The Water Institute of the Gulf Restore Act Center of Excellence

Restore Act Center of Excellence

The mission of the RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana (LA-COE) is to provide research directly relevant to implementation of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan by administering a competitive grants program and providing the appropriate coordination and oversight support to ensure that success metrics are tracked and achieved.

The Coastal Master Plan is a guiding document for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), developed using the best available science and engineering, that focuses efforts and guides the actions needed to sustain Louisiana’s coastal ecosystem, safeguard coastal populations, and protect vital economic and cultural resources. LA-COE is sponsored by CPRA and administered by the Water Institute of the Gulf, a not-for-profit, independent applied research institute dedicated to providing advanced understanding and technical expertise to support management of coastal, deltaic and water systems, within Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and around the world.

LA-COE Awards Second Round of Research Grants

LA-COE has announced the second round of two-year grants to fund research that directly supports planning and implementation of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. This year, eight grantees were selected with four of the awards supporting graduate students and four additional Research Awards led by Louisiana organizations or universities.

To learn more about RFP 2 and the grants that have been awarded, visit our Funded Research: RFP 2 page.

To learn more about projects funded by the LA-COE RFP 1, please visit out Funded Research: RFP 1 page.



The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is Louisiana’s single state entity with authority to articulate a clear statement of priorities and to focus development and implementation efforts to achieve comprehensive coastal protection for Louisiana. Its mandate is to develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan (the Coastal Master Plan). CPRA is LA-COE's project sponsor and contract manager with ultimate responsibility over LA-COE. CPRA works with LA-COE to develop the Standard Operating Procedures, Research Strategy, and Requests for Proposals, and is involved in aspects of proposal review and selection, depending on the specifics of any Request for Proposals issued.


LA-COE is a separate program within the Institute’s existing organizational structure. Key functions of LA-COE include: coordination of committees and working groups; support of the development of operational procedures, a Research Needs document to support implementation of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, and development and issuance of Requests for Proposals; oversight and administration of a competitive grants process; management of research grants; monitoring of research progress; establishment of and monitoring of adherence to appropriate data management practices; and reporting on progress using success metrics. Key personnel responsible for LA-COE activities and oversight are:

  • Melissa M. Baustian, Ph.D., coastal ecologist at the Institute, serves as director of LA-COE
  • Alyssa Dausman, Ph.D., Vice President for Science, serves as the chief scientist of LA-COE
  • Bingqing Liu, Ph.D., Postdoctoral researcher, serves as deputy director of LA-COE



The Executive Committee is comprised of senior research officials from Louisiana’s universities and research organizations, and is weighted towards those with a strong historic focus on coastal issues, including:

  • Louisiana State University – Samuel J. Bentley
  • Tulane University – Giovanni Piedimonte
  • Nichols State University – John Doucet
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Ramesh Kolluru
  • University of New Orleans – Matthew A Tarr
  • Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium – Craig McClain
  • Southeastern University – Robert Moreau
  • Southern University – Dr. Calvin Walker

External Review Board

The External Review Board is a group of independent scientists and engineers from universities located outside of Louisiana convened to provide technical feedback on the Research Needs document, to serve as a panel for proposal review, and to provide outside perspective on the program. These individuals are not permitted to apply for research funding.

Technical Working Group

The Technical Working Group is somewhat temporary in nature and is composed of subject matter experts from Universities within Louisiana and works with LA-COE staff to develop the Research Needs document. These individuals are allowed to compete for research funding.