California Sea Grant Program Development Awards

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*Please note that in light of COVID-19 budget uncertainties we are suspending the Program Development Awards opportunity until further notice and will not be accepting proposal ideas at this time.

Program Development awards support short-term activities that include quick responses to unexpected events, program-development efforts, or conferences/workshops. The turnaround time between the date of proposal review and beginning of the project is typically 2 months. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a member of the Science Integration Team or before writing a Program Development proposal.

The California Sea Grant College Program emphasizes innovative research on ocean and coastal resources and processes with a well-developed rationale and a strong potential for broad application. University-based research that has broad national or international application is appropriate. Work with a strong theoretical basis that encompasses clear, testable hypotheses is desirable; low priority is given to survey or inventory studies. Research that addresses important regional issues, problems and opportunities is also appropriate. An educational or outreach component of research projects is valued.

*Note: Only applicants based in California are eligible to receive Program Development Awards

Requirements for Program Development Proposals
Procedure for Submission, Selection and Award of Projects
Proposal Contents
Post Award Requirements

Requirements for Program Development Proposals


  1. Timeliness/Urgency of the Research - Because conditions in the marine environment can change rapidly as a result of both human and natural causes, problems that need immediate attention can arise and are not amenable to waiting until the next Core Proposal cycle. 
  2. Proof of Concept/Preliminary Data - A small, short-term project may be needed to demonstrate that the concept or approach has merit especially in light of plans to develop a full proposal in the next Core Proposal cycle. Or, the proposal idea needs sufficient or additional preliminary data to make it competitive. 
  3. Travel to Meetings to Present Findings from Sea Grant Funded Research - Funds are needed to cover one investigator (PI or student) to disseminate research results at a relevant scientific meeting that was unplanned and is taking place shortly after the end of the original grant period. 

**Please note that in light of COVID-19 we are not accepting proposals for travel at this time.


**Please note that in light of COVID-19 we are not accepting proposals for conferences and workshops at this time.

  1. Objective of the conference/workshop – Funds are needed to successfully execute a meeting with topical relevance to California Sea Grant (see Strategic Plan for topics of interest to California Sea Grant), and addresses the needs of important state, regional or national constituencies.   Funds typically are requested to provide travel support for invited speakers; to publish meeting proceedings and/or programs; and for meeting coordination. Grant funds should not be requested to cover entertainment-related (including food) expenses.
  2. Outcome of workshop – Deliverables and/or products that will come out of the conference/workshop and the larger impact it will have.

Additional Requirements

  • Program Development proposals are restricted to one year in length (or less) and less than $10,000 in cost, including indirect costs.
  • Sea Grant authorizing legislation requires a minimum match of 50% from non-federal funds. If you find you are unable to meet this requirement in full, please contact Rose Madson ( to work out a solution.
  • Proposals with total project costs (including indirect costs) over $10,000 are sent by California Sea Grant to the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO) for review and approval (which may delay the award by at least two additional months).  Proposals exceeding $10,000 are therefore generally discouraged.
  • Questions regarding indirect cost rates, employee benefit rates, time devoted to project, etc., should be addressed to your campus research office.
  • To complete submission of a Program Development proposal please use eSeaGrant.

Procedure for Submission, Selection and Award of Projects

  1. Contact a member of the Science Integration Team or email to discuss the project idea, provide intent to submit or to ask questions regarding program development. California Sea Grant staff will give you access to eSeaGrant if proposal submission is encouraged. 
  2. Submit proposal via eSeaGrant
  3. Evaluation and consideration of program development requests by California Sea Grant Management Team and external reviewers.
  4. Budget or proposal adjustments to conform to funding decision. 
  5. Receipt of award letter and conditions of award; project begins.

Proposal Contents

Listed below are the contents of a program development proposal. A complete proposal must be submitted electronically via eSeaGrant. Please abide by guideline specifications and page limitations.

  1. Cover Sheet – Use the form titled Program Development Budget Workbook. Complete as indicated and obtain the required signatures. 
  2. Narrative - Limit the narrative to a maximum of 5 pages, single spaced. The narrative limit does not include references.
  3. Budget Summary and Source of Matching Funds Forms - Direct any questions regarding indirect cost rates, employee benefit rates, percents of time, etc., to your campus research office.
  4. Budget Justification - Justify all permanent equipment, foreign and domestic travel, consultants, summer salary requests and research trainees.
  5. Curriculum Vitae  - Brief (2 pages) are required for principal investigators.
  6. Data Management Plan (if applicable)
  7. Proposed Reviewers - Please enter information of at six five potential reviewers who you believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and any names of people that you would not want to have your proposal reviewed by.


Program development awards will be reviewed on a roughly quarterly basis. 

The following are the 2020 deadlines: 

  • August 31, 2020

Post Award Requirements

Post Award Requirements - A completed final report must be submitted at the conclusion of a Program Development project via eSeaGrant.

For further assistance, contact the California Sea Grant Office:



Science Integration Team: