The Jones Act and My Boat

I own a small trawler, 38’, that was built in Ontario, Canada. Its’documentation states, “coastal use only, no coastwise trade”. There is a waiver in MARAD called the Small Vessel Waiver Program. Basically, I would pay $500 and, if approved, it would allow me to carry up to 12 passengers, no cargo, commercial fishing, towing, etc. My MMC is 6 pack only, so no more than 6 passengers allowed. My question is this:
If I were to obtain a contract with a local university which offers a marine biology and research program, would this waiver cover the boat being used to carry people to and from research projects, possibly overnight projects? The passengers would probably have instruments and such along on the trip. Is this cargo, or would the USCG consider it cargo? Is this within the bounds of the waiver?
All advise appreciated. My goal is to retire and use the boat to help pay for itself.
Thanks in advance,

since your vessel is under 100grt then all you can get is a waiver to carry 6 passengers (over 100grt then 12 pax)

I cannot tell you if your passengers can do active research while aboard but I see not reason they couldn’t. any instruments they bring would not be cargo but baggage

c.captain: thanks for the response, I appreciate it.