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NOAA SBIR FY 2019 Notice of Funding Opportunity - Phase I
NOTE: The Solicitations and topics listed on this site are copies from the various SBIR agency solicitations and are not necessarily the latest and most up-to-date. For this reason, you should use the agency link listed below which will take you directly to the appropriate agency server where you can read the official version of this solicitation and download the appropriate forms and rules.
The official link for this solicitation is: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=310297
Application Due Date:
Available Funding Topics
Shellfish, notably bivalves, are routinely exposed to and accumulate high levels of pathogens and chemical contaminants. Petroleum pollution is nearly ubiquitous in coastal waters, which is exacerbated by accidental oil spills. Contamination of shellfish by petroleum hydrocarbon pollution often results in closure of commercial fisheries and shellfish beds, but it may also expose recreational or subsistence harvesters of seafood to potentially harmful, including carcinogenic, compounds.
Among the pathogens of concern, Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a leading cause of seafood-associated gastroenteritis and related illnesses worldwide. In some cases, such illnesses may lead to serious health consequences, including the possibility of death. There are data to suggest that the geographical range of the epidemiologically confirmed V. parahaemolyticus illness has increased in recent years. There is the potential for greater health hazard from consumption of wild or farmed bivalves. In the United States, Vibriosis causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths every year (CDC data). Typically, Vibrio infection occurs through consumption of raw or undercooked bivalves, notably oysters. More recently (2018), V. parahaemolyticus infection of imported crab meat was reported from three states and the District of Columbia, which required hospitalization of exposed individuals.
Traditional analytical methods used to identify and determine levels of pathogens or petroleum hydrocarbons are time-consuming, technically demanding, and often expensive. In addition, many of the solvents used in the analyses pose environmental and human health risks. Recent emergence of novel sensor technologies, advent of miniaturization of chemical analytical methods, and rapid growth in the implementation of portable devices have increased the expectation of widely adopting sensors for measuring single and multiple stressors that are operable in diverse environmental sample matrices. Technologies that have the potential for detecting contaminants in biological tissues may be spectroscopic or non-spectroscopic (e.g., immunoassays, molecular and gene-based approaches, electrochemical biosensors, microfluidic arrays and photosensors, and microchip electrophoresis).
Applications in this subtopic might include an understanding of analytical technologies and their potential for automation and/or portability, an appreciation of working with biological tissues, and awareness of complexities caused by multiple biological strains and mixtures of contaminants in field samples. It is not anticipated that individual proposals will address both aspects of the topic, i.e., pathogens and petroleum hydrocarbons. Applicants may address individual or multiple pathogen species, or a specific petroleum hydrocarbon or a group of compounds, e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Risks to aquatic animal health within the context of marine aquaculture are a critical concern for both the economic security of seafood producers in the US and for the health and safety of seafood consumers. The ability to ensure and demonstrate a culture environment free from pathogens reduces those risks, and provides a potential marketing advantage for farmed products (thereby reducing pressure on wild fisheries). Tools to detect disease in these settings are limited, in both availability and relevance, and there have been no meaningful advancements in practical biosecurity measures for aquaculture in recent years.
Project Goals: Products produced as a result of this subtopic should be practical (i.e. not cost prohibitive for aquaculture practitioners and not prohibitively complicated to deploy) and effective. Tools for disease detection should focus on pathogens of concern (those known to pose an economic threat to growers and those that pose a known threat to human health) and should deliver actionable results to the end user (i.e. indicate whether the presence of a particular organism indicates a true risk).
Worldwide (but especially in the United States) aquaculture lags far behind other methods of protein production with regard to genetic tools used to increase production efficiency, protect the health of farmed and cultured organisms, and to protect the wild populations in adjacent habitats. While there have been a number of relatively recent advancements related to brood stock selection for both finfish and bivalves, there are numerous other areas where genetic tools have not yet been developed and deployed.
Innovative tools produced as a result of this subtopic should focus on reducing risk carried by marine aquaculture operations by addressing one of the three focus areas indicated: 1) Improving the health of finfish, shellfish or seaweed being raised on marine farms; 2) Increasing the productivity of marine aquaculture operations, such that more product and/or value can be created with an equal or lesser impact on the environment; 3) Reducing the potential for negative impacts on plants and animals that may exist in proximity to marine aquaculture installations.
Coral reef ecosystems are suffering globally from the effects of ocean warming and other stressors. Dealing with these issues is paramount to the long-term existence of reefs. However, active propagation of corals is critical to maintain reefs in the interim. Coral restoration has been shown to be successful at the reef scale, but significant scale-up and improved efficiency is necessary to be successful at larger scales.
While coral restoration can take on different forms from the deployment of fully grown corals (greater then >20cm and weighing in excess of 1 kg) to placement of small coral fragments (<1cm and nearly weightless), almost all forms involve permanently securing small or large corals to existing or artificial reef.
Today corals are primarily secured to the reef using a hand mixed two-part adhesive that has a clay/putty like consistency. This is time consuming, as the reef site has to prepared; the adhesive needs to be hand mixed; set-up time is slow; and the material is not “tacky” and therefore requires precise placement. Currently, the time involved in physically attaching corals is one of the major bottlenecks to efficient coral restoration.
Applications in this subtopic might include innovative ideas for adhesives that are simply used underwater. While not required, some areas of interest within this subtopic include ones that address the following:
- Negatively buoyant in seawater. A consistency that is tacky/sticky underwater immediately with no wait time - that “grabs” both the substrate and the coral.
- Able to be deployed from a “caulk gun” type device as well as from a small nozzle or syringe.
- Ability to be used in large/bulk amounts (>20ml for entire corals) or small/precise amounts (<1ml for microfragments) depending on use and deployment device.
- Requires minimal surface prep.
- Initial set-up (requires external force to break free) time of 1- 2 minutes but less than 10 min.
- Full cure setup time of less than 12 hours,
- Able to work in salt water.
- Non-toxic to marine life.
- Minimal to no surface preparation.
On November 5, 2015 H.R. 774 was signed into law as the “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act.” This legislation advances U.S. efforts to prevent illegally harvested fish from entering our ports and market and achieve sustainable fisheries globally. It also helps address key priorities in the action plan for combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud. Per the Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud, the full extent of seafood fraud is difficult to determine, particularly as it often happens at the retail level. Cooperation with state and local authorities on addressing seafood fraud is essential in strengthening links of the supply chain that occur intrastate, or at the local level, and are sometimes outside federal jurisdiction.
There is a need for technology development to design, test, and make commercially available methods to rapidly detect IUU in the market place. Applications in this subtopic might include innovative technologies that develop rapid methods or technologies to check on more of the U.S. seafood supply than is currently available. These include, but are not limited to:
- Methods/Technologies to preventing aqua-cultured imports with banned pharmaceuticals from entering the U.S.
- Development of rapid species identification methods in restaurants, markets, etc.
- Methods/Technologies to efficiently monitor the U.S. market supply for product quality and safety.
- Methods/Technologies to conduct rapid and cost effective surveys to see if restaurants are substituting high-quality seafood for cheaper imported seafood.
- Methods/Technologies that support monitoring efforts of imports to prevent IUU fish from entering the U.S. market, allowing consumers to have confidence that the seafood they purchase was harvested legally and responsibly.
The occurrence, persistence, and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their associated toxicity is a widespread phenomenon, which is gaining increasing attention globally due to impacts on public health, drinking water supplies, coastal recreation and biological resources, as well as fisheries and aquaculture. Toxins associated with HABs cause human illnesses, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning, neurotoxic shellfish
poisoning, amnesic shellfish poisoning, and ciguatera fish poisoning, among others. The algal (and cyanobacterial) species associated with algal blooms can differ across geographic regions, and multiple HAB species can exhibit spatio-temporally overlapping distributions. Their toxins belong to several categories, including, saxitoxins, brevetoxins, domoic acid, okadaic acid/dinophysistoxins, and cyanotoxins). Some of the toxins have many structural analogs. For example, more than 20 congeners of saxitoxins are known, each with a different toxic potency and the potential to occur at widely different levels (or be entirely absent) from a sample being tested. Given the challenges of regional algal diversity and the complexity posed by multiple toxin congeners, successful detection technologies and monitoring systems are likely to be region-specific.
NOAA has conducted or sponsored numerous research studies over the past decade to advance the detection and monitoring of algal cells and their toxins that are associated with HABs. Examples include advancing receptor-binding assays, developing passive sampling devices for algal toxins, nucleic acid probes for detection algal species, an automated underwater microscope, biosensor detection technologies, and nucleic acid probes. NOAA has also participated in the development and application of the Environmental Sample Processo*r, a robotic electromechanical/fluidic system with integrated sensors for detecting and reporting subsurface concentrations of algal species and toxins in near-real time. Products from these studies continue to improve operational monitoring, typically conducted by states, and some have a known potential for commercialization.
Patchy distribution of algal cells, dynamic changes in their abundance, and lack of a consistent, and as yet predictable, relationship between cell abundance and toxin levels necessitate measurements of both algal cells and toxins.
Applications in this subtopic might include technologies that address a continuing need to develop, improve, and implement algal cell and toxin detection sensors and monitoring systems that can provide state and local officials, as well as stakeholders at large, with the ability to measure relevant targets better (i.e., accuracy, precision), faster, and in a more cost-effective manner.
The development and operational use of rope-less fishing (marking and retrieving traps
without buoys or end lines) that could eliminate or minimize trap/pot gear entanglements, the cause of most North Atlantic right whale and other large whale entanglement deaths within the US EEZ and globally.
The North Atlantic right whale population is in crisis with less than 450 animals remaining and no calf production in 2017. A major reason for their rapid decline since 2010 is chronic entanglement in buoy and end lines of fixed fishing gear. Approximately, 85% of right whales show entanglement scars. On the west coast of the United States, where whale numbers are increasing, humpback whales have the highest vulnerability to fixed-gear entanglements.
Worldwide, entanglements are a chronic problem wherever there is overlap between trap/pot gear fishing and high whale concentrations. Entanglements cause sub-lethal effects and are detrimental to the viability of even the most robust whale populations. A promising method to prevent entanglement is to employ a fishing method that involves marking and retrieving traps without buoys or end lines, referred to as ropeless fishing.
Applications in this subtopic might include activities and/or technologies that provide a safe, legal, practical and affordable alternative system to: (1) mark the location of traps on the sea floor, and (2) retrieve traps without a surface buoy or end line. Regardless of proposed ropeless fishing method, approach also needs to address gear conflicts, which requires information on the position and orientation of traps or ends of trawl to both fixed and mobile fishers.
Many critical decisions affecting both private and public-sector activities depend on reliable information about weather events and climate variability expected in the period three to four weeks ahead. The SubX* subseasonal forecast project combines forecasts from seven agencies — six U.S. and one Canadian — to explore the potential for improving prediction for this range with multiple dynamical computer forecasts.
Applications in this subtopic might include activities that explore various strategies for improving subseasonal forecasts generated by SubX or similar systems. This will create calibration methods and verification statistics that may encourage and justify use of the
forecasts by decision makers in weather and climate sensitive activities.
NOAA produces a large number of products and services the value of which cannot be fully realized without increased public awareness and engagement. This SBIR subtopic seeks the development of novel outreach tools and technologies to increase public awareness of NOAA’s broad mission areas. It also seeks to stimulate engagement by quantifying and communicating the benefits of NOAA products and services and helping to transition them to the other sectors of the economy. Activities under this SBIR subtopic might include:
- demonstrating methods to quantify and communicate economic benefits of weather products and services across various sectors and over time,
- expanding social science efforts to better communicate the importance of weather forecasting and climate prediction services,
- developing outreach tools and technologies to educate and engage the public to increase awareness, understanding, and value of the oceans, and
- improving the utilization of the government-provided real-time space weather and model output data to encourage private-sector development of value-added products and services that address specific needs of the electric power industry.
NOAA’s Big Data Project (BDP) began nearly three years ago with the goal of facilitating public use of key NOAA environmental datasets in the Cloud. By placing the data into the cloud and allowing users to do analyses of data and extract information without having to transfer and store these massive datasets themselves, the NOAA Big Data Project is creating massive opportunities for small companies to create new and innovative products and services for commercial sales.
In 2019, we are offering U.S. small businesses the additional opportunity of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to enable the creation of commercial
products and services using these datasets. The datasets are available through different Cloud platforms. Information on what datasets are on what platform can be found here: https://ncics.org/data/noaa-big-data-project/. NOAA will continue to maintain these datasets on these platforms after the Big Data Project has concluded and the data will be freely available through NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) as well.
Applications in this subtopic might include activities that enable the development of one or more commercial product(s) that advance NOAA's mission areas identified in the main research topics under Section 9 of this NOFO (ie. Aquaculture, Recreational and Commercial Fisheries, etc). Applications should include capabilities above and beyond the original data to be of commercial value and interest to the public, industry, or both. Please also provide letters of support for any strategic partnerships you may be able to apply to the venture to ensure success.
In order for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) to effectively and efficiently operate within and outside the National Air Space (NAS), future unmanned aircraft will be required to operate autonomously. In order to meet this requirement, tomorrow’s sUAS will need to operate safely and efficiently using advanced beyond line of sight operational technologies (BLOS). To help NOAA better meet its existing and future science mission goals in remote and/or challenging environments, proposals in this SBIR subtopic that are of interest include the development of advanced solutions that will enable safe and reliable BLOS autonomous flight using multiple sUAS platforms, navigation systems and onboard environmental sensors. Any hardware or software-based solutions proposed under this subtopic should not be aircraft or autopilot specific. Candidate technologies might include applications based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, among others.
Environmental observations of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans and the air-land-sea-ice-snow interface underpin virtually all of NOAA’s science, service, and stewardship activities. From routine monitoring and sampling of critical environmental parameters, to an enhanced understanding of associated biological, physical, and chemical processes, to initialization of forecast and prediction models, there is an ongoing need for cost-effective, high-reliability, readily-deployable, platform-independent sensors and observing systems. This subtopic seeks to expand observational capabilities relevant to marine ecosystems, ocean processes, atmospheric observations, and interfacial processes, among others. Successful candidates will offer not only new ideas for sensors and systems but procedures for effective data management, including formatting, quality control, display, accessibility, and transferability of data. Of specific interest are:
- low-cost sensors for atmosphere and ocean measurements (including air-land and air-sea fluxes);
- an easily deployable sensor package with practical and ready-to-use sensors for marine biological observations that go beyond fluorescence to address critical needs for biodiversity, organism abundance, and productivity measurements;
- robust biological, chemical and physical sensors, including omics, for exploration and characterization of the deep ocean; and
- real-time, QARTOD-capable quality control firmware and software within meteorological and oceanographic instruments (QARTOD: Quality Assurance / Quality Control of Real-Time Oceanographic Data)*.
This subtopic also seeks to identify pathways for harnessing the potential of the full enterprise to establish the best possible analysis of the atmosphere-land-ocean system to meet growing user demands.
*Bushnell, M., 2017, “Integration of QARTOD Tests Within a Sensor: Considerations for Sensor Manufacturers”. IEEE MTS OCEANS’17, Anchorage, AK; also Marine Technology Society Journal, 52(2): 13-17 (2018).
NOAA operates and maintains 3-D high-resolution hydrodynamic models that provide oceanographic circulation and water quality information for the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes waters. These models provide short-term forecast guidance of water levels, currents, temperature, and salinity. A critical and persistent performance issue for these systems is the ability to accurately forecast salinity and temperature, specifically vertical stratification and the thermocline.
The state of the science is such that hydrodynamic models can forecast water levels and currents to a high degree of accuracy sufficient for commercial applications, such as decision support and environmental forecasting tools for mariners. These tools enable mariners to optimally time their transits into and out of ports while also maximizing their loads. Salinity and temperature, however, remain underperforming parameters, especially when applied to decision support tools for other types of decision-making such as fisheries management (San Francisco Bay), water intake (Delaware River) and public health (Chesapeake Bay).
Proposed technologies in this subtopic might include ones that develop innovative hydrodynamic modeling solutions using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) or Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) capable of forecasting salinity with an accuracy of at least 3 psu and ideally 1 psu in U.S. coastal waters, and temperature with accuracy of at least 3 degrees and ideally 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Understanding the seafloor and associated habitat is critical for informed management of ocean resources. High resolution bathymetric maps, imagery and associated environmental data are fundamental datasets that contribute to this understanding. Current technological challenges are collecting high resolution mapping data in the deep ocean in cost effective way as well as the extraction of detailed ecological information in rough terrain such as rocks and corals and which can be used to detect changes in the environment.
Applications in this subtopic might include technologies or activities that expand NOAA’s seafloor mapping and habitat characterization capability by utilizing advances in both acoustic and optical sensors, systems, and computing to produce useable baseline maps and characterizations over large areas and in high resolution. While not required, areas of interest include not only new ideas for data collection but procedures for effective data analysis, management, and visualization; including formatting, quality control, display, accessibility, and transferability of data.
The last year has proven the importance of accurate and timely flood information across the entire continental US as well as Hawaii and Alaska. Forecasting for ungauged basins using various models and parameterization schemes, model initialization, forecast updating and estimation/expression of uncertainty for unusual or extreme storms continue to be challenges for mitigation of flood impacts. The goal here is to improve methods that the weather industry and community uses for flood forecasts and warnings and then establish ways to improve the delivery of both deterministic and probabilistic forecast products for a variety of customers.