Coastal and Oceans Modeling Testbed Project (COMT)  Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) – NOAA-NOS-IOOS-2018-2005452

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Deadline date is until 11:59 pm EST on Friday, 19 January 2018.


Q1: Can NOAA employees receive funds as long as they partner with non-Federal entities and use these funds for research/modeling operations?

A1: Federal agencies or institutions and foreign governments may not be the primary recipient of awards under this announcement, but they are encouraged to partner with applicants (examples: Regional Association, non-profit and for-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, State, local and tribal governments) when appropriate.

If a partner is a NOAA office or laboratory, the IOOS office will transfer funds internally.  – Page 9, paragraphs 1 – 2

IOOS will transfer the funds to a NOAA office or laboratory internally via a budget operating plan (BOP).


Q2: Where can I find info about the COMT FFO and information for application?

A2: The COMT FFO application forms can be located:

  1. Click the NOAA-NOS-IOOS-2018-2005452
  2. Go under the Package tab – Enter
  3. Click the Preview or Apply link to find application forms for the COMT FFO.


Q3: What other resources are available to help me complete my application package?

A3: Follow the guidance in the FFO to ensure your proposal package is responsive. The IOOS website funding opportunities page and are also resources you may find useful.


Q4: Is a letter of intention needed before January 19, 2018?

A4: No letter of intention is needed for this FFO.


Q5: What is a good start date for the project?

 A5: Per the FFO, “Proposals must have a start date of September 1, 2018 (which is preferred) or October 1, 2018.”


Q6: Are you considering cyberinfrastructure development projects?

A6: Yes, in the “Topics of Interest,” there are several references outlining goals for coastal modeling development which includes cyberinfrastructure and tool development. If your proposal is in keeping with the guidance provided in the FFO, it will be considered for funding.

Q7: Can a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) apply for the COMT FFO?

A7: FFRDCs themselves can’t be awarded grants so that if they do receive NOAA funding, it is through the contractor organization that operates them. This would mean that the contract organization can directly apply for the award. If the submission application is successfully awarded then the funds would go directly to the contract organization.


Q8: If we have received money through the OTT award or other IOOS funding sources, will the recipient organization not be considered for COMT?

A8: Funding from OTT or other IOOS funding sources, does not affect your eligibility for COMT funding. Your proposals for different work will still be considered.


Q9: Is this COMT FFO looking for individual institution submissions or expecting larger lean (in terms of funding getting split many ways) teams?

A9: Both are acceptable. Individual institutions or multi-institution proposals will be accepted.  However, per the FFO:

“Applicants to this topic must demonstrate that IOOS Regional Associations and /or other potential operational hosts are integral to the transition activities. Additional partners are encouraged, especially those representing an end user or customer for the proposed product.

Applicants should identify intended end users of the model or product that will be evaluated in the Testbed. Commitment from operators and end users is critical to the eventual success of each project and the transition and adoption of the models, tools or forecast products for sustained use. A project needs to involve operators and practitioners, to the fullest extent possible, from the beginning of the project. The applicant must show a clear path for further developing the partnerships and opportunities for transfer throughout the course of the project. To ensure that research leads to practical and valuable management outcomes, proposals should include a minimum of two investigators, a Scientific Principal Investigator and a Transition Principal Investigator.”


Q10: There seems quite an emphasis on transition to operations rather that testing and inter-comparing systems toward scoping out models that could be built for operations. Is that a fair summary?

A10: Not necessarily. This FFO is targeting projects in RL 4-8 that advance at least 2 RLs. The NOAA Administrative Order(NAO) 215-105B (referenced in the FFO) specifies that end users/operators should be identified as early as RL 4, so this FFO also follows that guidance with an emphasis on appropriate transition to operations engagement early in the project development and testing.  Applicants should still specify what RL they will be starting and advancing to and how they establish those RLs for their projects based on the guidance in the NAO.


Q11: For work I’m considering, I can not move past RL6 without operating beyond the NCEP firewall for data access.  Can I make plans to get to RL7?

A11: You should be working with your federal partners if you plan to need access beyond the NCEP firewall. You should only propose work that you have a commitment from all partners to execute.


Q12: With the requirement to  “demonstrate that that IOOS Regional Associations(RA) and/or other potential operational hosts are integral to the transition activities,” do we have to fund RAs?

A12: No, you are not required to provide funding to the RAs but you must meet the guidance in the FFO for partnership/engagement.


Q13: We are targeting a federal organization for our operational host, do they need to be our Transition PI?

A13: No, they do not need to be, but can be if they choose to. Use the Transition PI responsibilities:

“(1) Developing application concepts based on stakeholder outreach;
(2) Coordinating and communicating with the operator and end user groups, ensuring
continuous engagement in project activities (meetings, workshops), and outreach of project esults;
(3) Ensuring that the milestones representing transition of research to operation timeline are met; and
(4) Enabling collaboration within projects and between COMT project teams to improve
COMT and the impact and value of the technical projects done within it.” to identify the best candidate for your Transition PI.


Q14: Could conducting training for operators satisfy the requirement for ‘developing the partnerships and opportunities for transfer throughout the course of the project’?

A14: Conducting training could be an activity that develops partnerships and opportunities for transfer.


Q15:  Should we be seeking letters of support, etc., to demonstrate that the operator(s) that will ultimately adopt the models or products for operational demonstrate a strong interest in and commitment to the proposed evaluation or model?

A15: Letters of support can be used to demonstrate support for a project and will be considered in applications.


Q16: Is it a bad idea to seek the maximum funding in terms of likely selection?

A16: There is no negative repercussion for seeking the maximum level of funding. It will not impact your selection. Be reminded that the FFO states, “Within the project narrative applicants are encouraged to identify modular components of the project and priority order in which the modules could be funded individually if funding available for the COMT is less than expected.”


Q17:.COMT is a coastal and ocean modeling testbed, could it include evaluation of global operational model physics in the coastal ocean?

A17:. Yes


Q18: Can we have international partners as a subcontractor?

A18: Yes