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The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established a new Trust Fund in the Treasury of the United States, known as the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.  Eighty percent of the civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be deposited into the Trust Fund and invested.
The Department of the Treasury-administered Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program makes 2.5 percent of the civil penalties deposited into the Trust Fund plus 25 percent of interest earned on the Trust Fund available to the five Gulf Coast states.  The Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program is governed by the RESTORE Act final rule at 31 C.F.R. Part 34, effective on February 12, 2016 after publication on December 14, 2015.  Further, grant recipients under the RESTORE Act must comply with the guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget entitled, “Part 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” at 79 FR 75880 (December 19, 2014.)

Eligible Disciplines under the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program

Trust Fund amounts are available to establish one or more Centers of Excellence through competitive subawards to nongovernmental entities and consortia in the Gulf Coast Region, including institutions of higher education.  Funds may be used to establish Centers of Excellence and by those Centers of Excellence for science, technology, and monitoring in one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Coastal and deltaic sustainability, restoration, and protection, including solutions and technology that allow citizens to live in a safe and sustainable manner in a coastal delta in the Gulf Coast Region;
  • Coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring in the Gulf Coast Region;
  • Offshore energy development, including research and technology to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • Sustainable and resilient growth, economic and commercial development in the Gulf Coast Region; and
  • Comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico.

Eligible Applicants under the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program

The RESTORE Act specifies who may apply to receive funds under the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program, administered by the Department of the Treasury.  Treasury’s final rule, lists the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program eligible applicants for each state:

  • In Alabama, the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council or such administrative agent as it may designate;
  • In Florida, the Florida Institute of Oceanography;
  • In Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board of Louisiana through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana;
  • In Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality; and
  • In Texas, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of the Office of the Governor.

A private individual may choose to seek consideration of its research proposal by contacting nongovernmental entities, consortia, and public and private institutions of higher learning based on the proposed research geographic location in the Gulf Coast Region.

Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program Awards

​Eligible Entity ​Centers Date of Award​ ​Total Award Amount
​Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • ​Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence, a consortium led by Texas A&M University
  • Subsea Systems Institute, a consortium led by the University of Houston
06/09/2015​ ​$ 6,230,588
​Florida Institute of Oceanography
  • ​Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami
  • University of South Florida
  • University of West Florida
08/20/2015​ ​$ 4,707,093
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana
  • Water Institute of the Gulf

​$ 4,202,509

​Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
  • ​Mississippi Based Restore Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE), a consortium led by University of Southern Mississippi
​08/26/2016 ​$ 4,036,236​​


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Last Updated: 1/17/2018 3:57 PM

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