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Funding Opportunity and Award Description

The Mineral Resources Program (MRP) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is offering a grant and/or cooperative agreement opportunity, called the Mineral Resources External Research Program (MRERP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. This opportunity is extended to universities, State agencies, Tribal governments or organizations, and industry or other private sector organizations that have the ability to conduct research in topics related to nonfuel mineral resources. For FY 2011 this has been expanded to include uranium.

The total amount of funding available for the FY 2011 MRERP is expected to be $255,000. As of the posting date of this announcement the Federal appropriations process for FY 2011 was not complete. If the available funding remains $255,000, the MRP anticipates making awards in FY 2011 for 3 to 5 proposals submitted under this program announcement, however, individual proposals are not restricted to a set level of funding

The FY 2011 MRERP application window was open from August 16 to September 27, 2010.

Applicant Eligibility

Applications will be accepted from any individual who has the ability to conduct research consistent with the Mineral Resources Program goals (see Research Topic Eligibility section below) and who is not employed by a U.S. federal agency. Applicants need not be U.S. citizens and can be affiliated (but are not required to be affiliated) with universities, State agencies, Tribal governments or organizations, industry, or other private sector groups.

Research Topic Eligibility

All proposals must meet two primary criteria to qualify for funding consideration.

Criterion 1: The proposed work must be research; a systematic inquiry to generate new knowledge about a subject of investigation, through a process of interpretation. Data collection and compilation are important early steps in a research project, but do not, alone, constitute research.

Criterion 2: The proposed research must address one of the long-term goals of the Program, as defined in the MRP strategic plan [PDF file, 3 MB]. These are:

  • Long-term goal 1: Ensure availability of up-to-date quantitative assessments of potential for undiscovered mineral deposits
  • Long-term goal 2: Ensure availability of up-to-date geoenvironmental assessments of priority Federal lands
  • Long-term goal 3: Ensure availability of reliable geologic, geochemical, geophysical, and mineral locality data for the United States
  • Long-term goal 4: Ensure availability of long-term data sets describing mineral production and consumption

Note that evaluation criteria reward proposals that address one or more of the priority research topics outlined below.

Priority Research Topics

The USGS MRP conducts research to reduce the uncertainty in nonfuel mineral resource and mineral environmental assessments. As assessments are dynamic, so must be the research that supports them. Each year the MRERP designates research topics as priority for support. As the MRP prepares to embark on a new national mineral resource assessment of the United States in 2012, work is underway to update mineral deposit and mineral environmental models and to improve techniques of assessment for concealed mineral resources.

To support this on-going effort, the FY 2011 MRERP will solicit research proposals that

  1. will improve our assessment for concealed mineral resources in general,
  2. will help define limits of layered and sediment-hosted stratiform deposits for the purpose of constructing global grade and tonnage models for these types of deposits,
  3. develop advanced models and methods that can be used to reduce uncertainties and risks in probabilistic resource assessments, or
  4. will contribute to accurate and comprehensive mineral deposit or mineral environmental models for deposit types, known or expected to be found in the United States, that are important sources of the following commodities (listed in alphabetical order):
    • iron
    • lithium
    • manganese
    • phosphate
    • titanium and TiO2
    • uranium

The MRP intends to include a number of other commodities, not listed above, in the new national mineral resource assessment, but the MRERP is soliciting research proposals only related to updating models for listed commodities at this time. The MRP strongly encourages proposals addressing items 2 and 3 above, as these are research topics of a frontier nature that are lacking attention. Research on these topics is particularly important to improving the assessment for undiscovered mineral resources.

For further information contact

The use of firm, trade, and brand names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. government.

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