CA Port Data Interoperability Grant Program: The proposal submission window closed Feb. 8. Awards will be announce Feb. 26

We passed a big milestone last week with the CA Port Data Interoperability Grant Program. After providing draft feedback on proposals (the first time in the nation that such a grant program has included a feedback stage), the proposal submission window closed on Feb 8th. We will officially announce the awards on Feb 26th.

The review process was designed to provide actionable feedback on high-level green/red flags, according to the scoring criteria developed in the initial phase of the project, in order to make the proposals stronger and more competitive.

The overarching goals of this part of the project are to:

  • Ensure that the applicants have well-scoped systems
  • Ensure that the state’s use of funds is optimized
  • Increase alignment between the state’s goals and the ports’ roadmaps

Potential red flags we were looking for during the review process include:

  • Suboptimal data engineering or infrastructure
  • Unrealistic timeline or milestones
  • Inappropriate assumptions in systems design

General high-level recommendations from the Technical Advisory Committee included:

Explanation of Software Development Tools / Infrastructure
The initial proposals spent significant effort explaining technical concepts, which was unnecessary because members of the TAC were selected for their deep knowledge of software engineering, data engineering, cloud infrastructure, and cybersecurity. Therefore, the applicants were encouraged to focus on how these concepts tie into each port’s operations, rather than focusing on what they are.

Success Criteria
We reviewed proposals to ensure they defined clear end-state application features and capabilities. When the program is finished and we assess the deployed project, it should be clear and measurable whether that project met the goals of the proposal. Knowing exactly what the finish line looks like increased our confidence in funding a solution.

Data Governance
The data governance sections needed to address how other parties, whose data may be a part of a solution, can feel safe and comfortable that their data is handled well. If those stakeholders (e.g. terminal operators) were to read this proposal, would they be comfortable contributing their data to the system given the procedures laid out?

Stakeholder Benefits
All proposals highlighted stakeholder benefits. However, the linkage between the data/system and those benefits was not always present. We asked applicants to explain how specific data availability will lead to specific changes in the stakeholder experience or process. Exactly who will gain which efficiencies and how?

ISC’s partners in the project: California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Momentum (, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, Port of Oakland, Port of San Diego, Port of Hueneme, Latacora, Data CRT, Cloud303, California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), and Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA).

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