We submitted our Project Execution Plan to NSF today. Fingers crossed! If the project is funded, the new research vessel will be built by All American Marine of Bellingham, Washington, about a 3-hour drive north of Seattle on Puget sound. Very pretty place.
Oh, my head. The closer we get to finishing the Project Execution Plan, the more questions come up! Who should be on the project org chart (and where)? Can we nail down a construction slot with the shipwright before the final contract is signed?
The shipwright has confirmed that the vessel we hope to build will be too tall to go overland and will have to go by sea, so we have to find a transport company. Do any of them have a schedule that will work for us? Has the price gone up since we got the most recent bid? Where do we find prevailing wage determinations for Washington State? Who conducts the sea trials for the vessel, and what exactly do they test? What’s the US Coast Guard’s role? Can we use the R/V Baldwin’s navionics, or do we have to replace them? Do we get a title? Does someone from Middlebury have to accompany the vessel to Port Everglades? Who will pilot it up the east coast? Are we insured for that trip?
…Is there any coffee left in that pot?
NSF has asked us to submit a Project Execution Plan for the proposal we submitted last year to build a new research vessel. At that time, they told us that we didn’t need to submit a plan, because we weren’t proposing to build a conventional bricks-and-mortar lab. Now they’ve changed their minds, which means that they are seriously considering funding this project! Thankfully, we’ve been exploring this project for so long that we’ve already figured out a lot of the details.
The National Science Foundation emailed me today to request a conference call this week about our ARI-R2 proposal! They want to include people from the Sponsored Research Office, the person who would be the project manager, and other administrators who might be needed if they decide to give us an award.
Funding for this project would mean the realization of a long-held dream. Tom (my husband, Tom Manley, who’s also on the Geology faculty at Middlebury) and I have been working for many years to find a way to replace the R/V Baldwin, the College’s current research vessel. But till now a solution hasn’t really been within reach. I wonder if we can hold our breath till the conference call?