In a growing trend, PHMSA has recently awarded substantive grants for pipeline safety research to numerous universities, consultants, and local pipeline safety groups.  Collectively, these grants highlight the Agency’s increased focus on improved technologies for detecting pipeline defects, pipeline construction quality assurance and quality control, and public awareness education and training.

On September 25, 2013, the Agency awarded almost $800,000 in grants, distributed among eight universities to fund research the corrosion, defect detection, load modeling; and modeling anomalies and repairs for corroded pipe.  The initiative is part of PHMSA’s new Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP), intended to encourage research and to attract graduate students to the field of pipeline safety.  On October 24, 2012, the Agency announced nearly $940,000 in Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) to 21 local governments and non-profit organizations to develop custom pipeline safety education programs, including first responder training and data gathering initiatives.

In addition to the CAAP and TAG grants, other recent PHMSA research and development (R&D) funding includes (1) $800,000 to the Pipeline Research Council International, to review current ILI methods for ERW pipe; and (2) $300,000 to consulting firm DNV (Det Norske Veritas) to research improving Quality Management Systems for pipeline construction activities.

R&D funding during FY 2013 has totaled over $6.5 million, which represents a significant increase over FY 2012, when less than $2 million in R&D grant projects were awarded.  For more information, see PHMSA’s press release on the CAAP award recipients and associated research proposals, and the PHMSA TAG grants, and PHMSA’s Research and Development website.