/ Corporate / PHMSA Invests in Pipeline Transportation Solutions with Research Grants

PHMSA Invests in Pipeline Transportation Solutions with Research Grants

Matt Ball on April 16, 2015 - in Corporate, Pipelines

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is reaching out to universities for out-of-the-box pipeline transportation solutions and innovations through the Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP).

This year, they are awarding $2 million to students in colleges and universities nationwide– more than twice the amount awarded last year– to continue the efforts to keep up with our expanding energy sector.  Selected applicants can receive up to $300,000.

To date, we’ve awarded $1.5 million to nearly 80 students in research groups at the Colorado School of Mines, Columbia University, Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, Ohio University, State University of New York at Buffalo, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, University of Colorado at Denver, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and the University of Tulsa.

The graduate students participating in the CAAP thus far have been involved in 15 different research projects. These student researchers are equipped not only with education, but also with the curiosity and discipline it takes to innovate for a safer, more efficient pipeline transportation infrastructure in the future.

Their projects are diverse in scope, but all aim to address safety challenges like pipeline damage prevention, leak detection, and valve welding. In the long run, we plan to adopt the most-promising findings into our core research program for further investigation and collaboration with our pipeline safety partners.

But CAAP is more than just technology development grant opportunity; it’s also a chance for us to attract young engineers to the regulatory side of pipeline transportation before they graduate. Many people don’t know much about PHMSA, but our inspectors— who are technical experts and engineers —protect our country every day, making sure operators comply with federal safety regulations.


Competition for new engineers is stiff, but here at PHMSA, we’re up for the challenge. Right now, PHMSA is hiring engineers in several locations across the U.S.

You can view and subscribe to our job announcements by bookmarking our RSS feed here.

And if you know a student studying engineering or another technical field, tell her or him about CAAP, and PHMSA’s vital safety role. PHMSA is specifically seeking projects that address technical gaps in the following areas:

  • Preventing and Mitigating Pipeline Corrosion – What innovative new solutions can be proposed in chemical treatments or materials to prevent or manage on-shore hazardous liquid and/ or natural gas pipeline corrosion?
  • Developing Locatable Plastic Pipelines – Excavation damage to buried pipelines can be prevented when professionals detect and mark buried utility lines; however, many plastic pipes can go undetected with current above-ground technology.  Are there effective ways to add or insert electro/mechanical/metallic material to plastic pipes to make it locatable above-ground?  How would you innovate above-ground technology to detect plastic pipes?
  • Developing Inspection Tools to Quantify Pipe Strength and Toughness – How would you develop tools to accurately quantify pipeline strength and toughness which would allow pipeline operators to better understand and manage risks?

Proposals are evaluated on their scientific merit and quality as well as the feasibility of their management plans, work tasks, budgets and schedules.  In the long run, PHMSA intends to adopt the most promising findings into its core research program for further investigation.

For more information, potential applicants should read the full grant solicitation on Grants.gov.  Users can find the solicitation and announcement by searching with CFDA number 20.724 or Funding Opportunity Number DTPH5615SN0003.

All students interested in CAAP should register on PHMSA’s Research & Development website at least 48 hours prior to submitting proposals.  Official grant applications are due via Grants.gov on Monday, May 18, 2015. Applicants without a Grants.gov login access should request registration at least two weeks ahead of the grant deadline.

Congratulations to our newest grant recipients!


Project Title



Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln “Laser peening for preventing pipe corrosion and failure” $100,000 Ph.D. Candidate(s):Chenfei Zhang
Faculty: Yongfeng Lu, Ph.D.
Colorado School of Mines “Robust Anomaly Matching for ICIPs: Reducing Pipeline Assessment Uncertainty Through 4-Dimension Anomaly Detection and Characterization” $100,000 Ph.D. Candidate(s):
Craig Champlin
John P. H. Steele, Ph.D.
Iowa State University “Experimental Characterization and Monitoring of Early Stage Corrosion Degradation of Pipeline Steels” $100,000 Undergraduate(s):Andrew  Mettry
Abdullah Alshehri Denizhan Yavas
Pratyush  Mishra
Agnivo  Gosai
Ashraf Bastawros, Ph.D.


Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station “Improved Coatings for Pipelines” $100,000 Ph.D. Candidate(s):
Peng  Li
Hung-Jue Sue, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Denver “Optimized Diagnosis and Prognosis for Impingement Failure of PA and PE Piping Materials” $100,000 Ph.D. Candidate(s):Salem  Egdaire
Tishun  Peng
Xiaodong Shi
Sahil Jain
Rohan  Kota
Abdulmajeed Alenezi
Abdusamea Elfaid
Deepak Kumar
Mohand  Alzuhiri
Ngoc Duong
Yiming (Jerry) Deng, Ph.D.
University of Tulsa “Patch and Full-Encirclement Repairs for Through-Wall Defects” $99,887 Graduate(s):
Stephen Theisen
Michael Keller, Ph.D.
University of Tulsa “Wall Break-through in Composite Repaired Defects” $99,815 Graduate(s):
Omar Ramirez
Michael Keller, Ph.D.
Brenton McLaury, Ph.D.

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