National Maritime Enhancement Institutes (NMEIs)

The Maritime Administration has designated seven institutions throughout the U.S. as National Maritime Enhancement Institutes (NMEIs). The purpose of the NMEIs is to create a research-oriented atmosphere that lends itself to providing effective input for addressing maritime issues. The institutes selected as NMEIs are capable of researching inter-disciplinary, intermodal issues, and have access to a broad spectrum of resources enabling them to address National problems within the individual program areas.

  • Global Maritime and Transportation School - GMATS
  • Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute
  • Louisiana State University
  • Marshall University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Texas Transportation Institute
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Memphis

General Information

The Maritime Administration was authorized under Public Law 101-115 to designate National Maritime Enhancement Institutes at U.S. universities or university consortia with capabilities for providing leadership in the solution of national problems.

The U.S. maritime industries operate in international trade and are part of a broader intermodal transportation system. While many challenges are unique to the industry, they cannot be addressed in isolation. The NMEIs are capable of addressing inter-disciplinary, intermodal problems, and have access to a broad spectrum of resources enabling them to address problems within the individual program areas.

The full range of activities for an Institute was defined by the authorizing legislation. Depending upon their specific capabilities, each NMEI was designated for a "program area" encompassing part or all of the activities listed below.

  1. Conducting research concerning methods for improving the performance of maritime industries;
  2. Enhancing the competitiveness of domestic maritime industries in international trade;
  3. Forecasting trends in maritime trade;
  4. Assessing technological advancements;
  5. Developing management initiative and training;
  6. Analyzing economic and operational impacts of regulatory policies and international negotiations or agreements pending before international bodies;
  7. Assessing the compatibility of domestic maritime infrastructure systems with overseas transport systems;
  8. Fostering innovations in maritime transportation pricing; and
  9. Improving maritime economics and finance.

NMEI Program Areas and Contact Information

Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute
Louisiana State University
Marshall University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Texas Transportation Institute
University of California at Berkeley
University of Memphis
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

See also: University of Rhode Island. Although this is not a NMEI, it is designated a University Transportation Center and the research makes special reference to the marine environment.

Call for Proposals and How to Become a NMEI

The Maritime Administration announces that it is considering applications from additional organizations at U.S. universities for designation as National Maritime Enhancement Institutes (NMEI). Four Institutes were designated in FY 1990 and have contributed to involving the higher educational process in providing expertise and leadership in applying "leading edge" technology and reasoned innovative approaches to addressing important issues in maritime transportation. In keeping with the globalization of maritime and other industries, the reduction in Federal Government resources and the need to involve Government, industry, and other entities on local and other levels, additional schools are encouraged to apply to become Institutes and to help provide a needed focus on the maritime area where many changes are happening and informed guidance, leadership, and development are needed.

While no Government research funding is anticipated to be available in the near term for helping to support projects at the Institutes, it is hoped that encouragement of activities in collaboration with various industry sources and from other organizations may result in industry support to involve the Institutes and with them, the educational process in helping to address some of the many critical issues facing maritime transportation today.

Criteria for Designation

The criteria for acceptance and designation of a university/university consortia as an Institute are set forth in two parts and are evaluated by two sets of equally weighted criteria. The first part looks at general acceptability. This part focuses on organizational capabilities and appropriateness. The second part looks at the proposed program areas reviewing the strength of the unique specialization claimed and the organization’s ability to be successful in initiating, obtaining matching support and accomplishing efforts in these areas. Each new proposal to become an Institute will also need to be reviewed in terms of the strengths that it brings to serving the industry and its specialization area and ability to complement the other Institutes.

Selection designation as an Institute is a two-part process. Proposals for designation as an Institute are first evaluated by two sets of equally weighted criteria (A and B) and must be judged acceptable in both to qualify. Second, a balance of geographic location and area of specialty will also be considered before a final decision is made regarding the designation of Institutes.

Proposers cannot presume that their reputation, background, experience or capabilities are known by the reviewers. All claims, particularly with regard to subjective elements such as national or international reputation, unique capabilities, etc. should be substantiated. Documentation should be concise and relevant.

A. Acceptability of the Organization as an Institute.

1. Degree to which the five general criteria are met. These criteria are:

(1) the demonstrated research and extension resources available to the Institute for carrying out the proposed activities;

(2) the capability of the Institute to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate problems of the domestic maritime industry;

(3) the existence of an established program which encompasses research and training directed to enhancing maritime industries;

(4) the demonstrated ability to assemble and evaluate pertinent information from national and international sources and to disseminate results of maritime industry research and educational programs through a continuing education program; and

(5) the qualifications as a nonprofit institution of higher learning.

2. Resource support from a University Transportation Center or similar resource is encouraged to provide a depth of intermodal capabilities.

B. Acceptability of Enhancement Institute Program Area. These evaluation criteria are of equal importance. Proposals will be reviewed for:

1. Appropriate program area breadth for designation as a National Maritime Enhancement Institute.

2. Management and implementation of the Institute including relationships with the Center and others who might contribute expertise to projects in the proposed program area. All proposals must address general Institute management and implementation.

3. Commitment of the university including the ability to obtain the required 50% cost sharing. All proposals for Institute designation must demonstrate an ability to obtain such cost sharing in its proposed program area.

4. Institute staffing. Proposals must address general capabilities to satisfy the project staffing requirements as they might apply to future projects in the proposed program area. Experience, background and reputation of the university and investigators will be considered. Breadth of expertise available for research support from the Center or other parts of the Institute organization will also be considered. Maritime experience is essential.

5. Experience of the faculty and administrators with near-term, problem-related research, and the university's on-going relationship with that segment of the industry which can be considered the "user" of the technology to be developed.

Proposal Organization

Proposals can be organized in any manner desired but should present materials providing complete justification under the following categories to substantiate the qualifications in meeting the criteria stated above:

  • Institute’s specialized unique program areas
  • Immediate institute staffing
  • Extended institute staffing and relationships
  • Meeting of criteria for designation as an Institute
  • Established programs and reputation
  • Proposer's status as a nonprofit institution of higher learning
  • Continuing operation and national relationships with industry

Proposers should not assume the reviewers have additional knowledge about various capabilities or relationships. Submittal of supplementary material felt important is encouraged.

Authorizing Legislation

Section 8 of Public Law 101-115 (103 Stat. 694, approved October 13, 1989), as amended by section 702 of Public Law 101- 595, approved November 16, 1990 (104 Stat. 2994) and by section 47 of Public Law 102-241, approved December 19, 1991 (105 Stat. 2208) provides as follows:

SEC. 8. (a) The Secretary of Transportation may designate National Maritime Enhancement Institutes.

  1. Activities undertaken by such an Institute may include
     
    • conducting research concerning methods for improving the performance of maritime industries;
    • enhancing the competitiveness of domestic maritime industries in international trade;
    • forecasting trends in maritime trade;
    • assessing technological advancements;
    • developing management initiatives and training;
    • analyzing economic and operational impacts of regulatory policies and international negotiations or agreements pending before international bodies;
    • assessing the compatibility of domestic maritime infrastructure systems with overseas transport system;
    • fostering innovations in maritime transportation pricing;
    • improving maritime economics and finance.                                                                                                                             
  2. An institution seeking designation as a National Maritime Enhancement Institute shall submit an application under regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

  3. The Secretary shall designate an Institute under this section on the basis of the following criteria:

    • the demonstrated research and extension resources available to the designee for carrying out activities specified;
    • the capability of the designee to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate problems of the domestic maritime industry;
    • the existence of an established program of the designee encompassing research and training directed to enhancing maritime industries;
    • the demonstrated ability of the designee to assemble and evaluate pertinent information from national and international sources and to disseminate results of maritime industry research and educational programs through a continuing education program; and
    • the qualification of the designee as a nonprofit institution of higher learning.

  4. The Secretary may make awards on an equal matching basis to an NMEI from amounts appropriated. The aggregate annual amount of the Federal share of the awards by the Secretary shall not exceed $500,000.

 

Contacts

For information on the NMEI program, contact:

Christopher McMahon
Deputy Associate Administrator for
Environment and Compliance
Telephone: 202-366-7018
Email: chris.mcmahon@dot.gov

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