February 8, 2023, 2:00PM - 3:00PM PT: Optional Informational Webinar
March 14, 2023 5:00PM PT: Letter of intent due in eSeaGrant
June 6, 2023, 5:00PM PT: Full proposals due in eSeaGrant
Only applicants who submitted a letter of intent are eligible to submit a full proposal.
The California Sea Grant College Program is now soliciting proposals for research projects that address goals and objectives specific to aquaculture in the Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA) section of the California Sea Grant 2024-2027 Strategic Plan. In addition, the research projects should address one or more of the priority areas specific to this request for proposals (described below). Successful projects will involve both a substantial intellectual question and the promise of useful application to a California coastal or ocean issue. The projects are expected to begin on February 1, 2024. Faculty and academic staff from universities and scientists from research institutions throughout California are invited to apply.
California Sea Grant encourages projects that are likely to yield measurable impacts to the local economy, community, and environment. To that end, each proposal must identify and collaborate with an aquaculture practitioner. These interactions will help ensure that 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, and transferring science to management.
One of the principal goals of California Sea Grant is the application of project results for the benefit of industry; 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 detailed account of outreach plans 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.
California Sea Grant
California Sea Grant’s mission is to provide the information, tools, training and relationships needed to help California conserve and sustainably prosper from our coastal and marine environments. 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 35 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.
We anticipate funding two to four projects contingent upon receipt of anticipated funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The duration of a project request is typically two years, though requests for a 1-year award will also be considered. Project extramural budgets may not exceed $150,000 per year including funds to provide a stipend for one graduate student per year (conforming to your institution’s stipend for a half-time graduate student at their level of experience). Continuation of a project beyond the first year is subject to demonstration of satisfactory progress by the project investigator.
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.
Applicants are encouraged to reach out to Extension Specialists early on in the development of the proposal to seek feedback or advice and potentially partner on the project (see Contacts section).
Faculty and academic staff from universities and scientists from research institutions throughout California are invited to apply. Applicants may submit more than one letter of intent/full proposal but if selected, only one award will be made to the principal investigator (PI). In addition, PIs may be listed as co-PIs on other projects even if they are lead PI on their own project. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal. To be eligible, the applicant must include a partnership with an aquaculture practitioner (see definition below).
California Sea Grant is committed to increasing the diversity of the workforce we fund and of the communities we serve. We embrace individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, as well as income and socioeconomic status types. California Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication, and education programs that serve people with unique knowledge, backgrounds, life experiences, needs, perspectives, and ways of thinking.
Applicants must propose to conduct research that addresses the following Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Focus Area goals and Priority Areas outlined below.
Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA) Goals:
SFA Goal 1: California’s fisheries, aquaculture, seafood systems and the environments that support them are environmentally, economically and socially more sustainable and resilient to future change through the facilitation of partnerships and the (co-) production of knowledge.
SFA Goal 2: California’s fishing, aquaculture and seafood industries have evidence-based information, partnerships and tools needed to support decision-making and a sustainable path forward through community engagement, collaboration and education.
2024 Aquaculture Awards Priority Areas:
- Causes, influences, and/or solutions related to multi-stressors, in particular those focused on pathogens, harmful algal blooms, and environmental contaminants;
- Quantification of potential ecosystem services associated with aquaculture;
- Social and/or economic perceptions of the role of aquaculture in California communities;
- Opportunities and challenges for co-locating aquaculture with other coastal and ocean uses such as offshore renewable energy, fishing and port infrastructure;
- Understanding the human health benefits and risks associated with new and emerging aquaculture products;
- Assessment of native species aquaculture in a commercial (non-restoration) setting
**Note: We are not accepting proposals relating to salmonid restoration and enhancement at this time.
Proposals should include training components surrounding the participation of students and/or early career individuals and/or outreach that address one or more of the Goals and Priority Areas above, and as much as is feasible, integrate California Sea Grant’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility (DEIJA) Strategic Cross-Cutting Focus Area Goal 2 and Goal 3 (below).
DEIJA Goal 2: Across our staff and network, California Sea Grant builds a program where a diversity of lived experiences are represented, particularly Indigenous, underserved and underrepresented identities in marine and coastal sciences, thereby facilitating a culture of belonging and equitable support.
DEIJA Goal 3: California Sea Grant and its network co-produce knowledge, create access to scientific information and support research and scholarship priorities of value to a diversity of communities, focused on Indigenous, underserved and underrepresented peoples.
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: RASGAP Research Priorities (PDF).
February 8, 2023, 2:00 - 3:00 pm PT: Informational webinar and Q&A
March 14, 2023 by 5:00 pm PT: Letters of intent due via eSeaGrant
June 6, 2023 by 5:00 pm PT: Full proposals due via eSeaGrant
June-Late August, 2023: Technical panel and RASGAP review of full proposals
September 2023: Applicants notified of recommendations to fund projects
February 1, 2024: Projects expected to begin
California Sea Grant hosted an informational webinar to answer questions about the proposal process on February 8, 2023 from 2:00 - 3:00 PM PT. The presentation recording and slide PDF are available below.
This research call requires collaboration with at least one aquaculture practitioner familiar with existing data and/or resource issues central to the proposed research. Aquaculture practitioners should be individuals whose work requires the application of scientific information, particularly the information, data, and findings that will result from the PI’s research project. Aquaculture practitioners may include those who work in the commercial/private sector, affiliated with non-profit organizations, or a member of a public-sector or community-based aquaculture program. Given the diversity of projects typically funded, California Sea Grant recognizes that the aquaculture practitioner collaboration in the project may look different from one project to the next. Each should be tailored to the specific project proposed. We highly encourage proposals that are crafted through participatory processes and support engaged research with a diversity of communities, focused on Indigenous, underserved and underrepresented groups.
The type of outreach and engagement and the role of the aquaculture practitioner will be determined and defined by the PI, and the activities should complement the proposed research. PIs must include a corresponding letter of commitment from the aquaculture practitioner(s). The apparent or demonstrated depth of proposed collaboration with the aquaculture practitioner(s) is an important factor in the selection process.
If you would like to discuss ideas for potential aquaculture practitioners, or if you have any issues identifying a relevant practitioner, please contact email@example.com.
We use the eSeaGrant online system (https://eseagrant2.ucsd.edu/) for submission of letters of intent and full 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 “Current Tasks” in the left hand menu. To start a new proposal, click on “Add Proposal” under “2024 Aquaculture Awards”. If you have already started a proposal and wish to edit it, click on the hyperlink for that proposal instead. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent will receive an invitation to eSeaGrant to submit their full proposals.
In order to submit a proposal, you must work down the sequence of sections listed on the left side of the proposal window. eSeaGrant provides sections to input or upload all application components. Files to upload must be converted to PDFs before uploading to eSeaGrant. You may add collaborators (e.g., co-PIs, sponsored project office staff, etc.) as appropriate to assist in completing the proposal using the “Manage Collaborators” button in the upper right corner of your screen. Collaborators must also have accounts on eSeaGrant in order to be added to your proposal.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). The submission deadline will not be extended.
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.
Please follow the following formatting guidelines in formatting your letters of intent and full proposal:
- Type Fonts: 12 point Arial or Helvetica preferred
- Margins: Side, top and bottom margins should be approximately 1 inch each
- Line Spacing: The narrative of the proposal should be single-spaced
- Graphics: Any tables, figures and illustrations must be submitted in final form and appended to or embedded within the narrative. Graphics and tables count toward the 12-page limit of the proposal narrative.
Letters of Intent
Letters of Intent are due March 14, 2023 by 5:00PM PT, submitted through eSeaGrant.
Letters of Intent (2-page limit) will allow California Sea Grant to gauge interest and topics that may be submitted. The letter must provide the following basic information:
- Name of applicant and contact information
- Title of project
- Brief discussion of the proposed research topic and approach, including:
- what priority topics and/or SFA goals (listed above) the project will address
- any aquaculture practitioners that you have already identified or plan to contact
- Approximate funding amount to be requested
In eSeaGrant you will also be asked to submit contact information for at least five potential (non-conflicted) reviewers. You may also provide any names of anyone that you do not want to review your proposal or who might have a conflict of interest with your proposal. You do not need to include this information in your 2-page Letter of Intent PDF.
A response acknowledging receipt of the letter of intent will be sent, but no feedback will be provided.
Full proposals are due June 6, 2023 by 5:00PM PT, submitted through eSeaGrant.
Note: Only those who submitted a letter of intent are eligible to submit a full proposal
- Signed Institutional Cover 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. A template can be found in the Excel workbook for applicants to enter this information, obtain signatures, and then upload it as a PDF.
- Project Summary: The Project Summary is fillable on-line in eSeaGrant. Proposers will need to prepare separate sections, with 1000 character limits each, 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. The project summary is the most widely consulted description of your project.
- 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: Introduction, Objectives, Approach, Outcomes and Deliverables, illustrations, charts, tables, and figures; NOT INCLUDING: References). 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.
- Project Objectives
- Provide a list of clearly defined objectives. For each objective, provide a concise statement explaining how it is aligned with the goals and priorities of this funding opportunity.
- 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 (a template can be found in the Excel workbook).
- 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.
- 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.
- Introduction and Background
- Curriculum Vitae(s): CVs of all key personnel (PIs, co-PIs, Associate PIs) must be included in the submission (2 page limit per CV). Please upload each CV as a PDF. If CVs longer than 2 pages are submitted, reviewers will only be provided with the first 2 pages of the CV.
- 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 PI or co-PI’s their CV’s should be attached to the Project Narrative file. These will not count toward the 12-page limit
- Aquaculture Practitioner Letter(s) of Commitment: At minimum at least one aquaculture practitioner must be identified. This entity may be a funded or non-funded partner on the project. A commitment letter is required from at least one identified aquaculture practitioner. The letter should explain the role they will play in the proposed project including co-design of the research, the anticipated activities involved, relevance of research results to the stakeholder, and the value of the proposed project to the stakeholder. Specifically this letter should clearly indicate what the aquaculture practitioner is committed to doing in concert with the proposed project if it is funded. Given the diversity of projects typically funded, California Sea Grant recognizes that the practitioner involvement in the project may look different from one project to the next. Each should be tailored to the specific project proposed. The goal of this component should be communicating research results to or working with the specified aquaculture practitioner(s).
- Outreach and Engagement Plan - (maximum of 2 pages) The Outreach and Engagement Plan is a document that describes how the proposed project and project team will interact with the aquaculture practitioner(s) as well as any other relevant stakeholder groups, throughout the project. Applicants are highly encouraged to craft Outreach and Engagement plans focused on underserved and/or disadvantaged communities. This plan should be developed in concert with the aquaculture practitioner(s). The strategies for engagement should include:
- Implication, practical application, and direct link of proposed research to managers, communities, and/or other users;
- Describe the 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;
- General communication plan for project team throughout the project, such as how will the student and the aquaculture practitioner(s) interact to achieve these goals (e.g., frequency, timeline, means of communication, topics);
- Possible interaction and engagement with California Sea Grant as a part of the project.
- Budgets and Budget Justification: In addition to the specific guidance below, general guidance on preparing budgets and budget justification can be found here.
- Eligible proposing institutions are welcome to propose research lasting up to two years in duration and requesting a maximum of $150,000/year (sum of Direct Costs plus Indirect Costs on modified total direct costs (MTDC)). Shorter duration research projects and/or those requesting above the minimum allowable funds but less than the maximum allowable funds are welcomed.
- Be prepared to enter any salaries, wages, and fringe benefits for all personnel associated with the project. Also, if applicable, indicate expected costs for equipment, expendable supplies, publication costs, and travel.
- For each year of the project, a budget justification is required. Each budget justification should explain the budget items in sufficient detail to enable review of the appropriateness of the funding requested. Justifications should be added when filling out the “Budgets” tab in eSeaGrant.
- If recommended for funding, California Sea Grant may ask you to work with staff to revise your budget to make sure that the project budget, indirect costs, match, etc. is correct.
- In considering budgets, please note that any graduate trainee stipends and or tuition support are NOT subject to indirect costs, whereas other project costs (e.g. travel, supplies) typically are subject to indirect costs. The amount requested for a trainee stipend must conform to your institution’s normal stipend for a half-time graduate student at their level of experience.
- For this solicitation, 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 match contributions. In-kind contributions, tuition, and non-federal salaries are all examples of match.
- A budget workbook in Excel may help in planning your budget (available to download here). However, please remember that your budget submission and justification must be completed using the online budget forms in eSeaGrant. Do not submit the Excel file as your final budget.
- Current and Pending Support: Describe any current or pending sources of support if applicable.
- Letters of Support: Support letters are optional, but encouraged for projects involving multiple institutions or community partners. If included in the application, please consolidate all letters into one PDF for uploading to eSeaGrant.
- Data Management Plan: All applications must include a Data Management Plan that is compliant with NOAA’s Public Access to Research Results Plan. The Data Management Plan should not exceed 2 pages. The Data Management Plan should include descriptions of the types of metadata and data expected to be created during the course of the project, plans for disseminating the metadata and data to the broader community, and plans for long-term archiving of the metadata and data. If proposed activities will not generate any environmental data, please include the following statement at the end of your proposal: “Because this project will not generate environmental data, a Data Management Plan is not required.”
- Environmental Compliance Questionnaire: A separate NEPA Questionnaire must be completed for each relevant individual project in the application, following further details below. The Questionnaire can be found here: https://seagrant.noaa.gov/insideseagrant/Implementation. Applicants must ensure that the Questionnaire is completed in full and includes detailed information regarding project location, methodology, and permits. Copies of all permits required for project activities should be included with application materials. If a permit is pending or planned, please provide this information. Guidance on how to complete the Questionnaire and example Questionnaires for different types of projects can be found here: https://seagrant.noaa.gov/insideseagrant/Implementation.
The NEPA Questionnaire is required for ALL research projects even if the project is fully lab-based or relies on social science. The NEPA Questionnaire is also required for any project that meets the following criteria:
- Environmental permits, authorizations or waivers
- Biological take and/or release
- Environmental sampling
- Hazardous or toxic substances and waste
- Permanent or temporary environmental effects
- Endangered or threatened species and/or protected areas
- Known or unknown risks to human health or the environment
- Controversial environmental subject matter
- Proposed Reviewers: Provide a list of at least five suggested (non-conflicted) reviewers that you believe are well qualified to review your proposal. You may also provide any names of anyone that you do not want to review your proposal or who might have a conflict of interest with your proposal.
- Demographic questionnaire (optional). This data assists California Sea Grant in its commitment to equal opportunities. Applicants are asked to voluntarily provide the following information. This questionnaire will be separated from the application and will not be used in any review decisions. This data will be used internally for statistical data gathering and reporting purposes in evaluating the extent California Sea Grant is achieving its equal opportunity goals. Please provide the requested information for all named collaborators on your proposal (i.e., submit one form per named collaborator).
Proposals will undergo a structured review process led by California Sea Grant. California Sea Grant utilizes two panels for reviewing proposals. 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. In addition, RASGAP also will review full proposals deemed fundable by the technical panel and provide input towards identifying research priorities based on state resource management needs. Technical panelists and RASGAP will use the same evaluation criteria. At their discretion, California Sea Grant may request additional review by likely user groups of the research findings or suggest coordination of complementary proposals.
Reviewers/panelists will all be external to California Sea Grant and all reviewers will be asked to complete a Conflict of Interest (COI) form prior to conducting their review.
To be funded, research must be consistent with the mission of California Sea Grant and the funding goals of this request for proposals. In addition, evaluation of proposals will be based on the following criteria:
- Alignment of proposed project to the research priority goals of the RFP (30%): The degree to which the proposed activity aligns with the priority areas of the RFP, contributes to the California Sea Grant’s SFA and DEIJA focus areas (specific goals outlined above) and addresses the needs of important state, regional or national constituencies.
- 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.
- 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. If applicable, provide evidence of integration with the California Sea Grant Extension Program.
- Diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility (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), and/or incorporates strategies to create/foster partnerships that center the needs and interests of Indigenous, underrepresented and underserved peoples.
- 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.
- Project costs and justification (5%)
California Sea Grant shall award 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:
- Availability of funding
- Balance/distribution of funds:
- By type of institution
- By type of partners
- By research priority
- By project types
- Targeting gaps in priority strategic plan goals and objectives
- Addressing the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility (DEIJA) goals of the California Sea Grant 2024-2027 Strategic Plan, including fostering partnerships with Indigenous, underserved, and/or underrepresented peoples.
- Applicant’s prior award performance.
- 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 email@example.com.
Throughout the award period, PIs will be required to:
Provide Progress Reports (https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/funding/reporting/california-sea-grant-core-awards) to California Sea Grant on an annual basis, including a final report, and a copy of any thesis or dissertation from students supported by this award, even if it is completed after the award 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 and assist California Sea Grant's efforts to publicize your research activities.
Acknowledge California Sea Grant support in all relevant presentations and publications. Attributions to California Sea Grant-funded (or supported) projects require attribution and funding acknowledgment. This page offers Sea Grant logos and guidance for attributions and disclaimers regarding funding from Sea Grant.
Budget/Matching Funds Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rose Madson, Assistant Director, California Sea Grant
Proposal Content & eSeaGrant Questions: email@example.com
Madelyn Wampler, Program Analyst
California Sea Grant Extension Specialists - Aquaculture
Theresa Talley, Specialist
Carolynn Culver, Specialist
Kevin Johnson, Specialist
San Luis Obispo
Luke Gardner, Specialist