The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Gulf Research Program
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Thriving Communities Grants 5 – Request for Applications (Opening July 2018)

Thriving Communities 5 composite image

Topic: Enhancing Coastal Community Resilience and Well-being in the Gulf of Mexico Region

Key Dates and Information

Total funding available: $10 million
Award duration: Up to 36 months

Informational Webinar (OPTIONAL)
February 14, 2018, 12:00 pm ET: Watch recording

Networking & Idea Development Workshop * (OPTIONAL)
January 25, 2018: Online application to participate in workshop opens
March 8, 2018, 5:00pm ET: Application to participate in workshop due
May 30-June 1: Networking & Idea Development Workshop

Letter of Intent (LOI)
An LOI is required for this funding opportunity.
July [Date TBD] 2018: Online LOI submission opens
Sept [Date TBD] 2018, 5:00pm ET: LOI due

Full Proposal
September 2018: Online full proposal submission opens (ONLY open to applicants who submitted an LOI)
November, 2018, 5:00pm ET: Full proposal due

Award Selection and Notification
Spring-Summer 2019

*The Thriving Communities Grants 5 funding opportunity is open to all eligible applicants, regardless of whether or not any of the proposed project personnel were participants in the “Networking and Idea Development Workshop”. This workshop responds to requests that potential project personnel would benefit from the opportunity to meet possible partners and brainstorm about proposal ideas. Workshop participation will not be taken into account during the review of submitted proposals. Click here for more information about the workshop.


Grant Type Description

Research-Practice grants aim to advance science and its application by (1) accelerating knowledge transfer from researchers to practitioners, thereby facilitating implementation; and/or (2) encouraging the use of practitioners’ knowledge and lessons learned from experience to inform research. Proposed projects must be driven by important research questions and should use research methods appropriate for the central research questions. Projects must bring together researchers and practitioners to improve science and practice. For the purposes of this opportunity, practitioners can mean policy makers, community leaders and members, and others from the public, private, and non-profit sectors seeking to enhance the resilience and well-being of communities.

Resilience is broadly defined as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to stressors from acute and longer-term adverse events. Researchers have learned much about resilience as it applies to communities. However, communities have struggled with how to translate this knowledge into actions that drive positive and measurable change.

The Gulf Research Program seeks to help bridge the gap between the knowledge and practice of community resilience. We seek approaches that will advance information exchange between resilience researchers and those that seek to implement policies and practices to enhance the resilience and well-being of their communities. Specifically, we are interested in projects that:
  1. Increase understanding of how community attributes and systems interact and influence a community’s capacity to adapt and thrive, and
  2. Provide actionable information and strategies that can be used to implement policies and practices that enhance community resilience.
Projects should address multiple stressors and focus on linkages among environmental, social, and economic systems that characterize the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region. Projects should involve and benefit residents of the Gulf coast who are affected by stressors associated with climate change, severe weather, or chronic impacts of environmental degradation.

Examples of topics and questions that align with the aim of this RFA include:
  • Local and regional economies: How do environmental and economic shocks and stressors affect economies? How do issues related to economic opportunity or employment options affect resilience? How might a better understanding of local and regional economies improve strategies for developing adaptive capacity and resilience?
  • Social determinants of health: Are there ways to build social, environmental, or health equity into efforts to build adaptive capacity and resilience? How can historical and structural inequities be appropriately acknowledged and addressed in adaptation plans or strategies to improve resilience?
  • Environmental change: How might responses to environmental degradation produce “co-benefits” for communities (e.g., improve physical or mental health or well-being)? How can links between ecosystem health and community resilience and well-being be demonstrated and acknowledged in response, restoration, and recovery processes?
  • Place, culture, and ways of life: How can the strengths of communities be harnessed and encouraged in strategies for building and sustaining resilience? How does cohesiveness, connectedness, or empowerment affect perceptions and communications about risks and actions that can be taken to enhance resilience?

What We Are Looking For:
This is a broad call for projects that combine high-quality research and practice components to produce a stronger evidence-base for strategies and approaches that can enhance community resilience and well-being. Successful proposals will seek to support change by developing information, testing strategies, and providing evidence that communities can use to enhance their resilience to climate change, severe weather, and chronic impacts of environmental degradation in ways that also improve individual, group, and community well-being. Click here to see past awardees from a related grant opportunity.

There are a variety of approaches to achieving the aims of this RFA. The examples of topics and questions described in the Purpose section of this RFA is intended to stimulate idea development. It does not provide rigid guidelines, and investigators are encouraged to think broadly about critical challenges and opportunities in the Gulf region and to submit innovative proposals that use appropriate methods for the proposed project.

To be considered responsive to this RFA topic, proposals should involve the following:
  • Integrative teams: Because these grants seek to improve the science and practice of resilience, project teams should bring together researchers and practitioners. Teams should seek to integrate perspectives from diverse institutions, sectors, disciplines, and frames of reference. Interdisciplinary collaboration across the health, social, and natural sciences is encouraged. Project partners from outside of academia should participate throughout the project, not just in the inception and dissemination stages. For the purposes of this opportunity, practitioners can mean policy makers, community leaders and members, and others from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
  • Community involvement: Projects should involve those who are directly affected by the problem of concern and local leadership (i.e., formal and informal community leaders from various sectors). The level of engagement will depend on the nature of the project and might range from community members informing or carrying out aspects of the research to community-based participatory research (i.e., an equitable partnership among community members, researchers, and other personnel in all aspects of the research process, including setting the research agenda, and in which all partners contribute expertise and share decision making and ownership). Projects that involve communities and local leadership early in the project as initiators of the project are strongly encouraged and more likely to produce actionable information. Projects should seek to develop sustained capacity at the community level for enhancing resilience.
  • Actionable information: Research should yield information that is actionable in that it can be used immediately by the public, public agencies, educators, community groups, policymakers and other decision makers and individuals to guide actions, plans, or strategies. Projects that do not include pathways for translation, application, implementation, and dissemination are not a good fit for this opportunity.
  • U.S. Gulf of Mexico region: Projects should benefit the residents of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region, which includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
  • Scientifically valid research: Proposed projects must be driven by significant research questions and should use research methods appropriate for the central research questions. Projects must propose rigorous tools and approaches that can improve scientific and practice aspects of resilience. This means projects should utilize qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods tools and approaches that will 1) yield data and results suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals and 2) address implementation challenges and test and evaluate strategies at the community-level. Projects may emphasize one aspect over the other depending on the existing state of scientific research and evidence base for practice.

Award Information:
  • Project Duration: Up to 36 months
  • Total Amount Available: $10 million
  • Estimated # of Awards: To be determined. Projects of any size will be considered. Resources made available will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the budgets proposed by successful applicants. The GRP reserves the right to select for negotiation all, some, one, or none of the proposals received in response to this solicitation.
  • Anticipated Award Date: Spring/Summer 2019

The Gulf Research Program welcomes proposals from all types of U.S. organizations, excluding federal agencies, on behalf of qualified individuals. The applying organization will be referred to as the applicant hereafter. The individuals who will lead the proposed project will be referred to as project directors hereafter.

Project directors usually initiate proposals that are officially submitted by their employing organizations (the applicant). When initiating a proposal, the project director typically is responsible for ensuring the proposal meets all the requirements outlined by the Gulf Research Program as well as any requirements set by the employing organizations.

The Gulf Research Program requires applicants to adhere to the following:
  • This funding opportunity is for new, distinct activities only. Proposals for activities that are already underway using other funds or that are seeking supplementary funds to continue an existing activity are not eligible. Proposed activities that are part of a broader, existing effort or “project” may be eligible if the proposal clearly demonstrates that the funding request is for new, distinct activities that would not otherwise occur.
  • Activities currently under consideration for funding from other sources are also not eligible.
  • U.S. organizations (excluding federal agencies) that have a valid federal tax ID number are eligible to apply.
The Gulf Research Program requires individuals named as project director or key personnel in an application to adhere to the following:
  • An individual may be proposed as project director in only one application. If an individual is proposed as project director in any application s/he may also be proposed as key personnel in up to two additional applications.
  • An individual not proposed as a project director in any application may be named as key personnel in up to three applications.
  • It is the responsibility of each individual being named as project director or key personnel in any application to ensure that s/he is not named in more than three total applications

NEXT: Networking and Idea Development Workshop

NOTE: Information on application submission, application review, and making the awards will be posted when the grant opportunity opens in July 2018.
Image credits: (from left) Eric Vance/EPA, USDA, EPA.