, and how it would be expected to relate to vital rates (reproductive performance, survival, or growth). If applicable, describe connections with a changing climate.
  • Goals and Objectives: Provide statements of both the general or broad goal of the proposed project and the specific objectives that will be addressed within the scope of this proposal to make progress toward that goal.  Provide your view of the importance or significance of the project, and how it relates to the Commission’s mission and goals.
  • Methods/Approach: Provide a detailed description of the methods, including methods for data analysis, so that the reviewer can understand how you will address the specific objectives of the project. If applicable, describe any new methods or tools that will be developed, and any long-term data or time series samples to be used or contributed to.  If you are not conducting original research but are developing a workshop, review panel, or other activity; describe the nature of the activity, the planned agenda or working format, likely attendees/participants, and tentative dates and location of the planned activity.
  • Anticipated Outcomes: Describe the short-term outcomes, those anticipated to occur within the scope of effort and time span of the proposed project (e.g. one or more peer-reviewed journal articles, development of an assay or method, an equipment prototype and report, completion of a workshop report).
  • Research and Management Utility: Describe the anticipated long-term utility of the project, its implications for future research, marine mammal population health surveillance, management, or conservation activities, and how the results or other outcomes will better inform such activities.
  • Research Permits:  Specify whether permits or authorizations and/or Animal Care and Use approvals are necessary. If necessary to conduct the proposed research, provide details regarding whether permits or authorizations and/or Animal Care and Use approvals have been obtained. If necessary permits, authorizations, and approvals are pending, provide the status for obtaining them and when they are expected to be issued.
  • Increase the inclusion or representation of people from underserved groups in marine mammal research, management, or conservation (if applicable): Briefly  describe how the project will increase the inclusion or representation of people from underserved groups in marine mammal research, management, or conservation. Section 2 of Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce  (June 25, 2021) provides definitions of “underserved communities” in the context of the U.S. Federal workforce. Sources that describe demographics within a specific field of research, such as ocean science, geosciences, wildlife epidemiology, or veterinary research, may also be referenced. In addition, sources may be referenced to provide context for the international marine science community.

Budget and Time Line (limit 2 pages)

This section should provide sufficient detail to inform the reviewer of expenses or costs by general category (salary, equipment, supplies, travel, publication, overhead, miscellaneous) and by subtasks within the proposed effort, as appropriate. Include information on other sources of funding for the project, if applicable. For multi-year or multi-stage projects, include a timetable for completion of each phase as a means of gauging progress toward completion of the full proposed effort.

Curricula Vitae, Research Team Qualifications (limit 3 pages each CV)

Provide a curriculum vitae or short biography of no more than three pages for all key members of the proposal team (those individuals whose background and experience are essential to completion of the project), including their experience or expertise related to the subject proposal. Although there can be only one corresponding principal investigator (see Title Page guidance), multiple co-investigators can be included in this portion of the proposal, if desired.

Supporting Materials (Optional)

Supporting materials such as recent publications, short descriptions of relevant work in progress or recently completed, organization charts or timelines will be accepted but should be limited to information essential to understanding the significance, approach, and context of the proposed work. It is highly recommended that supporting materials be limited to fewer than 15 pages or 5 Mb: the more material provided, the more difficult it will be for the reviewers to focus their attention on relevant matters in developing their evaluations. Only include supporting materials that are directly relevant to understanding and evaluating the proposed project.

Submission Procedure

Killer whales

Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered, and environmental factors such as prey availability and pollution threaten the health of this population. (Holly Fearnbach, NOAA)

Proposals must adhere to the instructions and requirements described above and be submitted by Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 @ 11:59PM EDT.  Proposals should be submitted electronically in MS Word or Adobe PDF format to the Research Program Officer, Marine Mammal Commission, e-mail address: All applicants are required to have a current registration and a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application. Note: as of April 4, 2022, the UEI has replaced the DUNS number as the official unique identifier for entities doing business with the U.S. government.

Policy on Indirect Costs

The Commission recognizes the significant costs associated with the maintenance of research programs and the institutions that support them. However, due to the limited funding available for research and conservation awards and the nature of the Commission’s goals and responsibilities, the Commission limits indirect costs for research grants and contracts awarded by the Commission to ten percent (10%) of the direct costs unless the submitting entity already has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate. Indirect costs, or overhead, include, but are not limited to, operation and maintenance of facilities, general and departmental administration, and library expenses.


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.