In October, Congress passed and the President signed the State Water Resources Research Institutes Fiscal Year 1999 budget. The total appropriation was $5,055,000, a $502,000 increase over last year. Of the total, $1 million is to be used to support 1:1 matching grants to be awarded competitively for research addressing regional problems and for which research priorities are to be developed by the institutes and the U.S. Geological Survey. Funds for administering the program, in the amount of $237,000, have been allocated.
The remaining $3,818,000 is to be divided equally among the states and territories participating in the Institute program “to support a State-wide competitive program of research education, and information and technology transfer developed in close collaboration with the Institute’s advisory panel.” These funds reinstate the state water resources grant competition as WRRI knew it for many years but which was discontinued three years ago. The competition allows states to set research priorities and the state alone ranks the proposals.
The request for preproposals for the Seed Money Research Program was released in mid-November. The New Mexico WRRI sent RFP notices to researchers on its mailing list along with departments and institutes at the state’s universities. Information regarding preproposal submission was posted on the WRRI Home Page. The deadline for electronically submitted preproposals was November 30, 1998. This short time frame was needed to comply with a new USGS deadline and to accommodate review by WRRI staff and its Review Board. If chosen for further consideration, investigators will be invited to submit a full proposal (also in electronic format) by January 31, 1999. Funding for proposals could begin as early as April 1, 1999 but in no case later than July 1, 1999.
The New Mexico WRRI anticipates funding 4-6 new projects, contingent upon the amount of available federal and state appropriations.
The emphasis of the Program is on new information or technology. The following areas will be given highest priority in the selection process:
- Research on water conservation, planning and management
- atmospheric-surface-groundwater relationships
- water quality research
- utilization of saline and other impaired waters
The institute will occasionally support studies of a very preliminary nature that deal with innovative concepts that would generally be considered as high risk but of great payoff if successful. Investigators are strongly encouraged to include student participation in their research proposal. The cost-sharing match for this program requires a 1:2 match (federal:state).
Questions concerning the 1999 WRRI Seed Money Research Program can be addressed to Darlene Reeves via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.