CA Port Data Interoperability Grant Program: The Proposal Window is Open, With a First-of-its-kind Review Process

ISC is proud to announce the release of the official proposal framework for the California Port Data Interoperability Grant Program. As of Dec. 12, the five containerized ports in California can submit grant proposals under the program, which is charged with awarding $27,000,000 in total funding for data system modernization and interoperability improvements.

The proposal window is open until Feb. 8, 2024, with a first-of-its-kind addition: the ports will have an opportunity to submit draft proposals (by Jan. 10) and receive critical feedback on their proposals prior to final submission. We borrowed this concept from the world of agile software development, but it’s relatively new to the grant landscape. Our hope in providing this mid-period feedback is to help make each grant application that much stronger and more likely to ultimately succeed. Our experience with data science and software development projects tells us that providing critical feedback early and often can be a key difference-maker in the eventual success of a large initiative.

We’ve been busy with other aspects of the project, too. On Dec. 21, we hosted a roundtable discussion with all five ports to share the common data gaps we’ve identified as a part of our outreach and fact-finding campaign. We also highlighted two conditions under which proposals will achieve greater interoperability, thereby receiving a higher score:

  • Proposals which leverage other funding opportunities to expand the projects where needed
  • Those that identify inter-port collaboration opportunities will achieve greater interoperability

The program’s grant administrator, Momentum, published an official program website where they’re tracking details about the project.

Part of what makes this project so fun and interesting for us is the unique set of interoperability puzzles that we get to engage with. Accommodating both off-the-shelf software, as well as large-scale complex custom software systems, is no small feat. Below the software layer is the state of existing systems: each port is coming into this process with different levels of technical sophistication and current data system-state. On top of the software layer are people and relationships; the ports have different ways of working with each other and serving their tenants. Each stakeholder in this project is a unique entity with its own set of requirements, capabilities, and challenges. Our job is to help create the roadmap that will allow these disparate systems to work together for the benefit of all.

A shout-out to our excellent partners in this project: GO-Biz, Momentum, Port of LA, Port of Long Beach, Port of Oakland, Port of San Diego, Port of Hueneme, Latacora, Data CRT, and Cloud303.

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