[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 240 (Thursday, December 15, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74294-74297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-7395]



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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[Docket No. 030602141-5303-32]


Financial Assistance To Establish New Cooperative Science Centers 
Under NOAA's Educational Partnership Program (EPP) With Minority 
Serving Institutions in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Environmental 
Sciences, Living Marine Resources Science and Management, and Remote 
Sensing Technology at Minority Serving Institutions

AGENCY: Office of Education, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds and solicitation for proposals 
for these funds.

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SUMMARY: The purpose of this document is to advise the public that 
NOAA's Educational Partnership Program is soliciting new accredited 
post secondary minority serving institutions (MSI)--Cooperative Science 
Center proposals. These Centers are to establish partnerships between 
the accredited post secondary MSIs and NOAA. The partnership goal is to 
expand the institution's training and research capabilities and 
supporting program development. The developed programs will support 
NOAA's mission. The Cooperative Centers must establish in the NOAA core 
science areas: Atmospheric, oceanic and environmental sciences; living 
marine resources science and management; and remote sensing technology.
    The EPP/MSI is a competitive program designed to strengthen and 
enhance the research and training capabilities and to support the 
development of programs directly related to NOAA's mission at MSIs. The 
EPP is designed to enhance NOAA's capability to increase environmental 
literacy by establishing partnerships with academia, the private 
sector, and other Federal, State, Tribal and local agencies. Thus, the 
funding opportunity is intended to engage the MSI academic community in 
training and collaborative research across the spectrum of atmospheric, 
oceanic and environmental sciences, living marine resources science and 
management, and remote sensing technology in support of NOAA's mission.

DATES: Applications must be received by NOAA Educational Partnership 
Program (EPP) no later than 2 p.m. (eastern standard time), February 
13, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Applications submitted in response to this announcement are 
strongly encouraged to submit through the Grants.gov Web site. 
Electronic access to the Full Funding Opportunity Announcement for this 
program is available via the Grants.gov Web site: http://
www.grants.gov. The announcement will also be available at the NOAA EPP 
Web site http://epp.noaa.gov or by contacting the program officials 
identified below. Applicants must comply with all requirements 
contained in the full funding opportunity announcement. If Internet 
access is unavailable, paper applications (a signed original and two 
copies) may be submitted to the Educational Partnership Program at the 
following address: NOAA/OAR/EPP, 1315 East West Highway, Room 10600, 
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. No facsimile applications will be 
accepted. Institutions are encouraged to submit Letters of Intent to 
NOAA/EPP within 30 days of this announcement to aid in planning the 
review processes.
    Letters of Intent may be submitted via e-mail to 
Jacqueline.J.Rousseau@noaa.gov or Meka.Laster@noaa.gov. Information 
should include a general description of the Center proposal and 
participating institutions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jacqueline J. Rousseau, Program 
Director at 301-713-9437 ext. 124 or Jacqueline.J.Rousseau@noaa.gov. 
The alternative contact is Meka E. Laster at 301-713-9437 ext. 147 or 
Meka.laster@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Summary Description

    NOAA is committed to recruiting and retaining underrepresented 
community employees. NOAA is committed to training students in NOAA 
related sciences and conduct the ongoing mission of the agency. 
Therefore, the agency established a program aimed at MSI partnering 
that train and graduate students in the areas of atmospheric, oceanic 
and environmental sciences, fisheries sciences, and management, and 
remote sensing technology. Since approximately 40% of minority students 
receive their undergraduate degrees at MSIs, direct collaboration with 
MSIs is an effective way to increase the number of minority students 
trained and graduated. The MSI students receive NOAA-related science 
degrees and may engage in research and pursue careers compatible with 
the Agency's mission.
    The National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Engineering 
Indicators 2004 Report furnishes the doctoral and master's degree 
statistics for selected years, 1994-2003. The sciences include earth, 
atmospheric, and ocean sciences. The minority student statistics are 
below the national average. For example, the 2004 NSF report lists 
26,413 U.S. citizen, science and engineering doctoral degrees. However, 
the number of minority student graduates awarded doctoral degrees 
includes:
     1708 African Americans;
     1270 Hispanics;
     133 American Indian/Alaskan Natives;
     1417 Asian/Pacific Islanders.
    The 474 earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences doctoral degrees were 
awarded to:
     15 African Americans;
     13 Hispanics;
     2 American Indians and Alaskan Natives;
     10 to Asian/Pacific Islanders.
    Additionally, minority group master's degrees statistics are 
disproportionately low. With such a limited pool of potential employees 
from underrepresented communities trained in NOAA-related sciences, it 
is important that NOAA seek new ways to make students aware of the 
mission of the agency and to support activities that increase 
opportunities for students trained in NOAA-related sciences.
    Proposals for the Cooperative Science Centers shall support NOAA's 
mission as defined in NOAA's Strategic Plan--located at http://
www.noaa.gov--.
    The Educational Partnership Program supports the
     NOAA Strategic Plan.
     U.S. Ocean Action Plan.
     NOAA Education Plan.
     DOC/NOAA Succession Planning and Management Program Plan.
    Institutions may compete for an award to establish a Cooperative 
Science Center based on the following criteria:
    Atmospheric Cooperative Science Center: Atmospheric Cooperative 
Science Center proposals should address the ability to conduct 
collaborative research in numerical weather prediction, data 
assimilation, climate modeling, climate analysis and prediction, water 
resources, and/or studies that lead to improvements in warning and 
forecast operations. Atmospheric Center graduates should meet the 
National Weather Service's course requirements for meteorologists which 
include:
    1. Twenty four (24) semester hours in meteorology including six 
semester

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hours in weather analysis and prediction of weather systems (synoptic/
mesoscale); six semester hours of atmospheric dynamics and 
thermodynamics; three semester hours of physical meteorology; and two 
semester hours of remote sensing technology of the atmosphere and/or 
instrumentation;
    2. Six semester hours of physics with at least one course that 
includes laboratory sessions;
    3. Three semester hours of ordinary differential equations; and,
    4. Nine semester hours of course work appropriate for a physical 
science major in any combination of three or more of the following: 
Physical hydrology, statistics, chemistry, physical oceanography, 
physical climatology, radiative transfer, aeronomy, advanced 
thermodynamics, advanced electricity and magnetism, light and optics, 
computer science. There is a prerequisite or co-requisite of calculus 
for course work in atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physics, 
and differential equations. Calculus courses must be appropriate for a 
physical science major. The Center's proposal should address how its 
graduates will meet these course requirements.
    Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center: Living Marine 
Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) proposals should address 
the ability to support education and research in marine science 
including an emphasis on the following: Biological assessments; stock 
assessment; marine chemical assessments; habitat quality, coastal 
ecology--including ecosystem monitoring; remote sensing technology and 
GIS mapping; biodiversity; essential fish habitat; fishery economics; 
fishery-related social sciences and fishery biology, to include 
reproduction and food habitats; systematics and taxonomy; 
biotechnology; aquaculture; and enhancement.
    LMRCSC graduates should meet the course requirements with a major 
studies in biology, zoology, or biological oceanography that include at 
least 30 semester hours in biological, marine, and aquatic science and 
15 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences. The course 
work must include:
    1. At least 15 semester hours in zoology beyond introductory 
biology or zoology in such course as invertebrate zoology, comparative 
anatomy, histology, physiology, embryology, advanced vertebrate 
zoology, genetics, entomology, and parasitology.
    2. At least 6 semester hours of training applicable to fishery 
biology in such subjects as fishery biology, ichthyology, limnology, 
oceanography, algology, planktonology, marine or fresh water ecology, 
invertebrate ecology, principles of fishery population dynamics, or 
related course work in the field of fishery biology.
    3. At least 15 semester hours of training in any combination of two 
or more of the following chemistry, physics, mathematics, or 
statistics.
    Graduates must be able to carry out a variety of tasks including: 
predicting population trends of living marine resources (LMR); 
developing harvest strategies that maintain sustainable yields of 
renewable resources; analyzing the social and economic impacts of 
various management decisions on communities by decisions related to 
LMR. In addition, graduates must be able to design and carry out 
projects for LMR.
    Environmental Cooperative Science Center: Environmental Cooperative 
Science Center (ECSC) proposals should address the ability to respond 
to coastal and ocean threats, restore damaged areas, manage coastal and 
ocean resources and support maritime commerce. Key areas of focus could 
include:
    1. Understanding, predicting, assessing, managing, and 
communicating the impacts of human and natural stresses on coastal 
ocean ecosystems, including impacts from climate change, pollution, 
land and resource use, invasive species, and extreme natural events;
    2. Developing science-based support and guidance for integrated 
coastal and ocean management, including full integration of biophysical 
sciences, ecology, and human dimensions; and,
    3. Increased understanding of the physical, chemical, and 
biological processes that both impact and support coastal navigation 
and ports, as well as an integration of this biophysical understanding 
with human dimensions to increase navigation safety and decrease 
potential negative impacts to ecosystems and coastal resources.
    ECSC graduates should have at least 24 semester hours that include 
coursework in each of the areas of physical, chemical, biological, and 
ecological sciences. Supporting coursework in engineering (civil, 
marine, electrical, chemical, environmental, mechanical, ocean, as 
applicable to Center focus areas) would be an asset. Knowledge of 
pertinent research and analytical methodology, as well as the ability 
to apply the aforementioned sciences and disciplines to policy and 
management issues, is required.
    Remote Sensing Technology Cooperative Science Center: Remote 
Sensing Technology Cooperative Science Center must have particular 
emphasis in environmental satellite-related research activities 
directed toward helping to sustain healthy coasts, to build sustainable 
fisheries, to recover protected species, to help improve weather 
forecasts and warnings, to provide improved environmental forecasts or 
analyses, and to prepare for future NOAA operational environmental 
satellite missions. The Center will be expected to:
    1. Provide an organizational setting to promote and establish 
programs and related research relating to remote sensing technology by 
drawing upon multiple disciplines and involving collaboration with 
multiple performing and research-sponsoring partners;
    2. Serve as a model for outreach, input, and collaboration that 
help ensure that research can be applied to solving priority NOAA 
remote sensing technology, current satellite system optimization, and 
future satellite system development and planning;
    3. Expand research in remote sensing technology, satellite data 
management, and user access technologies; and,
    4. Support multi-disciplinary research projects aimed at NOAA's 
remote sensing technology mission responsibilities, to include: (a) 
Passive radiometric remote sensing technology; (b) Passive multi-
spectral remote sensing technology; (c) High spectral resolution 
(hyperspectral) remote sensing technology; (d) Active and passive 
microwave remote sensing technology; (e) Satellite sensor development 
and demonstration in the categories above; (f) technologies relating to 
satellite data acquisition, data distribution, mission operations, and 
mission planning; and, g) Technologies relating to improved user data 
access and data management. Through such multi-disciplinary research, 
explore new approaches to enhance the use of present and future 
environmental satellites to meet the rapidly changing environmental 
needs of the Nation.
    The Cooperative Science Centers's principal academic institution 
must be an accredited MSI with a Ph.D. program in one of the NOAA core 
science areas in atmospheric, oceanic and environmental sciences, 
living marine resources science and management, and remote sensing 
technology. A Cooperative Science Center Distinguished Scientist 
position must be created--within one year-- to develop significant 
research projects for their respective Center and other EPP Centers, 
MSIs, NOAA science and

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research facilities and relevant agencies. Faculty and staff exchanges 
are an integral part of this program and opportunities for faculty and 
staff exchanges are available for collaborative research or other 
agreed upon activities. A postdoctoral program supported by NOAA EPP 
funds must be established at each of the Science Centers. During the 
two-year fellowship the postdoctoral research should be collaborative 
between the postdoctoral fellow and NOAA scientist and address a NOAA 
core science area. The candidates do not become NOAA employees. NOAA 
expects the Center to develop mechanisms and approaches that increase 
Center student course and seminar offerings not only at the Center MSI 
but at other MSIs and partner institutions. A K-12 science education 
program must be established at each of the Science Centers. The K-12 
science education program purpose is increasing the basic science and 
math skilled student pipeline. A thirty percent (30%) award minimum is 
required for student support, that includes--but is not limited to-- 
scholarships, fellowships, travel expenses to professional meetings and 
for conducting site research. While the Centers are established at 
MSIs, non-minority serving institutions consortia are not restricted. 
Also, private and public sector partnerships are encouraged.

Electronic Access

    Applicants can access download and submit electronic grant 
applications, including the Full Funding Opportunity Announcement, for 
NOAA programs at the Grants.gov Web site: http://www.grants.gov. The 
announcement will also be available at the NOAA EPP Web site http://
epp.noaa.gov or by contacting the program officials identified above. 
The closing date will be the same as for the paper submissions noted in 
this announcement. NOAA strongly recommends that you do not wait until 
the application deadline date to begin the application process through 
Grants.gov. If Internet access is unavailable, hard copies of proposals 
will also be accepted-a signed original and two copies at time of 
submission. This includes color or high-resolution graphics, unusually 
sized materials, or otherwise unusual materials submitted as part of 
the proposal. For color graphics, submit either color originals or 
color copies. Facsimile transmissions and electronic mail submission of 
full proposals will not be accepted.

Funding Availability

    Subject to Congressional appropriations, this solicitation 
announces that funding at a maximum of $50 million will be available 
for the Cooperative Science Centers over a five-year period. Proposals 
are limited to a total of $12.5 million for a maximum of five years and 
four proposals will be funded. The funding instrument will be a 
cooperative agreement since NOAA will be substantially involved in 
developing research priorities, conducting cooperative activities with 
recipients, exchanging staff and providing internship opportunities for 
students at MSIs.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1540, 49 U.S.C. 44720, 33 U.S.C. 883d, 33 
U.S.C. 1442, 16 U.S.C. 1854(e), 16 U.S.C. 661, 16 U.S.C. 753(a), 16 
U.S.C. 1451 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 1431, 33 U.S.C. 883a and Executive 
Orders 13230, 13256, 13270, 13336, and 13339.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: 11.481--Educational 
Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions.

    Eligibility: For the purposes of this program, Historically Black 
Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal 
Colleges and Universities, and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian 
Serving Institutions, as identified on the 2004 United States 
Department of Education, Accredited Postsecondary Minority Institution 
list at http://epp.noaa.gov, are eligible to apply. Proposals will not 
be accepted from non-profit organizations, foundations, auxiliary 
services or any other entity submitted on behalf of MSIs.
    Cost Sharing Requirements: None.
    Intergovernmental Review: Applications under this program are not 
subject to Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
Programs.''
    Evaluation and Selection Criteria and Procedures: NOAA published 
its agency-wide solicitation entitled ``Omnibus Notice Announcing the 
Availability of Grant Funds for Fiscal Year 2006'' for projects for 
Fiscal Year 2006 in the Federal Register on June 30, 2005 (70 FR 
37766). The evaluation and selection criteria and procedures for 
projects contained in that omnibus notice are applicable to this 
notice. Copies of this notice are available on the Internet at http://
www.ofa.noaa.gov/%7Eamd/SOLINDEX.HTML. Further details on evaluation 
and selection criteria and procedures applicable to this notice can be 
found in the full funding opportunity announcement.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    NOAA must analyze the potential environmental impacts, as required 
by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for applicant projects 
or proposals which are seeking NOAA federal funding opportunities. 
Detailed information on NOAA compliance with NEPA can be found at the 
following NOAA NEPA Web site: http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/, including our 
NOAA Administrative Order 216-6 for NEPA, http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/
NAO216_6_TOC.pdf, and the Council on Environmental Quality 
implementation regulations, http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/ceq/
toc_ceq.htm. Consequently, as part of an applicant's package, and 
under their description of their program activities, applicants are 
required to provide detailed information on the activities to be 
conducted, locations, sites, species and habitat to be affected, 
possible construction activities, and any environmental concerns that 
may exist (e.g., the use and disposal of hazardous or toxic chemicals, 
introduction of non-indigenous species, impacts to endangered and 
threatened species, aquaculture projects, and impacts to coral reef 
systems). In addition to providing specific information that will serve 
as the basis for any required impact analyses, applicants may also be 
requested to assist NOAA in drafting of an environmental assessment, if 
NOAA determines an assessment is required. Applicants will also be 
required to cooperate with NOAA in identifying feasible measures to 
reduce or avoid any identified adverse environmental impacts of their 
proposal. The failure to do so shall be grounds for the denial of an 
application. In some cases if additional information is required after 
application is selected, funds can be withheld by the Grants Officer 
under a special award condition requiring the recipient to submit 
additional environmental compliance information sufficient to enable 
NOAA to make an assessment on any impacts that a project may have on 
the environment.

Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative 
Agreements

    The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements contained in the Federal Register 
notice of December 30, 2004 (69 FR 78389) are applicable to this 
solicitation.

Limitation of Liability

    Funding for the Cooperative Science Centers listed in this notice 
is

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contingent upon availability of Fiscal Year 2006 appropriations. 
Applicants are hereby given notice that funds have not yet been 
appropriated for the Cooperative Science Centers. In no event will NOAA 
or the Department of Commerce be responsible for proposal preparation 
costs if these programs fail to receive funding or are cancelled 
because of other agency priorities. Publication of this announcement 
does not oblige NOAA to award any specific project or to obligate any 
available funds. Recipients and sub-recipients are subject to all 
Federal laws and agency policies, regulations and procedures applicable 
to Federal financial assistance awards.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This notification involves collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. The use of Standard Forms 424, 
424A, 424B, and SF-LLL and CD-346 has been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under control numbers 0348-0043, 0348-0044, 
0348-0040 and 0348-0046 and 0605-0001. Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any 
person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection 
of information subject to the requirements of the PRA unless that 
collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number.

Executive Order 12866

    It has been determined that this notice is not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    It has been determined that this notice does not contain policies 
with Federalism implications as that term is defined in Executive Order 
13132.

Administrative Procedure Act/Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Prior notice and an opportunity for public comment are not required 
by the Administrative procedure Act or any other law for rules 
concerning public property, loans, grants, benefits, and contracts (5 
U.S.C. 553(a)(2)). Because notice and opportunity for comments are not 
required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical 
requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
are inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis has not 
been prepared, and none has been prepared.

Mark Brown,
Chief Financial Officer, NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
 [FR Doc. E5-7395 Filed 12-14-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-KD-P