In 2015, the Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies) began implementing its strategic vision and many of the year’s accomplishments are GRP “firsts.” For example, we conducted our first funding competitions, awarding more than $6.5 million of research grants and fellowships to people and institutions in the Gulf region and around the nation (see our key accomplishments).
The GRP also developed four initiatives to characterize the program’s main areas of interest: (1) reducing risk in offshore oil and gas operations, (2) observation and monitoring for healthy ecosystems and coastal communities, (3) planning and action for healthy and resilient coastal communities, and (4) building capacity to address cross-boundary challenges. The initiatives and strategies for lasting benefit are designed to foster scientific insights and actions that benefit coastal communities and ecosystems and will shape the GRP’s portfolio of grants, fellowships, and activities.
The strategies for lasting benefit are
- Emphasizing a long-term, cross-boundary perspective that takes advantage of the program’s 30-year duration and supports activities that cross geographical, disciplinary, and sectoral boundaries.
- Supporting science to advance understanding of large, complex issues and challenges.
- Ensuring the development and application of science to serve community needs.
- Encouraging synthesis and integration of data and information already available.
- Leveraging program funds through coordination and collaboration.
- Investing in leadership development and capacity building to support people with the skills and abilities needed to solve complex problems and support innovation.
As the program matures, it will evolve into a national program that tackles complex challenges that arise where energy systems, people, and sensitive ecosystems coexist. We look forward to continued interactions with stakeholders from research, government, industry, and nonprofit communities as we work on behalf of the Academies to bring lasting benefits to the Gulf region and the nation.