Ways to Partner

CIOERT accomplishes its mission objectives and provides access to its toolbox of capabilities through innovation and partnerships, in and outside NOAA and the CI. Projects and activities fall under the following task types:

  • Task IA - Administrative Activities: CI administration and management activities;
  • Task IB - Education and outreach activities;
  • Task II: research activities involving on-going direct collaboration with NOAA scientists;
  • Task III: research activities with minimal collaboration with NOAA scientists, which may include research funded by other NOAA programs.

Methods that enable CIOERT to collaborate with NOAA and other agency partners to grow and carry out these tasks include:


NOAA provides base funding annually for Task I-III activities. Funding is contingent upon the OER line item in the federal budget. The CIOERT award periods are from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. Science Plan amendments are submitted to OER by April 30 for the coming award period.

CIOERT’s Strategic Plan is the foundation for determining which Task I-III activities are included in the annual Science Plan. The strategy builds on OER, NOAA and national strategic plans. In its first two years, CIOERT’s original proposal served as its Strategic Plan. In year 2, the CI will work with OER to develop an updated CIOERT Strategic Plan that continues to mesh with OER, OAR, NOAA and other national priorities and mandates (link to be posted by December 2010). Basic criteria for all projects supported by CIOERT include relevance to NOAA and OER priorities, and elements of innovation. Project selection may be conducted in several ways including:

  • Annual CIOERT Science Plan: Internally reviewed (involving CI management and advisory boards) and included in the CI’s annual work plan; includes exploration and research projects, and student internships and fellowships.
  • Collaboration with other funding programs: Projects selected during peer review jointly conducted with other funding partners such as OER, SBIR or the CRCP.
  • Ad hoc peer review: related to funding that comes to CIOERT and peer review is mandated by the funding partner; CIOERT partners have a track record of conducting NSF-style peer review processes when needed.
  • NOAA Rapid Response projects: Projects that arise after annual work plan is established that address priority needs and are precipitated by opportunities (e.g., event response, leverage opportunities); final decision to support such projects is made by the Executive Council.

For information regarding collaborating on the annual CIOERT Science Plan, contact the CIOERT Executive Director.


Throughout the CIOERT award period, additional Task I, Task II or Task III activities that address the CIOERT’s mission may be added to the CI award via proposal amendments that supplement the base funding. As the CI was established through a rigorous competitive process, this process is simpler, as amendments are not required to undergo additional competitive merit review. CIOERT’s Executive Council, which includes OER and NOAA CI representatives, will review a CIOERT Project Support Request and any other related project materials to determine if the project description is scientifically sound and the budget is appropriate for the proposed research.

The process for supplements involves interagency transfer of funding needed to support the proposed activity; as stated in the CI Handbook, “Proposals for noncompetitive discretionary funding in other parts of NOAA must be sent (direct e-mail, not through Grants.gov) for an initial review to the NOAA program office that is providing the funding (OER for CIOERT).” Per federal and NOAA CI guidelines these proposals must be submitted by the CI to NOAA via grants on-line by May 15 of the federal fiscal year in which the proposed work is to take place. This deadline is based on the federal requirement that interagency transfers must be completed by June 30.

For NOAA and other agency partners interested in working with CIOERT via supplemental funding, contact the CIOERT Executive Director.


External Competitions:

Partnering institutions are encouraged to seek funding from other sources including NOAA programs that may involve minimal direct collaboration with NOAA scientists. In 2009, the NOAA CI program ruled that investigators cannot apply for NOAA extramural funding via the CI, known as “shadow awards.” However, if pre-approved by the Executive Director, investigators may take advantage of CIOERT capabilities when submitting proposals, and with prior approval, subsidized day rates for use of CIOERT assets.

For collaborators seeking use of CIOERT capabilities for subsidized rates, contact the Executive Director prior to submission of the CIOERT Project Support Request. A letter of collaboration will be provided for approved partnerships.

Memorandum of Agreement:

The preferred mechanism for partners to access CIOERT capabilities is via a Memorandum of Agreement. CIOERT’s operations team has used MOAs successfully for many years with NOAA partners. Through this agreement, partners reimburse the CI for support services that are otherwise inaccessible to the partner’s personnel. Once the MOA is established, funding is transferred to the desired CIOERT partner institution, and invoices are applied against the funds as the work is completed. If funds are left after each task, they remain available for future reimbursable work and can be supplemented via amendments that can extend the scope of work, period of support, and funding amounts. CIOERT will develop new MOAs that will facilitate engagement of more NOAA partners, for example, extend the current Flower Garden Banks NMS MOA to the NMSP Southeast Regional Program, thus enabling the Monitor NMS, Grays Reef NMS and Florida Keys NMS to similarly utilize CIOERT capabilities.

For collaborators seeking use of CIOERT capabilities via existing or new MOAs, contact the CIOERT Executive Director.


CIOERT’s C4 operations team continues to bid on open contracts issued by NOAA and other sponsors. These contracts usually require a flat quote bid at the full operational day rates (Table 1 above) and do not allow the operations team to invoice only for work accomplished. In addition, the quotes are for a specific one time mission only and are not long term or extendable like the MOAs. Small business regulations inherent to all NOAA bids may preclude operational support by CIOERT operations team.

For collaborators seeking use of CIOERT capabilities via contracts, contact the CIOERT Executive Director.