2022 Graduate Research Fellowship - Request for Applications

colorful header with images of marine and coastal-related science
Application Deadline: June 08, 2021

*Update February 12, 2021: Indirect costs are not allowable for either the fellowship or for any costs associated with the fellowship including waived indirect costs as match.

California Sea Grant is pleased to announce the availability of Graduate Research Fellowships for the 2022 - 2024 academic years. Contingent upon available federal funding, the fellowships are available for one or two years for full-time Masters and Ph.D students at any California academic institution who are engaged in coastal and marine research relevant to California. Each fellowship provides an award of up to $40,000 per year to support student academic expenses, and professional development opportunities during the fellowship period focused on science communication, science-to-management processes, outreach, and other California and National Sea Grant mission priorities.

The start date for the fellowships is February 1, 2022. California Sea Grant expects to fund up to 10 fellowships from this call. For this solicitation, fellowship research projects are required to provide 25% in matching funds from non federal sources. 

California Sea Grant is accepting pre-proposals until 5:00 p.m. PST on March 9, 2021. Full proposals will be due 5:00 p.m. PST on June 8, 2021 via eSeaGrant. Only applicants who have submitted a pre-proposal may submit a full proposal. 

Successful Sea Grant projects involve both a substantial intellectual question and the promise of useful applications to a real-world problem. California Sea Grant encourages projects that are likely to yield measurable impacts to the local economy, community, and environment. To that end, this year each proposal must identify and collaborate with a community mentor (defined below). These interactions will help ensure that California Sea Grant funded research results are useful to and used by stakeholders, and afford access to experienced professionals who can provide reiterating feedback to the project. The process also will help develop practical results for the project in science communication, collaboration, transferring science to management, and expand exposure to outside users.

One of the principal goals of California Sea Grant is the application of project results for the benefit of coastal stakeholders; yet, without adequate and early attention to the outreach component of funded projects, research results and outcomes may be of limited value, or completely unknown to stakeholders. A relatively detailed strategy for outreach and engagement at the proposal stage helps to identify project audiences, outcomes, and evaluation methods. This essential information ensures that results meet stakeholder needs and that stakeholders receive pertinent information that might be applied in their operations. 

This Request for Applications (RFA) focuses on proposals that respond to and target objectives specific to the Healthy Coastal Ecosystems (HCE), Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies (RCCE), and Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA) (*please note that at this time we will not be accepting projects related to aquaculture) focus areas of our strategic plan. Please see our updated Strategic Plan for complete information on strategies and desired outcomes of California Sea Grant’s Strategic Focus Areas.

California Sea Grant

California Sea Grant’s mission is to provide integrated research, extension, outreach, and education to help Californians balance diverse interests that intersect with the coastal and marine environments, and adapt to changing conditions and needs. We accomplish this by collaborating with a range of local, state, regional, national, and international partners to further the generation and application of relevant scientific knowledge.

The National Sea Grant College Program is a partnership between the nation’s universities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, and is authorized by the United States Congress. California Sea Grant is part of a national network of 34 university-based programs, the National Sea Grant Law Center and the National Sea Grant Library. The network, in cooperation with federal and state agencies, and/or marine industries, partners with over 300 universities and colleges.

Resources Agency Sea Grant Advisory Panel (RASGAP) 

This panel is codified in California state law with the purpose of advising and assisting California Sea Grant (as well as the USC Sea Grant program). Input from RASGAP is directed toward identifying and meeting priorities for funding according to the needs identified by state resource protection and management agencies. The RASGAP panel reviews research proposals and provides a resource protection- and management-relevant view of proposal value.


Webinar
Timeline
Eligibility
Award Information
Fellowship Overview
Electronic Sumbission
Application Components
Review Process
Evaluation Criteria
Selection Criteria
Conditions of Award
Contacts


Webinar

California Sea Grant hosted an informational webinar to answer questions about the proposal process on February 23, 2021 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm PST.

You can view the recording here.

 

Timeline

  • February 2, 2021 - RFA announced
  • February 23, 2021 - Informational webinar and Q&A
  • March 9, 2021 by 5:00 pm PST - Pre-proposals due
  • Early - mid April, 2021 - Technical panel and RASGAP reviews of pre-proposals
  • Late April, 2021 - Feedback on pre-proposals sent back to applicants
  • June 8, 2021 by 5:00 pm PST - Full proposals due
  • June-August, 2021 - Technical panel and RASGAP review of full proposals
  • Late August, 2021 - Applicants notified of recommendations to fund projects
  • On/after February 1, 2022 - Projects begin

Eligibility

Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time graduate or professional degree program at a California academic institution prior to the award of the fellowship, beginning no later than Fall 2022 (provisional acceptances are allowed, however acceptances will need to be confirmed before any award can be made). Prospective Masters and pre-doctoral fellows must, at the time of application, be in or have recently been admitted to a Masters or Ph.D. degree program at a California academic institution in natural resources or environmental sciences, environmental policy and management, engineering, social sciences, or coastal, aquatic or related sciences. Candidates must remain associated with an accredited California institution of higher learning for the duration of the award.

To be eligible, the applicant must include a research mentor and a community mentor. The research mentor (defined below) typically will be the student’s academic advisor. During the fellowship, the fellow, community mentor(s) (more than one is acceptable), and research mentor(s) will collaborate on the approved project, and together they will provide California Sea Grant with updates on progress and drafts of outreach materials, and manuscripts intended for publication.

Sea Grant champions diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by recruiting, retaining and preparing a diverse workforce, and proactively engaging and serving the diverse populations of coastal communities. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking. We encourage applicants of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, income, and socioeconomic status types.

Award Information

The fellowship provides an award of up to $40,000 per year. The start date for fellowships is February 1, 2022. California Sea Grant expects to fund up to 10 fellowships.

The fellowship will provide up to two years of support based on scope/type of projects and contingent upon the availability of funds, for both Masters and Ph.D. students, in the form of a grant/award that includes funds for a stipend and research-related expenses. One-year fellowship applications as well as funding requests for less than $40,000/year are also encouraged. The fellow’s stipend and research related expenses will be administered by the university, college, or research institution with which the fellow and research mentor are affiliated.

The amount requested for a graduate stipend must conform to your institution’s normal stipend for a half-time graduate student at his/her level of experience; however, in any case no more than $34,000 in stipend can be requested. Also, if applicable, indicate expected costs for expendable supplies, publication costs, and travel.

For this solicitation, California Sea Grant requires a 25% funding match (i.e., application budgets must show $1 of match for every $4 of Sea Grant funding requested). Only non-federal funds may be committed as a matching contribution. Pursuant to federal regulation (15 C.F.R. § 917.11), 
indirect costs are not allowable for either the fellowship or for any costs associated with the fellowship including waived indirect costs as match.

The portion of the award provided to each fellow for tuition (unless waived), health insurance, and other university fees will be determined by each university in accordance with its guidelines. The portion of the award for living expenses will be distributed as a monthly stipend by the fellow’s academic or research institution affiliated.

Continued support after the first year will be contingent on satisfactory performance of the fellow and on the availability of funds.

Fellowship Overview

The purpose of the California Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship is to support exceptional graduate students engaged in education and research that furthers the strategic goals of California Sea Grant. The fellowship provides hands-on experience in translating research results to coastal and marine stakeholders. Selected fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in select professional development opportunities offered by California Sea Grant.

California Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellows address issues relevant to California communities, and of importance to coastal and marine science – broadly defined (e.g., natural and social sciences, engineering and design, policy and legal analysis). In addition to their primary academic advisor (hereafter “research mentor”), fellows will identify and work with a professional end user, or “community mentor”. These interactions will help ensure that fellows’ research results are useful to and used by stakeholders, and afford access to experienced professionals who can provide career advice. The process also will help fellows develop practical skills in science communication, collaboration, transferring science to management, and exposure to other critical professional skills.

Research Mentors

Research mentors are typically the academic advisor and must be scientists actively engaged in environmental science, social science, policy, or economics as the primary focus of their position, with a publication record in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Research mentors must be permitted by their institution to serve as principal investigators on grants. The research mentor must be from the academic institution at which the fellow is enrolled. Fellowship applicants must include a letter of commitment from the research mentor they plan to work with on the proposed effort.

Community Mentors

In addition to working with a research mentor(s), fellows are required to collaborate with at least one community mentor familiar with existing data and/or resource issues central to the proposed research. Community mentors should be individuals whose work requires the application of scientific information, particularly the information, data, and findings that will result from the fellow’s research project. Community mentors may be agency scientists (who are interested in analyzing, interpreting and/or expanding data not yet published in peer reviewed journals), restoration program managers, engineers or scientific/technical staff in environmental or other stakeholder organizations. In many cases, people involved in generating and/or providing existing data will be the most appropriate community mentors.

Given the diversity of projects typically funded, California Sea Grant recognizes that the community mentor collaboration in the project may look different from one project to the next. Each should be tailored to the specific project proposed. Community mentors may include, but are not limited to: Local, regional, state, and federal agencies; Tribal governments; Non-governmental organizations; Marine and coastal industry representatives; Community based organizations.

The type of outreach and the role of the mentor will be determined and defined by the student and their research and community mentors. The outreach activities should complement the proposed research and student’s interests. Fellows will work closely with community mentors, sharing ideas and progress throughout the project.

Applicants must include a corresponding letter of commitment from that community mentor. The apparent or demonstrated depth of proposed collaboration with the community mentor(s) is an important factor in the selection process and applicants are encouraged to enlist the community mentor during the pre-proposal development stage.

If you have questions regarding the fellows-mentor relationships or would like to discuss ideas for potential mentors, please contact Catherine Courtier, California Sea Grant Research Coordinator at sgproposal@ucsd.edu.

The goals of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program are to:

  1. Engage highly qualified scientific talent to help advance the state of scientific knowledge;
  2. Provide support for the training and development of scientists able to work in multidisciplinary, field-oriented and/or modeling-based applied research intended to support resource management;
  3. Promote scientific partnerships across agencies, research institutions, and non-profit organizations; and
  4. Invest in people -- particularly the graduate and post-graduate fellows and alumni, who will become future coastal and marine science, policy and management leaders -- and provide them with the knowledge and expertise to thrive now and in the future.

Priority Proposal Criteria

While the following is not an extensive list of what should be contained in a full proposal, we will give preference to proposals that can demonstrate one or more of the following criteria:

  • Should be likely to attract additional support for research and/or outreach on the problem, which is not likely to occur through other programs and mechanisms.
  • Should be sufficiently specific to promise significant accomplishment within the funding timeframe.
  • Should  be effectively organized and conducted on a regional level, ensuring coordinated and complementary contributions by all participants.
  • Should contain a well-considered and appropriate outreach and engagament plan with defined objectives and deliverables, which is an essential part of any California Sea Grant project.

Applicants must propose to conduct research that addresses objectives of the HCE, RCCE, and *SFA Focus Area of the strategic plan. 

*Please note that at this time we will not be accepting projects related to aquaculture

Applicants are strongly encouraged to look at California Sea Grant’s full strategic plan and RASGAP research priorities, and then focus on the specific issue(s) of interest to them. 

RASGAP Agency Research Priorities 

As identified above, the RASGAP panel reviews research proposals and provides a resource protection- and management-relevant view of proposal value. We have compiled research priorities from participating member agencies to provide prospective applicants management relevant research priorities to consider here 

Electronic Submission

  • Pre-proposals should be submitted in eSeaGrant by 5:00pm PST on March 9, 2021.
  • Full proposals are required to be submitted using eSeaGrant by 5:00pm PST on June 8, 2021

Apply Now!

*Both pre-proposals and full proposals must be submitted via eSeaGrant

We use the eSeagrant online system for submission of proposals. If applicants have not registered in eSeaGrant, you will need to register via the online submission “portal”.

Once you login, you can change your password if you would like. To change your password, click on your name in the upper-right corner of the screen, and select “My Profile”.

To start a proposal, or revisit/edit an existing proposal, click on “RFP (Request for Proposals)” on the banner head. Then click on “Add Proposal” under “2022 Graduate Research Fellowship - pre-proposal”. Only applicants who have submitted a pre-proposal may submit a full proposal, and will receive an invitation to eSeaGrant for their full proposals. 

In order to submit a proposal, you must work down the sequence of sections (“Start Here” through “Submission Preview”) listed on the left side of the proposal window. eSeaGrant provides sections to upload signed (endorsed) cover pages, CVs, project narratives, budgets and budget justifications,  community stakeholders, engagement strategies, data management plans, environmental compliance forms, current and pending support, matching funds forms, and optional support letters. Some of these pages may require additional calculations and pop-up pages, so please allow your browser to display pop-up windows and enable Javascript. Files to upload must be converted to PDFs before uploading to eSeaGrant . Multiple documents must be consolidated into one PDF for each section (except for CVs).

We recommend that eSeaGrant users access the system, make an account, review submission requirements within it, and start to upload necessary documents well in advance of the submission deadline. This will give users the opportunity to obtain any necessary clarification or assistance before the deadline. The submission deadline will not be extended.

Application Components

Adherence to the format requirements is mandatory, and ensures fairness across all applications. Applications not meeting the format requirements may be rejected without review. Several application elements have specific page limits and excess pages will not be reviewed. Only the requested materials should be submitted; additional documents (e.g., appendices, letters of support, etc.) will not be reviewed. Listed below are the requirements for a complete application package.

Pre-proposal

Pre-proposals are due in eSeaGrant by 5:00 pm PST March 9, 2021.  

A complete pre-proposal must include the following:

  1. Name of applicant, affiliation, and contact information 
  2. Title of project
  3. Project narrative - (maximum 4 pages not including figures, tables and references) – Comprised of a brief project summary inclusive of  project goals or objectives, a background justifying the project, project methods and likely outcomes (to science, regulators or the general public), and engagement strategies. 
  4. CVs - CVs of applicant, research mentor, and community mentor (if identified at this stage) (maximum of 2 pages per person)
  5. Name(s) of research and community mentor(s)
  6. Statement of interest from community mentor - A general letter of interest from a community mentor will be accepted but is optional at the pre-proposal stage
    • If no engagement has yet occurred with the potential community mentor(s), please indicate potential members of interest in the previous eSeaGrant section
  7. Permits- If federal or state permits are required, we ask that this be stated. Ensuring that all permits are properly obtained before research commences is the responsibility of the applicant.
  8. Approximate funding to be requested
  9. Diversity questionnaire (optional)

Pre-proposals will be reviewed by an outside panel of technical experts and, separately by RASGAP for state management relevance. RASGAP input is then considered during the pre-proposal technical panel review and the panel’s determination of proposals to be encouraged for full proposal development. Pre-proposals are evaluated using the same criteria as full proposals, which can be found below.

Prospective investigators who submit pre-proposals that are deemed promising and most likely to contribute to California Sea Grant’s focus area objectives will be encouraged to submit full proposals. The same criteria are used to evaluate pre-proposals and full proposals and can be found below.

Emails to applicants will be sent out no later than the end of April to encourage or discourage a full proposal. However, late pre-proposals will not be considered and any associated full applications will not be accepted.

Full Proposal

*Note: Only those who submitted a pre-proposal are eligible to submit a full proposal regardless of the recommendation made by the program.

A complete full proposal must include the following:

  1. Title page - The cover page provides basic summary information regarding the project and identifies which goal(s) and objective(s) of the strategic plan the project addresses. Proposers should download and use the fillable Excel spreadsheet found in the eSeaGrant application portal to enter this information and then upload it as a PDF in. 
    • *Please provide all requested information and obtain the required signatures. If you are applying from an academic institution, send your original proposal to your campus research office for local campus approval. 
  2. Project Summary - The Project Summary is fillable on-line in eSeaGrant. Proposers will need to prepare separate sections for objectives, methodology and rationale to complete the project summary form. The project summary presents a concise description of the proposed research in a form useful to a variety of readers not requiring detailed information. Instructions are available in eSeaGrant that should help applicants to accurately complete the form. Please follow them carefully - the project summary is the most widely consulted description of your project. 
  3. CVs and Additional Personnel
    • CVs (maximum 2 pages for each person) of all key personnel (fellowship candidate, research mentor(s), and community mentor(s)) must be included in the submission. Each prospective fellow and member of the team should have a CV associated with it.
    • Listing “Additional Personnel” is optional and this section is to be used at your discretion. You might include all additional personnel who are NOT listed as investigators (e.g. Postdoc, key graduate student). If there are additional personnel who are not the prospective fellow or community or research mentors who are a member of the team should attach their CV’s to the Project Narrative file. These will not count toward the 12-page limit.
    • Note: If a CV that is longer than 2 pages is submitted, Sea Grant will provide reviewers only with the first 2 pages of CV for each team member.
  4. Project Narrative - The project narrative format and contents may vary; however, proposals should include the information listed below. The project narrative MUST not exceed 12 pages (INCLUDING, Project Summary, Introduction, Objectives, Approach, Outcomes and Deliverables, illustrations, charts, tables, and figures). Proposals exceeding this size limit will not be reviewed. 
    • Introduction and Background – Provide the rationale for your project (a well-defined problem or important opportunity). Show a clear relationship between the problem statement and the project objectives. Merit, rationale, innovativeness and utilization for the research proposed are criteria by which proposals are evaluated. Thus, a clear, concise statement of the “real world” need for your research (rationale), a description of who might use the results and how they might use them (utilization) should be addressed. The project should be solution based.
    • Objectives – In number or “bullet” format, list the Objectives or Goals of the research program.
    • Approach (Plan of Work) – Present the scientific/technical approach, experiments, procedures, timeline, etc. Identify and discuss any new approaches (innovativeness) to solving problems and exploiting opportunities in resource management or development, including public outreach. Please make clear what other sources of support (fiscal, personnel or logistical), if any, will be used to help support the work proposed. A project timeline in a chart or table format depicting deliverables and milestones is required.
    • Outcomes and Deliverables – Project outcomes should be clearly related to the project objectives and should be briefly described. Any planned interactions with relevant management personnel should be described. Within the design of the project, applicants should identify which group(s) of stakeholders will benefit from the work performed. Each proposal should clearly describe how users of information will be engaged before work begins, during the project, and how results will be disseminated to  the targeted stakeholder.
    • Permits - If permits are required, we ask that this be stated in the proposal text. Ensuring that all permits are properly obtained before research commences is the responsibility of the applicant. If your project is selected for funding we ask that you email a copy of your permit, or a copy of your application for said permit to sgproposal@ucsd.edu.
    • References – List all included references alphabetically. The list of References does NOT  count toward the 12-page limit of the narrative but must be included in the narrative pdf file. 
  5. Community Mentor Plan - The plan should be developed with your mentors to identify professional mentoring and outreach objectives/activities to be conducted during the fellowship. The plan should address many of the questions below and indicate who your target audience(s) is for your proposed activities. (not to exceed two pages)
    • What do you hope to gain professionally and academically from the specific outreach activities proposed in the outreach plan? 
    • What are the connections between your research and the needs/interests of an end-user, and how will you make these connections happen? 
    • What deliverables will you produce once the research is completed, what deliverables may be planned after the fellowship, and why are these the best option for your target audience(s)? 
    • How will you and the mentor interact to achieve these goals (e.g., frequency, timeline, means of communication, topics, etc.)? 
  6. Outreach and Engagement Plan - (no more than 2 pages)
    • The engagement strategy is a document that describes how the proposed project and project team will interact with the principle identified community stakeholder, as well as any other relevant stakeholder groups, throughout the project. The engagement strategy should include:
      • Implication, practical application, and direct link of proposed research to managers, stakeholders, and/or other users
      • General communication plan for project team throughout the project, including project team and broader community planned outreach and engagement activities associated with the proposed project
      • Clearly described roles and responsibilities for performing engagement activities throughout the project
      • How any project deliverables will be communicated, disseminated, integrated, and/or distributed to potential end users beyond the project team
      • Possible interaction and engagement with California Sea Grant as a part of the project
    • A comprehensive outreach plan containing the following information for each research objective: 
      • Target Audience: Who will receive the information generated?
      • Procedures to Achieve Intended Outcomes 
      • Intended Management and/or Behavioral Outcomes: What will be the management or behavioral outcomes.
      • Intended Learning Outcomes: What will be learned?
      • Procedures to Achieve Intended Outcomes
        • Inputs: Who will do what and at what cost? How will the target audience be contacted? 
        • Outputs/Outcome: What products will be developed and at what cost? What publications, workshops, demonstrations, etc. will be developed?
      • Engagement Plan - What methods will be used to measure what learning or behavioral changes have occurred?
  7. Letters of Support - The fellowship application requires that two letters of commitment (a,b) and two signed letters of academic recommendation (c) be secured and submitted as instructed here: 
    • One signed letter of commitment from prospective community mentor(s)
      • * A community mentor must be identified and contacted early in the project development phase.
    • One signed letter of commitment from the research mentor indicating a willingness to be a mentor for the applicant, and expressing support of the proposed research project.
    • Two signed letters of academic recommendation - It is the responsibility of the prospective fellow to arrange to have two letters of recommendation sent directly to Sea Grant by the application deadline. Referees should be aware of the academic qualifications and performance of the candidate fellow. A letter of academic recommendation can come from a research mentor, however, the content must be different than the letter of support. Please identify the two referees that will be submitting a letter of academic recommendation in eSeaGrant. Letters should be addressed to Dr. Shauna Oh, Director, California Sea Grant.
      • * IMPORTANT: To maintain confidentiality, letters of recommendation must be submitted directly from the referee to California Sea Grant through eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered.
  8. Copies of graduate and undergraduate transcripts - Transcripts are required and should be uploaded as PDFs into eSeaGrant. Unofficial transcripts are fine.
  9. Environmental Questionnaire - An Abbreviated Environmental Questionnaire is required with each application. If needed, please include information on the project’s compliance. The National Sea Grant Office will have to determine whether the project is in compliance prior to issuing funding awards. Applicants can download a fillable questionnaire form in eSeaGrant. Only one questionnaire is to be submitted per project/proposal, even if there are to be sub-awards issued to multiple institutions. For questions not applicable to the proposed research, please note N/A on the form. Leave blank the question about Grant/Project Number. This is an “abbreviated” form, so question numbers are not continuous.
  10. Data Management and Sharing Plan - Because funds for our Core research program are provided by NOAA, all new Sea Grant awards that generate environmental data (see below) will have to conform to NOAA’s Data Sharing Directive. Describe how data and other information generated by the project will be handled, stored, and shared, i.e., disseminated to the public, participants, stakeholders, and the State.If your proposed project will generate environmental data your proposal must address the following to be eligible for support (text supplied by NOAA).
    • Environmental data and information collected or created under NOAA grants or cooperative agreements must be made discoverable by and accessible to the general public, in a timely fashion (typically within two years), free of charge or at no more than the cost of reproduction, unless an exemption is granted by the NOAA Program. Data should be available in at least one machine-readable format, preferably a widely-used or open-standard format, and should also be accompanied by machine-readable documentation (metadata), preferably based on widely-used or international standards.
    • Proposals submitted in response to this announcement must include a data management plan of up to two pages describing how these requirements will be satisfied. The data management plan should be aligned with the data management guidance provided by NOAA in the announcement. The contents of the data management plan (or absence thereof), and past performance regarding such plans, will be considered as part of proposal review. A typical plan should include descriptions of the types of environmental data and information expected to be created during the course of the project; the tentative date by which data will be shared; the standards to be used for data/metadata format and content; methods for providing data access; approximate total volume of data to be collected; and prior experience in making such data accessible. The costs of data preparation, accessibility, or archiving may be included in the proposal budget unless otherwise stated in the guidance. Accepted submission of data to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is one way to satisfy data sharing requirements; however, NCEI is not obligated to accept all submissions and may charge a fee, particularly for large or unusual datasets.
    • NOAA may, at its own discretion, make publicly visible the data management plan from funded proposals, or use information from the data management plan to produce a formal metadata record and include that metadata in a catalog to indicate the pending availability of new data.
    • Proposal submitters are hereby advised that the final pre-publication manuscripts of scholarly articles produced entirely or primarily with NOAA funding will be required to be submitted to NOAA Institutional Repository after acceptance, and no later than upon publication. Such manuscripts shall be made publicly available by NOAA one year after publication by the journal.
    • It is the investigator’s responsibility to conform to this directive and no award can be issued absent an acceptable data management plan. The data management plan can be uploaded as a separate PDF in eSeaGrant or, at the PI’s discretion, can be appended to the project narrative as a separate statement after the references. In the latter case, it will not count toward the 12-page narrative limit. If the proposed research will not generate environmental data then a data management plan is not required, but this must be stated in eSeaGrant.
  11. Budgets and Budget Justification 
    • Up to $40,000 per year for up to two years for Masters and Ph.D. students can be requested for reasonable and necessary research fellowship funds, including stipend, tuition, travel, and supplies. While the majority of the budget is likely to be stipend, tuition, or other enrollment fees, it is expected that the budget will include funds for discretionary travel for conferences, professional development, research-related events, equipment, and/or supplies. Ideally the budget would include, at a minimum, travel support for the fellow to attend one California Sea Grant meeting per year around California and attendance at one professional conference.
    • Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs, also known as indirect or overhead, are NOT allowable on Sea Grant fellowships per federal regulation (15 C.F.R. § 917.11). For this solicitation, fellowship research projects are required to provide 25% funding in non-federal match (i.e., budgets must show $1 of match for every $4 of Sea Grant funding requested). Only non-Federal funds may be committed as matching contribution. In-kind contributions, tuition, and non-federal salaries are all examples of match.
    • Budgets should be developed in the 90-4 budget worksheet available in the eSeaGrant application. The budget justification must be a detailed description of each cost item in the 90-4 budget; additional guidance is available on the California Sea Grant website. The budget justification should explain all budget items in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the research-related funds being requested. California Sea Grant strongly encourages students to work with their institution’s research administration or sponsored programs office to develop their budgets.
    • Pay careful attention to the annual budget limits noted above (see section titled Fellowship Program – Award).  Your budget submission and justification must be completed using the online form in eSeaGrant. Do not submit the Excel file as your final budget.
    • In eSeaGrant the fellow’s stipend should be listed under “Section G-Other costs” and not under salaries and wages. Also, as applicable, indicate expected costs for expendable supplies, publication costs, and travel (please clearly identify any travel proposed outside of California).
    • For any questions regarding your budget, please contact the Sea Grant Assistant Director, Rose Madson, sgbudget@ucsd.edu.
  12. Previous Sea Grant Support and Accomplishments - In this section please list any prior funding you have received from California Sea Grant (date funded, project title) and what the results of your research were.
  13. Diversity questionnaire (optional)

Review Process

The California Sea Grant College Program emphasizes innovative applied research on ocean and coastal resources and processes. Research with a strong theoretical basis that encompasses clear, testable hypotheses is desirable. In contrast, low priority is given to survey or inventory studies. Research that has national or international application, or that addresses important regional issues, problems, and opportunities is appropriate. Potential applicants are encouraged to check the “Research Projects” section of our website for examples of projects currently funded.

The procedure for selection of new California Sea Grant projects involves the following four steps: 

  1. Evaluation of preliminary proposals
  2. Submission and evaluation of full proposals
  3. Final adjustments, if necessary, to conform to budget allocation
  4. Inclusion of recommended individual proposals in the California Sea Grant College Program Omnibus Proposal submitted to NOAA

Full proposals are reviewed by a technical panel of experts put together by California Sea Grant and chosen for their expertise relative to the topic of each proposal. Each proposal is considered on its own merits without regard to campus or institutional affiliation.

In addition RASGAP (a panel composed largely of technical experts employed by state resources agencies) also will review proposals and provide input towards identifying research priorities based on state resource management needs. 

Technical panelists and RASGAP will use the same evaluation criteria.

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used in evaluating each proposal:

  1. Importance/relevance and applicability of proposed projects to the program goals (30%): The degree to which the proposed activity addresses an important issue, problem or opportunity in the health, development, use or management of marine or coastal resources and ecosystems. The degree to which the proposed activity will contribute to reaching the objectives of California Sea Grant as described in the California Sea Grant 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, and the degree to which the proposed activity addresses the needs of important state, regional or national constituencies.
  2. Technical/scientific merit (30%): The degree to which the activity will advance the state of the science or discipline through use of state-of-the-art methods. 
  3. Overall qualifications of the applicant (5%): The degree to which the team of investigators and partners are qualified by education, training and/or experience to execute the proposed activity. Evidence of any record of achievement with previous funding. The degree to which the project team demonstrates capabilities, abilities, and expertise to lead a successful project.
  4. Project costs (5%)
  5. Outreach and engagement (20%): The degree to which users or potential users of the results of the proposed activity have been brought into the planning of the activity, will be brought into the execution of the activity or will be kept apprised of progress and results. 
  6. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (10%): The degree to which the proposed activity broadens the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., based on gender, race & ethnicity, disability, geographic, socio-economic class, etc) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Selection Criteria

Selection of proposals for funding shall occur in the rank order unless the proposal is justified to be selected out of rank order based on one or more of the following factors: 

  1. Availability of funding
  2. Balance/distribution of funds:
    • Geographically
    • By type of institution
    • By type of partners
    • By focus area 
    • By project types
  3. Targeting gaps in priority strategic plan goals and objectives
  4. Applicant’s prior award performance
  5. Partnerships with/participation of diverse groups. mentors and underrepresented communities
  6. Adequacy of information necessary for NOAA staff to make a NEPA determination and draft necessary documentation before recommendations for funding are made to the Grants Officer.

When all the input is received from the technical panel and RASGAP, the California Sea Grant Management Team and Director of California Sea Grant will make the final recommendations regarding approval of proposals for funding. The National Sea Grant Office will then review and approve those recommendations. 

Recommended proposals are compiled by the California Sea Grant College Program into an institutional proposal containing: project and program summaries, budget pages, full proposal narratives, curricula vitae, and letters of support.

The institutional proposal, called the California Sea Grant College Program Omnibus, is submitted to the National Sea Grant College Program for funding and implementation starting on or after February 1 of the following year (depending on when federal funds are ultimately received by California Sea Grant). 

If you have any questions, or desire more information about this process, please do not hesitate to contact Catherine Courtier at sgproposal@ucsd.edu

Conditions of Award

Throughout the fellowship, fellows will be required to:

  • Submit Reports: Provide progress reports to California Sea Grant on an annual basis, including a final report, and a copy of the thesis or dissertation even, if it is completed after the fellowship period. Progress Reports and Final Reports are extremely important for describing the impacts, accomplishments, products, and outreach that were accomplished during the life of a project.
  • Work with California Sea Grant’s Communication Team - Assist California Sea Grant efforts to publicize their research and fellowship activities.
  • Collaborate with a Community Mentor - Select and work with a community mentor, including the development and completion of an individual mentoring plan. A formal mentoring plan that outlines the strategy for collaboration and professional development among the fellow, research mentor, and community mentor will be required and must be submitted within one month after funds are awarded and the fellowship is initiated. The purpose of the mentoring plan is to ensure a quality experience for the fellow that provides a springboard to a career in scientific research and/or program implementation. If selected, a sample mentoring plan will be provided with the Conditions of Award.
  • Attend California Sea Grant Events:  Participate in meetings with California Sea Grant, including:
    • An orientation webinar at the beginning of the fellowship
    • Any in-person (or remote) professional development activities, anticipated to occur one to two times per year
  • Acknowledge Support - Acknowledge California Sea Grant support in all relevant presentations and publications. California Sea Grant Sea Grant-funded (or supported) projects require attribution and funding acknowledgement. This page offers Sea Grant logos and guidance for attributions and disclaimers regarding funding from Sea Grant.

Contacts

Proposal Content & eSeaGrant Questions

Catherine Courtier, Research Coordinator
sgproposal@ucsd.edu

Budget Questions/Matching Funds Questions:

Rose Madson, Assistant Director
sgbudget@ucsd.ed