Q: Can international start-ups or technologies be supported through this NOFO?
A: International entities are not eligible to apply as part of Phase 1 of this NOFO; however, whether they are able to participate as cohort businesses within Phase 2 will be addressed in the Phase 2 RFA that will be released early next year.
Q: Are there any restrictions on internationally-based cohort partners?
The lead institution in Phase 1 will need to be domestically based; with some potential restrictions, international companies can be considered as partners and sub-awards during Phase 2. NOAA will assist Phase 1 awardees to ensure the list of Phase 2 international partners and sub-awards do not violate the current restrictions.
Q: Are there selection criteria for the Phase 1 applications?
A: The selection criteria for Phase 1 applications will include:
Alignment of proposed accelerator program with one or more defined OCRA theme areas.
Robust strategy and plan to establish key partnerships and processes necessary to meet program goals.
Ability/capacity to successfully execute multiple cohorts (over a multi-year period) of accelerator programming.
Identification of impactful and appropriate funding opportunities to administer NOAA-funded Technology Development and Commercialization (TDC) awards.
Support for cohort participant businesses in pursuing follow-on funding and commercialization.
See the complete Notice of Funding Opportunity on Grants.gov for the official list of criteria.
Q: Are you looking for applications with geographic diversity?
A: There is potential value in geographic diversity and applicants may include it in their applications; however, it is not included in the selection criteria and is not required.
Q: Is a consortium of existing accelerators preferred or advantageous?
A: Per the criteria in the Notice of Funding Opportunity: Clearly describe how adding those partners will improve: (1) your ability and capacity to execute multiple cohorts; and (2) your implementation of the Technology Development and Commercialization (TDC) awards.
Q: Do applicants have to pay attention to definitions used in the Climate Resilience NOFO announced earlier by NOAA?
A: There is not a specific requirement to use the definitions included in NOAA’s other funding opportunities. The definitions of terms for this funding opportunity are detailed in the NOFO at Grants.gov.
Q: Is there a preference or weighting to the NOFO topics related to ocean resilience over the Great Lakes?
A: No. For the purpose of this NOFO, Great Lakes resilience topics within the defined theme areas are equally eligible.
Q: Is NOAA taking diversity and inclusion into account?
A: Yes; one of the criteria for Phase 1 review will be how the applications describe diversity and inclusion within the lead organization as well as how those principles will be infused into the cohort selection. Applicants should assume this will be a criteria for the Phase 2 awards as well.
Q: Is it allowable for a sub-awardee on one application to be a partner/ or sub-awardee in another application?
A: It is allowable. There is no rule or requirement against being a sub/partner on multiple applications.
Q: Do applicants need to fill out the SF424 Construction form when applying to the Ocean-based Climate Resilience Accelerator funding opportunity?
A: Both the SF424 Construction and SF424 Non-Construction forms were added in Grants.gov to all NOAA funding opportunities related to the Investment Recovery Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. The applicant MUST add $0.00 to the SF424 Construction form.
Q: Are there any mechanisms for direct or fast-tracked Technology Development and Commercialization (TDC) awards for organizations that have already participated in other ocean accelerators or will the TDC funding awards only be passed along by accelerators that participate in cohorts?
A: No, TDC awards will not be distributed to individual companies. Rather, TDC awards will be offered to cohort participant businesses by the accelerator entity, during or after the businesses have completed the formal accelerator training, to implement specific projects or activities that were identified through the accelerator process to directly promote commercialization of their product/service.
Q: Use of funds for facilities: Can these funds be used for anything beyond facility maintenance?
A: These funds are not intended for facility construction. They can be used for facility maintenance and upgrades and should be reflected in your budget as part of your overall administrative costs.
Q: Will there be additional Phase 2 opportunities after the initial selection?
A: At this time, NOAA does not anticipate additional funding to provide a second Phase 2 opportunity.
Q: Does NOAA have a target percentage in mind for how much of the funding accelerators should distribute to companies as Technology Development and Commercialization (TDC) awards versus funds being used for operational overhead?
A: There is no specific percentage identified but a significant portion should be dedicated to cohort businesses as TDC awards in order to continue the commercialization process. As NOAA anticipates providing additional guidance on this point in the Phase 2 RFA, applicants should not provide such percentages during the Phase 1 process.
Q: Will the acceptance of NOFO applications be conducted on a rolling basis or after the final due date? In other words, is there an advantage to early application?
Phase 1 Leads
Q: Can non-profits lead a Phase 1 application or is the accelerator program restricted to for-profit entities?
A: Non-profits (and other organization types listed within the NOFO) are eligible to apply as leads in the Phase 1 NOFO.
Q: Are National Labs allowed to lead a Phase 1 application?
Q: Are National Labs allowed to provide technical assistance to Phase 2 applicants or is technical assistance to be provided by NOAA only?
A: Yes, National Labs, and other applicants can provide technical assistance to Phase 2 applications in addition to that which is provided by NOAA.
Q: Can Phase 1 activities include system development or integrating products for different partners (i.e., things used by the cohort participants like dashboards and decision support tools)?
A: The goal for Phase 1 is for the applicants to detail how their funds will be used. In this example, the applicant can use the Phase 1 proposal to argue the need of funds to develop such tools for effective implementation during Phase 2.
Q: What are “accelerators”?
A: Accelerators are entities that support the development of innovative early to mid-stage businesses with training, resources, mentorship, and often seed funding with the aim of bringing products to market. NOAA proposes to invest in a network of accelerators that bring together resources from the private-sector, government, academia, and other stakeholders to understand how ocean observation technologies and information services can offer solutions to specific climate resilience challenges and support sustainable business models for businesses delivering such solutions in climate resilience.
Q: Who can apply?
A: Eligible applicants under this NOFO are geographically concentrated entities that are composed of one (1) or more of the following: a) corporations, b) partnerships, c) joint ventures, d) academic institutions and cooperative institutes, e) not-for-profit organizations, f) state or local governmental entities, agencies or instrumentalities, or g) Tribal governments or consortia of Tribal governments. Applicants are encouraged to form Accelerators composed of multiple eligible entities where appropriate.
Q: What will happen in Phase 1?
A: Phase 1 is the Scoping and Design phase. NaOAA will award up to $250,000 per awardee over 9 months to support up to 15 qualified accelerator entities in scoping, planning, and designing an ocean-based climate resilience-focused accelerator program design that aligns with NOAA mission areas and addresses climate resilience challenges. Applications for Phase 1 should propose to design a climate resilience accelerator program focused on ocean-based climate resilience solutions, which should include one or more of the following program priorities:
Ocean Renewable Energy
Coastal and ocean carbon sequestration monitoring and accounting
Hazard mitigation and coastal resilience
Ecosystem Services, including change detection, change analysis (cause and effects) and change adaptation and /or mitigation
Other ocean-based climate resilience theme areas, as determined by the applicant.
NOAA will provide Phase 1 accelerator entities with access to subject matter experts (SMEs) who will provide feedback on accelerator programming design; assistance on development of selection criteria for cohort businesses; federal, state, and local networking opportunities; and other resources relevant to selected Climate Resilience Challenge area(s). SMEs may include technical experts from NOAA and other federal agencies, as needed. SMEs will meet regularly with Accelerator Entity leadership at a mutually agreed upon cadence.
Q: How many projects will be selected in Phase 1?
A: NOAA will select up to 15 proposals for the Ocean-Based Climate Resilience Accelerator program planning phase. Proposals will be evaluated on their plans for 1) leveraging existing and new partnerships to assist cohort businesses, 2) cohort solicitation and selection processes, 3) tailored programming and curricula, and 4) seed funding investment strategy.
Q: What are the theme areas?
A: Ocean Renewable Energy; Coastal and Ocean Carbon Sequestration Monitoring and Accounting; Hazard Mitigation and Coastal Resilience; Ecosystems Services, Including Change Detection, Change Analysis, and Change Adaptation/Mitigation; and other ocean-based climate resilience theme areas as determined by the applicant. (Note that “ocean” is inclusive of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas.)
More details on these theme areas can be seen on this page: https://ioos.noaa.gov/about/governance-and-management/inflation-reduction-act/accelerators/
Q: Will NOAA accept applications for accelerator entities that focus on only one theme area, or may accelerator entities propose multiple theme areas?
A: NOAA will be receptive to proposals that address one or multiple theme areas described in the NOFO.
Q: Will NOAA allow proposals from a partnership/consortium of multiple existing accelerator entities that addresses climate resilience theme areas at an ocean basin or geographical region scale?
A: Yes, NOAA will consider proposals from partnerships/consortiums of existing accelerator entities to support small businesses working within an ocean basin or geographical region. Accelerator entities may choose to submit individual proposals in addition to a larger partnership application. A primary institution must be named for both individual and partnership/consortium proposals.