Graduate Research Fellowship 2020

Funding Category
Grants and Funding
Application Deadline
Application Contact:
Proposal Budget Help:

Letters of Intent: June 14, 2019 – 5 PM PT
Full Proposals: August 8, 2019 – 5 PM PT

California Sea Grant is pleased to announce the availability of Graduate Research Fellowships for the 2019- 2021 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 process, team science, outreach, and other California and National Sea Grant mission priorities.

The start date for the fellowships is February 1, 2020. California Sea Grant expects to fund between 10 and 12 fellowships from this call.

California Sea Grant is accepting letters of intent until 5:00 p.m. PT on June 14, 2019. Full proposals will be due by 5:00 p.m. PT on August 8, 2019 via eSeaGrant. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal.


California Sea Grant held an optional informational webinar to review the request for applications and logistics on May 28, 2019.

Access the slideshow here


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 33 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.


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 a set of professional development training 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.

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.

Preference will be given to projects that have existing relationships built with the research and community mentor/s.


The California Sea Grant Strategic Plan focuses on three areas: healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and resilient coastal communities and economies. For this call, applicants must propose to conduct research that addresses one or more of the following primary goals under our Strategic Focus Areas. We are not accepting applications that fall under the Healthy Coastal Ecosystems topic and Sustaintable Fisheries and Aquaculture - Goals 1 and 3 for this call.

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA)

  • SFA Goal 2: Provide science-based information to support and grow a sustainable California aquaculture industry to help meet the growing demand for seafood, and minimize negative socio-economic and environmental impacts of aquaculture.
    • Strategy 2–1: Study interactions between cultured and wild species and ecosystems, including implications for disease transmission, genetic diversity, and water quality.
    • Strategy 2–2: Improve the economic and environmental viability of aquaculture operations and animal health through research on the performance of culturing systems and cultured species.
    • Strategy 2–3: Identify new species potentially suitable for culture.
    • Strategy 2–4: Apply culturing technologies to further conservation goals, including the recovery of rare species and restocking.
    • Strategy 2–5: Identify the ecological and socioeconomic synergies and conflicts between capture and culture fisheries as they affect coastal communities and working waterfronts.

Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies (RCCE)

  • RCCE Goal 1: Support communities and stakeholders to sustainably use, and policy makers to effectively manage, coastal and marine resources.
  • RCCE Goal 2: Work with communities to improve coastal environmental quality and the quality of human life on the coast.
  • RCCE Goal 3: Assist communities in reducing vulnerability to coastal hazards.
  • RCCE Goal 4: Work with communities and partners to plan for and adapt to the effects of climate change, including changes in the frequency and intensity of storms and waves, sea-level rise, ocean acidification and hypoxia (additional examples of effects of climate change may include drought, precipitation, altered flow regime, and/or coastal watershed flows).

The California Sea Grant College Program emphasizes innovative applied research on ocean and coastal resources and processes. In particular, priority will be given to projects that emphasize or include the following:

  1. Work done with an economist or other social scientist with appropriate expertise to quantify the economic impact or benefit of the proposed research project and its societal implications, where...
    • Economic impact is defined as the net change to the economic base of a region that either creates or keeps revenue in a place or region that would not exist or would leave the place or region otherwise (e.g., creating jobs, saving an entity money, helping to increase revenue in a region)
    • Economic benefit is defined as the net increase in social welfare through market or non-market forces (e.g. enhanced recreation, value of increased knowledge or skills, value associated with improved water quality)
    • Societal implications are defined as the consequences for society as a whole and for particular groups of people (e.g., displacement, enhanced ability to adapt to change).
  2. Restoration projects, or partnerships with organizations that do restoration1.
    1 Note: this does not include restoration that is mandated for mitigation projects.

Applicants are encouraged to review the strategic plans and visioning documents via the links provided for more information about California Sea Grant, National Sea Grant, and the Sea Grant Network Visioning research priorities, and then focus on the specific issue(s) of interest to them.  

Applicants are also encouraged to evaluate whether the project will benefit a disadvantaged community. The Disadvantaged Communities Mapping Tool shows the location of disadvantaged communities in the state.

A potential applicant is welcome to contact California Sea Grant personnel to receive more specific feedback concerning particular research issues.



The fellowship provides an award of up to $40,000 per year. The start date for fellowships is February 1, 2020. California Sea Grant expects to fund between 10 and 12 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.

California Sea Grant-funded projects require a 50% funding match (i.e., application budgets must show $1 of match for every $2 of Sea Grant funding requested). Only non-federal funds may be committed as matching contribution. Pursuant to federal regulation (15 C.F.R. § 917.11), no overhead (indirect cost) is permitted on Sea Grant fellowships. It is acceptable to California Sea Grant for the difference between an institution’s federally negotiated overhead rate and California Sea Grant’s 0% fellowship overhead rate to be applied toward 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 (rather than salaries, wages, and benefits) 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.


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 2019. 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 typically will be the student’s academic advisor.  During the fellowship, the fellow, community mentor (more than one is acceptable), and research mentor 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 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 a full range of  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, incomes, and socioeconomic status types.


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.


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.

The type of outreach and 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 mentors is an important factor in the selection process and applicants are encouraged to enlist the community mentor during the proposal development stage.

If you have questions regarding the fellows-mentor relationships or would like to discuss ideas for potential mentors, please contact Miho Ligare, California Sea Grant Research & Fellowship Coordinator (858-534-1160 or


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.

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
  • In-person 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.



Letters of Intent are due June 14, 2019 by 5:00pm to

Letters of Intent (2-page limit) will allow the 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
  • Name(s) of research mentor(s)
  • Name(s) of community mentor(s)
  • Title of project
  • Brief discussion of the focal topic and approach
  • Approximate funding to be requested

A response acknowledging receipt of the letter of intent will be provided, but no feedback will be provided.


Although awards will be made to the academic advisor(s)/community mentor, students are expected to take a leadership role in developing their application – including writing the proposal, developing a budget, and engaging with the institution’s sponsored programs office. Students are responsible for routing the application through their institution’s sponsored programs office, and obtaining all required institutional endorsements before submitting to California Sea Grant.

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. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal. Please use this as an inventory checklist to aid you in preparing the application.

  1. Title Page
    A signed title page (Download: GRF_Title  Page 2020-Excel)  must be included with the proposal.  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. The completed and signed title page must be converted to a PDF and uploaded.
  2. Project Summary
    The project summary is fillable on-line in eSeaGrant.  Applicants will need to prepare separate, brief 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. The project summary is the most widely consulted description of your project. 
  3. Project Narrative
    The project narrative is a single PDF file including multiple components.  The format may vary; however, applications should include the information listed below. The proposed research section of the project narrative file MUST not exceed 12 pages (INCLUDING illustrations, charts, tables, and figures).

a) proposed research (6-page limit, not including literature citations, using 12-pt font and 1” margins, top, bottom, left and right).  The format is flexible but please address the following:

1. Introduction/Question/Objectives: What is the question/problem being addressed? What are the goals and objectives of the proposed research? These should be well defined and clearly stated.

2. Approach/Plan of Work: What is the anticipated approach to the proposed research? The application should present evidence there has been thoughtful consideration of the approach to the question(s) under study, with a timeline for meeting objectives during the requested period of support.  Sufficient detail of the methodologies should be provided to facilitate an assessment of the adequacy of the approach to achieve the stated objectives.

3. Output/Anticipated Products and/or Benefits: Upon commencement of the fellowship, what are the anticipated benefits to the fellow, the research mentor, community mentor(s), and the relevance of the research to policy or management?  What can be expected after year 1, or year 2? Please describe anticipated per year outcomes?

4. References and Literature Citations: Should be included but will not be counted toward the 6-page limit for the proposed research.

b) Personal Statement (2-page limit) from the fellowship candidate that describes how this research fits into the fellow’s career plans and summarizes experiences that specifically prepared the applicant for this research task (not to exceed 2 pages).

c) Community Mentor and Outreach Plan (1-page limit): 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. 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.)?

d) CV from the fellowship candidate, research mentor, and community mentor (not to exceed 2 pages for each CV). This does not count towards your 12-page limit.

  1. Budget and Budget Justification
    Up to $40,000 per year for up to two years for M.S. 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 to two California Sea Grant meetings 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). California Sea Grant-funded projects require a 50% funding match (i.e., budgets must show $1 of match for every $2 of Sea Grant funding requested). Only non-Federal funds may be committed as matching contribution. In-kind contributions, unrecovered F&A and tuition, and non-federal salaries are all examples of match.

Budgets should be developed in the 90-4 budget worksheet available on the California Sea Grant website (Download: GRF-2020 Budget - Excel). 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).  Budget worksheets should  be created in eSeaGrant. A budget workbook available on the website (Download: GRF-2020 Budget - Excel) may help in planning your budget. However, please remember that 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, or by telephone 858-534-4601.

  1. 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:   

a) One signed letter of commitment from prospective community mentor(s) (1-2 pages): A community mentor must be identified and contacted early in the project development phase.

b) One signed letter of commitment from the research mentor: The application must include a letter from the research mentor indicating a willingness to be a mentor for the applicant, and expressing support of the proposed research project (not to exceed 2 pages).

c) 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 your 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 may be submitted directly from the referee to California Sea Grant through eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered.  Alternatively, letters (PDF or Word document) should be emailed directly to by the referee.

  1. Copies of graduate and undergraduate transcripts: Transcripts are required and should be uploaded as PDFs into eSeaGrant.
  2. Data Management/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, available at This directive says, in part:

NOAA Programs shall strive to ensure that environmental data produced as a result of NOAA-funded Grants, Cooperative Agreements, or Contracts are made publicly accessible, in a timely fashion (typically within 2 years), free of charge or at no more than the cost of reproduction.

Environmental Data are defined by NOAA … as recorded and derived observations and measurements of the physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical properties and conditions of the oceans, atmosphere, space environment, sun, and solid earth, as well as correlative data such as socio-economic data, related documentation, and metadata. Digital audio or video recordings of environmental phenomena (such as animal sounds or undersea video) are included in this definition. Numerical model outputs are included in this definition, particularly if they are used to support the conclusion of a peer-reviewed publication. Data collected in a laboratory or other controlled environment, such as measurements of animals and chemical processes, are included in this definition.

If your proposed project will generate environmental data your proposal must address the following to be eligible for support (text supplied by NOAA).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. Environmental Compliance Questionnaire An Abbreviated Environmental Questionnaire is required with each application. Applicants can download a fillable questionnaire form (Download: Environmental Questionnaire – Word). For questions not applicable to the proposed research, please note N/A on the form. Leave blank the question about grant/project number. 


Letters of Intent should be submitted to by 5:00pm PT on June 14, 2019.

Full proposals are required to be submitted using eSeaGrant by 5:00pm PT on August 8, 2019 PT:


**Applicants will receive access to the eSeaGrant’s request for applications a few days after the Letter of Intent submission deadline.

If applicants have not registered in eSeaGrant, you will need to register first. Once you login, you have the option to change your password. Simply 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 “RFP (Request for Proposals)” on the banner head. Then click “Add Proposal” under “2020 Graduate Research Fellowship”.

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) title pages, CVs, project narratives, a data management plan, environmental compliance (short) form, current and pending support, matching funds form, 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 (except the matching funds spreadsheet). Multiple documents must be consolidated into one PDF for each section (except for CVs).

We recommend that eSeaGrant users access the system, 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.


Proposers whose projects could benefit from access to coastal oceanographic data should be aware that a wide variety of data on the physical, biological, and chemical properties of California coastal waters are collected by and made available by the two integrated ocean observing systems that cover the entire California coast: the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS  - and the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS - ). These two programs also are potential recipients and managers of environmental data collected by researchers, so may aid researchers in fulfilling data accessibility requirements (see section labeled NOAA Data Sharing Requirement, below). Proposers are encouraged to contact staff at SCCOOS or CeNCOOS, as appropriate, to discuss availability and access to data, and data management, that might bear on the proposed research program. 


A unique aspect of the Sea Grant Program is the matching funds requirement. According to the 1966 founding legislation, a project leader is required to match each $2 received in NOAA/Sea Grant funds with $1 from non-federal sources.

Examples of allowable items for matching Sea Grant federal funds include existing salaries and benefits of academic advisor/investigators and others paid from non-federal sources, costs of using expendable supplies and equipment already in inventory, costs of boat time supplied by non-federal sources, industry participation, and donated supplies, service, space, or equipment. You also may contact the Sea Grant Assistant Director, Rose Madson (, with questions about various sources and types of match. However, your institution remains the final approver for all match included in the proposal.

NOAA DATA SHARING REQUIREMENT (Effective for all NOAA funded research projects)

Data and information collected and/or created under NOAA grants and cooperative agreements must be made visible, accessible, and independently understandable to general users, free of charge or at minimal cost, in a timely manner (typically no later than two years after the data are collected or created), except where limited by law, regulation, policy or by security requirements. The requirement has two basic parts: (1) environmental data generated by a grant project must be made available after a reasonable period of exclusive use, and (2) the grant application must describe the plan to make the data available (Principal Investigators are expected to execute the plan).             

If your project produces environmental data, it must conform to NOAA’s Data Sharing Directive for Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts. For detailed guidance, you can view the current version of the policy, including a definition of environmental data (which can include socioeconomic and model data), download any updates and access additional implementation resources at the following permanent URL (Appendix B outlines requirements):

If funding is required for data curation and archiving, please make sure that funds are budgeted in the project proposal for data management. All data generated through Sea Grant-funded projects are required to be completely QA/QC’ed (Quality Assurance and Quality Control) and made publicly accessible by two years after the end date of the project


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. Preference will be given to projects that have existing relationships built with the research and community mentor/s.

Letters of Intent will allow California Sea Grant to gauge interest and topics that may be submitted.  A response acknowledging receipt of the letter of intent, but no feedback will be provided.

Proposals are reviewed by California Sea Grant technical staff and the California Sea Grant Committee (outside panelists selected for disciplinary expertise). Criteria for review include:

(1) rationale;

(2) scientific merit and impact or outreach quality;

(3) innovation;

(4) programmatic justification;

(5) expected quality and strength of interaction that will be developed between the research institution, the community mentor and her/his organization;

(6) practical impact and user relationships; and

Each proposal is considered on its own merits without regard to campus or institutional affiliation. In addition, the Resources Agency Sea Grant Advisory Panel (RASGAP, a panel comprised largely of technical experts employed by state resources agencies) also will review proposals. Input from RASGAP is directed toward identifying research priorities based on state needs.

When all the input is received from the California Sea Grant Committee, and RASGAP, the California Sea Grant Management Team and Director of California Sea Grant make the final recommendations regarding approval of proposals for funding. The National Sea Grant Office then reviews and approves 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 need more information about this process, please do not hesitate to call the California Sea Grant office at (858) 534-4440.


June 14, 2019 (5:00 pm PT): Letters of Intent Due

August 8, 2019 (5:00 pm PT): Applications Due

August – October 2019: Review of Proposals

October 2019 (approximate) – Proposal applicants notified of recommendations

On/after February 1, 2020 – Projects begin


Proposal Format/Content & eSeaGrant Questions:
Miho Ligare, Research & Fellowship Coordinator –
(858) 534-1160

Carol Bailey-Sumber, Grants Specialist -
(858) 534-7855

Budget Questions/Matching Funds Questions:
Rose Madson, Assistant Director -
(858) 534-4601

Application Resources


Management Team

Shauna Oh,
(858) 534-4440

Katherine Leitzell,
Communications Coordinator
(858) 246-1661 

Rose Madson,
Assistant Director
(858) 534-4601

Extension Specialists (Potential Community Mentors)

Carolynn Culver, Specialist
Santa Barbara
(805) 893-4530
Areas of Expertise: Aquatic Invasive Species, Invertebrate Fisheries, Shellfish Aquaculture

Luke Gardner, Specialist
Monterey Bay
(831) 771-4429
Areas of Expertise: Aquaculture

Monique Myers, Specialist
Santa Barbara
(805) 680-4141
Areas of Expertise: Sustainable Coastal Communities, Climate Change and Wetlands

Paul Olin, Specialist
(retiring July 2019)
Santa Rosa
(707) 565-3449
Areas of Expertise: Aquaculture & Watersheds/Water Quality, Endangered Salmon Recovery

Mariska Obedzinski, Specialist
Santa Rosa
(707) 565-3045
Areas of Expertise: Anadromous fish & Habitat Restoration

Carrie Pomeroy, Specialist
Santa Cruz
(831) 459-4173
Areas of Expertise: Fisheries Social Science, Management & Policy

Joe Tyburczy, Specialist
(707) 443-8369
Areas of Expertise:
Marine Ecology, Transport of Marine Larvae, Coastal Oceanography

Theresa Talley, Specialist
San Diego
(858) 534-4600
Areas of Expertise: Resilient Coastal Communities, Healthy Coastal and Marine Ecosystems, Climate Change and Wetlands

Brenna Mahoney,
Post-doctoral Specialist
San Francisco/Oakland
(617) 851-9855
Areas of Expertise:
Sea-Level Rise Adaptation, Natural Shorelines