The National Science Foundation issued a dear colleague letter last week encouraging researchers to use the agency’s Rapid Response Grants mechanism to request funding for studies of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and its effects.

If you’re wondering just how rapid the Rapid Response grants are, take note: the agency announced a Rapid Response award to UC Santa Barbara just 31 days after the start of the spill to study the effects of dispersants on microbial degradation of oil.