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Gulf Research Program Sponsored Activities

The activities, projects, and publications on this page have received financial support from the Gulf Research Program, but Gulf Research Program staff are not direct participants and the final products are not authored by the Gulf Research Program.

Activities, Projects, or Opportunities Currently in Progress 

Consensus Studies

Evaluation of the Use of Chemical Dispersants in Oil Spill Response
This study will assess the effects and efficacy of dispersants as an oil spill response tool through review and evaluation of domestic and international research reports and results, including both laboratory and field studies. The study will evaluate trade-offs associated with dispersant use, in part through use or review of net environmental benefit analyses conducted for past oil spills.

Measuring Community Resilience
The project will explore metrics for resilience used at a national level and identify strategies for measuring resilience at the community level. The project is foundational in that the findings and conclusions will directly inform the work of the Gulf Research Program on how to measure resilience and enhance or build resilience in Gulf coast communities. The report will also be of interest to a wide range of audiences, including community decision makers and community organizations; local, state, and federal agencies; practitioners; the private sector; the foundation and philanthropic community; the research community.

The Science of Effective Mentoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, and Mathematics (STEMM)
The quality, vigor, and innovation of the U.S. science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) enterprise depend on increasing the diversity of individuals, research teams, and leadership in STEMM fields. This in turn requires the advancement of women, individuals from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEMM, and first-generation students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Effective, high-quality, and sustainable mentoring relationships for diverse individuals across career stages are essential in supporting student success (e.g., performance, persistence) in STEMM fields, especially for many members of these historically underrepresented populations. . The study will focus on identifying evidence (or lack thereof) regarding successful programs for mentoring of individuals traditionally marginalized in STEMM fields.


Discovering the Deep Blue Sea: Research, Innovation, Social Engagement Conference

The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) and the Gulf Research Program announced the recipients of 21 interdisciplinary seed grants, totaling $1.55 million. These competitive grants support collaborations and investigations resulting from Discovering the Deep Blue Sea: Research, Innovation, Social Engagement. Major federal funding programs do not typically provide support in areas that are considered risky or unusual. Futures grants aim to fill this critical gap in funding for bold new ideas. The seed grants allow investigators to recruit students and postdocs to the research effort, purchase new equipment, acquire preliminary data, develop prototypes of exhibits, or create new collaborative teams and modes of inquiry -- all of which can position the project to compete for larger awards from other public and private sources.


Sea Grant Regional Oil Spill Preparedness Workshops
The Gulf Research Program is collaborating with the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program to convene a series of workshops aimed at improving community preparedness for future oil spills. The workshops will bring together practitioners and stakeholders in five coastal regions around the United States to discuss the health, social, and economic impacts of oil spills and identify regional needs and priorities for improving preparedness. The workshops are being organized in response to a 2017 National Academies workshop that identified opportunities for action to improve protection of community health and well-being from oil spills. Learn more | Press release

Student Workshop on International Marine and Coastal Management (SWIMM)
The 4th Student Workshop on International Marine and Coastal Management in the Gulf of Mexico (SWIMM 2018) is taking place October 7-16, 2018 in northern central Cuba. The workshop is bringing together graduate students from the United States, Mexico, and Cuba for week-long workshops involving peer-to-peer exchanges, shared learning, and intensive interactions with scientists, managers, and practitioners. It is being organized by the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi and the Center for Marine Research at the University of Havana with support from the Gulf Research Program and the HRI Furgason International Fellowship. Learn more

Completed Activities and Projects 

Consensus Studies
Designing Safety Regulations for High-Hazard Industries - cover Designing Safety Regulations for High-Hazard Industries (2018)
This report examines key factors relevant to government safety regulators when choosing among regulatory design types, particularly for preventing low-frequency, high consequence events. In such contexts, safety regulations are often scrutinized after an incident, but their effectiveness can be inherently difficult to assess when their main purpose is to reduce catastrophic failures that are rare to begin with. Nevertheless, regulators of high-hazard industries must have reasoned basis for making their regulatory design choices.
Get the report | Report highlights
GOM Restoration Report Cover Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico (2017)
A tremendous number of restoration projects are planned and underway in the Gulf of Mexico to help mitigate damage done by the 2010 Macondo Well Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In order to ensure that restoration goals are met and money is well spent, restoration monitoring and evaluation should be an integral part of those projects. However, evaluations of past restoration efforts have shown that monitoring is often inadequate or even absent. This report explains the value of monitoring restoration activities and lays out essential elements for effective monitoring. The report offers specific guidance for a subset of habitats and taxa to be restored in the Gulf including oyster reefs, tidal wetlands, and seagrass habitats, as well as a variety of birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals. A booklet, "Making Conservation and Restoration Count: Guidance for Effective Monitoring and Evaluation", was also partially developed based on this report.
Get the report | Report highlights | Get the related booklet | View report impact assessment
Understanding Long-Term Evolution of Gulf Coastal System - Report Cover Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human System: The Future of the U.S. Gulf Coast (2018)
The U.S. Gulf Coast is a complex, dynamic region where natural processes and human activities are deeply intertwined. As sea levels rise, severe weather intensifies, and population growth brings increasing coastal development and accumulating amounts of infrastructure, this coupled natural-human coastal system is under increasing pressure from multiple stressors. A better understanding of the physical, ecological, and human aspects of the Gulf’s natural-human coastal system can help promote resilience and future habitability in the area, as well as support effective decision-making and policies. The report identifies critical knowledge gaps where research is needed to increase understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between human and natural processes along the Gulf Coast, along with a research agenda and strategies to help address these gaps. The report also presents barriers to effective communication between scientists and stakeholders and opportunities to address these barriers.
Get the report


NCEAS Open Science for Synthesis Training (2017)
Open Science for Synthesis: Gulf Research Program was a hands-on data science course for both early career and established researchers to gain skills in data science, including scientific synthesis, reproducible science, and data management. These skills are critical for understanding the complex environmental, human, and energy systems in the Gulf of Mexico, especially following large disturbance events like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.


Human Factors of Process Safety Cover The Human Factors of Process Safety and Worker Empowerment in the Offshore Oil Industry: A Workshop (2018)
While the human factors of personal safety have been widely studied and widely adopted in many high-risk industries, process safety – the application of engineering, design, and operative practices to address major hazard concerns – is less well understood from a human factors perspective, particularly in the offshore oil industry. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a workshop in January 2018 to explore best practices and lessons learned from other high-risk, high-reliability industries for the benefit of the research community and of citizens, industry practitioners, decision makers, and officials addressing safety in the offshore oil industry. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop. 

Preparing for a Rapid Response to Major Marine Oil Spills - Cover Preparing for a Rapid Response to Major Offshore Oil and Gas Spills: A Workshop on Research Needs to Protect the Health and Well-being of Communities (2017)
On August 2-3, 2017, the Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research During Large-Scale Emergency Events hosted a public workshop in Washington, DC to explore research needs and other opportunities for improving public health response and protection during and after oil spills and inform the design of a rapid response in the event of future offshore oil spills.
Get the workshop proceedings in brief | View the recorded workshop webcast |
View graphic depicting human impacts of marine oil spills discussed at workshop
SPE Summit: Safer Offshore Energy Systems - Summary Report SPE Summit: Safer Offshore Energy Systems (2018)
On May 22-24, 2018, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) held the “SPE Summit: Safer Offshore Energy Systems Summit.” The summit was sponsored by the GRP to identify specific and implementable research areas where the involvement of the GRP could help lead to safer offshore development. During the summit, a broad set of industry experts identified areas where research is needed to minimize and manage risks for both people and the environment by minimizing the possibility of a major incident. Following the summit, SPE prepared a summary report that includes presentations from the summit and shares the technical and human research opportunities identified by participants. Get the report