On May 7, 2020, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) received $3.2 million from the U.S. Treasury Department to fund Louisiana’s Center of Excellence Research Grants Program, the second installment in a RESTORE Act allocation of approximately $26.6 million over 15 years to support research relevant to implementing the restorative CPRA Coastal Master Plan.
“The Master Plan is built on world class science and engineering,” said Stuart Brown, CPRA Planning and Research Assistant Administrator. “Research, like that funded through these Center of Excellence grants, improves our understanding of coastal systems and reduces uncertainty in our planning efforts.”
The grant money is a portion the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund created using civil penalties resulting from BP‘s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and will be used to fund research in one or more of the following eligible disciplines which will support the State’s Coastal Master Plan:
- Coastal and deltaic sustainability, restoration, and protection, including solutions and technology that allow citizens to live in a safe and sustainable manner in a coastal delta in the Gulf Coast Region;
- Coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring in the Gulf Coast Region;
- Sustainable and resilient growth and economic and commercial development in the Gulf Coast Region;
- Comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2014, CPRA designated The Water Institute of the Gulf as Louisiana’s Center of Excellence (LA-COE) to administer the competitive grants program for research awards.
The first LA-COE grant of $4 million funded work by the Center of Excellence and awarded funds to 13 projects in 2017 for research and collaborative awards as well as graduate studentships.
The LA-COE will again administer a competitive grants process to fund research proposals relevant to Coastal Master Plan implementation, with a Request for Proposals expected to be released later this year.