Research & Development: University Partnerships

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Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP)

In 2013, PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety Research Program implemented a new program entitled CAAP breathing further innovation into pipeline safety research. CAAP targets University students for the future pipeline safety workforce. PHMSA’s initial vision for this program was to select 5 or more awards annually utilizing $100,000 PHMSA plus a 30% cost sharing by our university partners per project. With congressional assistance, PHMSA then revised this strategy in 2015 in order to award up to $2 million a year in this program which corresponds to $300,000 per project at a university cost sharing level of 20% per project. These are Cooperative Agreements that are competitively selected and can run up to 36 months in duration. However, the number of awards are dependent upon quality of submissions and budget limitations. These initiatives are intended to research a wide set of solutions for many known pipeline integrity challenges.

The CAAP is intended to spur innovation through enabling an academic research focus on high risk and high pay-off solutions for wide ranging pipeline safety challenges. The CAAP is different in focus, execution and reporting than PHMSA’s core program on Pipeline Safety Research. It is intended to potentially deliver desired solutions that can be a “handed-off” to further investigations in CAAP or in PHMSA’s core research program that employs partnerships with a variety of public/private organizations. One goal in this strategy would be to validate proof of concept of a thesis or theory potentially all the way to commercial penetration into the market.

Another goal for CAAP is to expose graduate and PhD research students to subject matter common to pipeline safety challenges for illustrating how their engineering or technical discipline is highly desired and needed in the pipeline field. The pipeline industry and federal/state regulators are all experiencing low numbers of entry level applications to positions that are engineering or technically focused. Public conferences, meetings and journals have identified similar shortfalls. The ultimate benefits from this goal would be to reflect new talent in all aspects of pipelining similar to how programs at other Federal Agencies and non-profit organizations have provided talent to other industries over time.

Summary De-Brief Presentation: Submitting Superior CAAP Applications

CAAP Summary Totals
Annual Announcement # Awards PHMSA Resource Sharing # HS Students # U-Grad Students # Grad Students # PhD Students Total # Students # Interns (a) # Career
Employed (b)
CAAP-1-13 8 $814K $353K 1 23 19 16 59 3 4
CAAP-2-14 7 $719K $391K   4 14 10 28 1 3
CAAP-3-15 11 $2,976K $888K   16 21 24 61 8 5
CAAP-4-16 3 $909K $368K 5 4 7 4 20    
CAAP-5-18 13 $3,855K $1,028K   5 1 11 17    
Grand Totals:42 $9,274K $3,031K 6 52 62 65 185 12 12
Footnotes:
(a) Denotes the number of internships offered by engineering firms, research organizations, government agencies or pipeline operators to students involved with CAAP research projects.
(b) Denotes the number of full time career employment/jobs offered by engineering firms, research organizations, government agencies or pipeline operators to students involved with CAAP research projects.