Pathways to Inclusive Research Training: Call for Proposals 2023

Pathways to Inclusive Training Call for Proposals 2023 Banner
Funding Category
Grants and Funding
Application Deadline
Proposal Budget Help:
Proposal Contact:
Focus Area(s)
Education, Training and Public Information, Healthy Coastal Ecosystems, Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
**Updated June 22, 2022 with webinar recording, webinar slides pdf, and guidance regarding match for csu faculty** 


Important dates

June 21, 2022, 1:00PM - 2:00PM PT: Optional Informational Webinar

July 1, 2022, 5:00PM PT: Letter of intent due in eSeaGrant

July 28, 2022, 5:00PM PT: Full proposals due in eSeaGrant
[Only applicants who submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal]

Program Overview

California is the most populous U.S. state, with more than 39 million residents, and the largest ocean-based economy in the country. The state occupies nearly two-thirds of the contiguous U.S. West Coast, with a coast that stretches more than 1,100 miles from the Mexican border to Oregon. California is home to eleven major seaports, more than 200 marinas and harbors— including fishing communities—and more than 1,000 coastal recreation areas that receive about 100 million visitors a year.

This level of activity in the coastal zone places immense pressure on natural resources, poses opportunities and challenges, and creates a need for science-based information and novel approaches to resource management and conservation. The size and diversity of California marine ecosystems and coastal populations create special challenges for statewide and regional policy development, as well as the breadth and complexity of research required to address the many issues and risks relating to the marine environment.

As a result, California has a critical need to train and retain diverse coastal science leaders who have the perspectives and expertise to address complex, socio-ecological issues to meet the needs of diverse, including underserved, coastal communities. Engaging in research is a critical way to introduce and retain students in marine and coastal sciences, as well as prepare students for careers in these fields. The Pathways to Inclusive Research Training Program seeks to fund research mentors to pilot or expand innovative initiatives that involve undergraduate students in meaningful ways in research, foster a culture of belonging, and provide high-quality interaction of students with research mentors and professional development opportunities.

This funding opportunity seeks to support research mentors in developing pilot research programs that broaden participation and a sense of belonging for undergraduate students from groups that are underrepresented and underserved in marine and coastal sciences, particularly Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latine, female, nonbinary, first-generation college students, veterans, LGBTQIA2S+, and students with disabilities.

Applicants are encouraged to propose innovative and transformative pilot programs that offer guided research experiences and mentorship to students, with the goal of increasing retention in STEM and launching careers as leaders in coastal science. Research programs may utilize targeted disciplines, collaborations, or community-building approaches to create an inclusive research experience, including but not limited to:

  • Research topics and approaches that address questions related to environmental justice, socio-ecological systems, and interdisciplinary issues
  • Co-production of research with underserved communities
  • Developing research programs within or building research relationships with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)
  • Fostering a cohort experience for underrepresented students of similar lived experiences

Additionally, research projects should address one or more of California Sea Grant’s Strategic Focus Areas (described in more detail below):

  • Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies (RCCE)
  • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA)
  • Healthy Coastal Ecosystems (HCE)


California Sea Grant and RASGAP


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.


Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies (RCCE)

RCCE Goal 1: Support research and science translation to assist California coastal communities to adapt and build resilience in a changing coastal social- environmental landscape.

RCCE Goal 2: Engage diverse stakeholders and incorporate perspectives in planning for and implementing community resilience strategies.

RCCE Goal 3: Work with communities and partners to help reduce vulnerability to coastal hazards, and 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.

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA)

SFA Goal 1: Collect and develop science-based information to support sustainable aquaculture, fisheries, and seafood industries.

SFA Goal 2: Obtain science-based information on probable anthropogenic impacts— including climate change—on coastal and marine living resources and the communities that rely on them.

SFA Goal 3: Provide science-based information to resource managers, stakeholders, and the general public to better support sustainable aquaculture, fisheries, and seafood industries.

Healthy Coastal Ecosystems (HCE)

HCE Goal 1: Support research and provide information to understand the dynamics and functioning of coastal and marine ecosystems. Prioritize obtaining information valuable to the conservation, restoration and adaptive management of these ecosystems to ensure their long-term health and productivity.

HCE Goal 2: Support research to understand the drivers and impacts of environmental change and anthropogenic impacts and stressors on coastal and marine species, ecosystems, and environments.

HCE Goal 3: Support research and provide information to support the management and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to look at the full Sea Grant Strategic Plan for more information on California Sea Grant research priorities, strategies and desired outcomes, and then focus on the specific issue(s) of interest to them.



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.



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)


Award Information

California Sea Grant is soliciting applications for awards of 1-year in duration, and will fund up to $600,000 worth of projects, with a minimum budget of $25,000, and a maximum budget of $75,000 (to include indirect costs, if any). Projects are expected to start February 1, 2023 and end by January 31, 2024. It is anticipated that 8 - 12 awards will be funded, contingent upon receipt of anticipated funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There is no guarantee that funds will be available to make awards, or that any application will be selected for funding.

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. Examples of allowable items for matching Sea Grant federal funds include existing salaries and benefits of 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 may also 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.



CSU faculty members that meet the eligibility requirements of this RFP are encouraged to contact CSU COAST to discuss possible matching funds. More information can be found on the CSU COAST website.



Proposals must be submitted by a researcher or faculty employed at a California-based research institution, and either 1) support their existing competitively-funded research or 2) develop new research (both existing and new research need to address areas of interest to California Sea Grant). Individuals that do not have Principle Investigator (PI) status at their institution are not eligible to apply. 

Submissions from diverse teams led by new faculty, women, nonbinary, Black, Indigenous, Latine, and other individuals with underrepresented identities are strongly encouraged. New faculty are individuals who are currently in their first research faculty position and began their position after January 1, 2020. Projects that build or strengthen partnerships with communities or organizations that hold similar goals to build inclusive research programs are highly valued, including partnerships with community colleges, MSIs, Tribal Colleges, community-based organizations, and more.

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.



June 21, 2022, 1:00PM - 2:00PM PT: Optional Informational Webinar

July 1, 2022, 5:00PM PT: Letter of intent due in eSeaGrant

July 28, 2022, 5:00PM PT: Full proposals due in eSeaGrant
[Only applicants who submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal]

October 2022: Notification of funding status (expected)

Feb 1, 2023: One-year projects begin



On June 21, 2022, California Sea Grant hosted an optional webinar that provided an overview of this funding opportunity and answer questions.

Webinar slides (PDF)





We use the eSeaGrant online system ( 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 “2023 Pathways to Inclusive Research Training”. 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 (“Start Here” through “Submission Preview”) 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.

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.

Access eSeaGrant


Proposal Formatting

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 July 1, 2022 by 5:00PM PT, submitted through eSeaGrant (submission instructions below). 

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 program topic and approach, including:
    • whether the program will support their existing competitively-funded research or develop new research program
    • what strategic focus area(s) the program will address
  • Approximate funding amount to be requested

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


Full Proposals

Format requirements are used to provide guidelines to applicants that increase fairness in the review of applications. Applications not meeting the format requirements may be rejected without review. Pages exceeding page limits will not be reviewed. Only the requested materials should be submitted; additional documents will not be reviewed. All proposals will be submitted via eSeaGrant. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent may submit a full proposal.

Proposal Components:

  1. Title Page: A signed title page (blank copy downloadable from eSeaGrant) must be included with the proposal. Please provide all requested information and obtain the required signatures from your campus’ Sponsored Projects Office. The completed and signed title page must be converted to a PDF and uploaded.
  2. Project Summary: The Project Summary is the most widely consulted description of your project, and includes brief sections on objectives, methodology, and rationale. The project summary presents a concise description of the proposed research in a form useful to a variety of readers, and may be used for future communications with the general public.
  3. Project Narrative: The project narrative is a single PDF file including multiple components. Proposals should include the information listed below. The project narrative MUST NOT exceed 12 pages (INCLUDING illustrations, charts, tables and figures). Proposals exceeding this size limit will not be reviewed.
    1. Introduction and Background
      1. Rationale, merit, and innovativeness of your proposed undergraduate research program, including relevance to California Sea Grant Strategic Focus Areas
      2. Goals and objectives of the proposed research program
      3. Positionality* of your research institution, team, and partners with respect to the creation and implementation of your proposed research program
        *Positionality is how one’s identity shapes the way one sees the world and interacts with others; understanding positionality assists researchers in acknowledging how their distinct identities and viewpoints inherently influence their research program and engagement with undergraduate students.   
      4. A clear, concise statement of how this program may leverage future funding opportunities, and/or inform best practices in inclusive undergraduate research training
    2. A description of the applicant’s funded or proposed research program
      1. Scientific/technical approach, experiments, procedures, 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.
      2. Nature of student activities. Proposals should address how undergraduate research training will be engaged meaningfully in research, including detailed descriptions of examples of research projects that students will pursue.
      3. Timeline of student activities. Student projects must have a duration of at least one quarter or three months.
    3. A description of the planned recruitment, mentoring strategy, and research community culture
      1. How students will be recruited and selected, with the goal of recruiting undergraduate students from underrepresented groups.
      2. The mentoring strategy (methods, frequency) to be used for maintaining meaningful engagement throughout the opportunity (i.e., in what way and how often the mentor and mentee will communicate), and rationale for the strategy.
      3. The research community culture that students will be engaged in, including professional development (e.g., seminars, group discussions, workshops, social activities, etc.), partnerships with external organizations and communities, student cohort building, etc.
      4. How the success of the mentoring strategy and research community culture will be evaluated.
    4. Outcomes and Deliverables – Project outcomes should be clearly related to the program objectives and identify how program evaluation will address the outcomes. Any planned engagement with relevant management personnel, underserved communities, and community organizations should be described. Include planned deliverables or opportunities for leverage program outcomes to institutionalize inclusive research training.
    5. 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.)
  4. 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. CVs should include any relevant experience with undergraduate research programs (including working with students from underrepresented groups).
  5. Budget and Budget Justification: Budget worksheets will need to be created in eSeaGrant. Be prepared to enter any salaries, wages, and fringe benefits for all personnel associated with the project. Also, if applicable, indicate expected costs for expendable supplies, publication costs, and travel. All budget sections will require justification. Review the instructions in eSeaGrant to see what is expected as justification for each section.
    1. The minimum budget is $25,000, and the maximum budget is $75,000 per year, to include indirect costs.
    2. Matching funds must also be itemized in budget worksheets. Matching funds from a non-federal source must total at least 25% of TOTAL funds requested, including indirect costs.
    3. Direct any questions regarding indirect cost rates, employee benefit rates, percent of time, etc., to your campus research or sponsored projects office.
    4. Allowable undergraduate student expenses:
      1. Student compensation and expenses as they relate to the student’s cost of living. Students receive their compensation/pay in accordance with each University’s payment schedule, and may be paid in weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly installments.
      2. Professional development opportunities for the student (e.g. additional training courses and workshops, travel to a workshop and conference).
      3. Note: Students need to be eligible to receive federal funds (appropriate VISA or citizenship eligibility). “Student” status is determined by the home institution, including whether recent graduates are eligible to receive funding as a student under this funding opportunity. California Sea Grant discourages projects requiring unpaid work by undergraduate students, unless conducted in the context of a class where students are receiving credit, or payment would jeopardize the students’ financial assistance.
    5. If graduate trainee stipends or tuition support are requested as part of personnel associated with the project, these funds 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; however, in any case no more than $30,000 in stipend can be requested.
    6. 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.
  6. Current and Pending Support: Describe any current or pending sources of support if applicable.
  7. 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.
  8. Data Management Plan
    1. 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.
    2. 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.”
  9. Environmental Compliance Questionnaire
    1. 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: 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:
    2. 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:
      1. Environmental permits, authorizations or waivers
      2. Biological take and/or release
      3. Environmental sampling
      4. Hazardous or toxic substances and waste
      5. Permanent or temporary environmental effects
      6. Endangered or threatened species and/or protected areas
      7. Known or unknown risks to human health or the environment
      8. Controversial environmental subject matter
    3. If you have already submitted a NEPA form for your funded research project and will not be conducting any new research activities, please upload your existing NEPA form. 



Proposals will undergo a structured review process led by California Sea Grant. Each proposal will be subjected to at least three external written reviews. 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. The review panel(s) will include subject matter experts, scientists, educators, and agency representatives. At their discretion, California Sea Grant may request additional review by likely user groups of the research findings or suggest coordination of complementary proposals.


Evaluation Criteria

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:

  • [25%] Scientific Merit and Justification: The degree to which the activity will advance the state of the science or discipline, and focus on important or potentially important ecosystem problems, resources and issues; the degree to which the proposed activity will contribute to California Sea Grant’s Strategic Focus Areas, and the degree to which the proposed activity addresses the needs of important state, regional or national constituencies, including underserved communities.
  • [20%] Student Research: Appropriateness, value, and level of innovation of the proposed student research project(s) and engagement, particularly the appropriateness of the research program for undergraduate involvement and appropriate consideration of the nature and extent of student participation in these activities.
  • [20%] Research Community Culture: Thoughtfulness and evidence-based approach of the proposed student research program to promote a safe, accessible learning environment and a sense of belonging for undergraduates from underrepresented groups, including strategies to create research programs/partnerships that implement research interests/approaches of value to underrepresented and underserved communities.
  • [25%] Mentorship: Thoughtfulness of the mentoring strategies to be used and their appropriateness and likelihood to succeed in nurturing students in the pursuit of a research career, including the research mentor's record of involvement with undergraduate research (including mentoring students from underrepresented groups).
  • [10%] Project Costs: Appropriateness of budget allocations to ensure student success in the research program.


Selection Criteria

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:

  1. Availability of funding.
  2. Balance/distribution of funds:
    1. Geographically
    2. By type of institution
    3. By type of partners
    4. By research priority
    5. By project types
  3. Duplication of other projects funded or considered for funding by California Sea Grant.
  4. Program priorities and policy factors.
  5. Applicant’s prior award performance.
  6. Applicants that come from and/or partner with diverse groups, mentors and underrepresented communities.



Budget Questions/Matching Funds Issues:

Rose Madson, Assistant Director -

Carol Bailey-Sumber, Grants Analyst –


Proposal and eSeaGrant Submission Questions:

Lian Guo, Research Coordinator –