Call for Full Proposals 2018

Application Deadline: August 01, 2017

Below are instructions for preparing and submitting a full proposal to California Sea Grant for consideration for funding from our Core Program in 2018.  You may submit a proposal ONLY if you previously submitted a 2018 pre-proposal to us (due March 2017).



  • July 25, 2017 – List of 10 potential reviewers due to
  • August 1, 2017Full proposals due by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
  • August - September 2017 (approx.) – Peer review and project selection
  • Early October 2017 (approx.) – Proposal authors notified
  • On/after February 1, 2018 – Projects begin (depending on timing of funding of California Sea Grant by NOAA)

Highlights for 2018 Proposals

  • Proposals must be submitted using our new eSeaGrant system – an email invitation with a link will be sent to you with eSeaGrant instructions.  Please email Miho if you did not receive an email.  
  • We ask each proposer to send to us the name and contact information (institutional affiliation, email, and phone number) of 10 potential (non-conflicted) reviewers. You may use something similar to this document. Send this information to
  • This year we solicited applications for “Standard Core Awards” of 2-years duration and at levels of funding up to a maximum of $125,000/year, plus (optionally) one graduate trainee. Pre-proposals MUST be based on pre-proposals submitted to us earlier, though researchers may modify their plans based on reviewer comments and new developments.

Applicants are encouraged to look at the full 2018-2021 California Sea Grant Strategic Plan and 2014-2017 National Sea Grant Strategic Plan for more information on research priorities.



Proposal Review Process
Criteria for Proposal Evaluation
General Format
How to Submit a Full Proposal
Contents of a Full Proposal
Preparing Budget Forms

The California Sea Grant College Program solicits proposals for a variety of funding opportunities. The process described below is for submission to this year’s Standard Core Award research competition. In addition to Special Focus and Standard Core Award competitions, the program administers National Sea Grant College Program competitions that include a variety of fellowships, National Strategic Investments, and special one-time funding opportunities; the process described below does not pertain to these other special competitions.

Each year a call for preliminary project proposals is widely distributed throughout California.  Preliminary proposals are reviewed by California Sea Grant technical staff and the California Sea Grant Committee (outside panelists selected for disciplinary expertise).  At this stage, screening is based on the project’s innovative approach, uniqueness of the idea, importance, quality of science, and appropriateness to Sea Grant.  Each pre-proposal is considered on its own merits without regard for campus or institutional affiliation.  In addition, the Resources Agency Sea Grant Advisory Panel (RASGAP) also will review preliminary proposals.  Input from RASGAP is directed toward identifying research priorities based on state need.  Full proposals are encouraged on those topics that rate highest based on scientific value and state need.

Full proposals are distributed to external merit reviewers who are chosen for their expertise relative to the topic of each proposal. The California Sea Grant Committee meets to evaluate full proposals with the benefit of the written merit reviews. Criteria for selection at this step include: (1) rationale; (2) scientific merit and impact or outreach quality; (3) innovativeness; (4) programmatic justification; (5) practical impact and user relationships; and (6) relationship to Sea Grant priorities. Merit reviews, user collaboration, expected impact (scientific and practical), and (optional) letters of support from potential users help determine whether these criteria are met. The RASGAP also meets again to evaluate full proposals and provide advice to Sea Grant. 

When all the input is received from the external merit reviewers, 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) .

Discouraged preliminary proposals may still be submitted as formal proposals. That choice is up to the proposers.  However, discouragement represents the collective opinion of California Sea Grant and its advisors that any proposal submitted, based on that pre-proposal, has a compartively low probability of being funded. 

If you have any questions, call the California Sea Grant office at (858) 534-4440

The California Sea Grant College Program (CSGCP) will use the following criteria in evaluating projects.  Not all are given equal weight.

  • Project Rationale
    The degree to which the proposed activity addresses an important issue, problem or opportunity in the health, development, use or management of marine or coastal resources and ecosystems.
  • Scientific Merit
    The degree to which the activity will advance the state of the science or discipline through use of state-of-the-art methods.
  • Innovativeness
    The degree to which new approaches to solving problems and exploiting opportunities in resource management or development will be employed; alternatively, the degree to which the activity will focus on important or potentially important ecosystem problems, resources and issues.
  • Programmatic Justification and Relationship to Sea Grant Priorities
    The degree to which the proposed activity will contribute to reaching the objectives of the CSGCP as described in the California Sea Grant 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, and the degree to which the proposed activity addresses the needs of important state, regional or national constituencies.
  • User Relationships & Outreach
    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.
  • Qualifications and Past Record of Investigators
    The degree to which investigators are qualified by education, training and/or experience to execute the proposed activity. Evidence of any record of achievement with previous funding.

Listed below are the instructions for preparing a Sea Grant proposal. Individual proposals, which include a title page, narratives, project summaries, budget pages, budget justification, 2-page curricula vitae, data sharing plan, and optional letters of support, will be compiled to form the omnibus proposal submitted to the National Sea Grant Program. To facilitate completion of the omnibus proposal, we require that your proposal be prepared according to the following specifications:

  1. Type Fonts: 11 point Arial or Helvetica.
  2. Margins: Side, top and bottom margins should be approximately 1 inch each.
  3. Line Spacing: The narrative of the proposal should be single-spaced. Please do not use 1½ line spacing.
  4. Format Style:
  •  Project Title: centered
  •  Narrative Headings: left justified, bold
  •  Page numbers: recommended 

5. Graphics: Any tables, figures and illustrations must be submitted in final form and appended to or embedded within the narrative.   Graphics count toward the 12-page limit of the proposal narrative. The list of references do not count toward the 12-page limit.

Electronic Submission

Submission is required using our new eSeaGrant system (upgraded from the one used past years) – an email invitation with a link will be sent to you with eSeaGrant instructions.  Please email Miho if you did not receive an email.

eSeaGrant provides separate files for download to allow proposers to fill out (1) a title page, (2) budget with budget justification, and (3) details on matching funds. These pages may require additional calculations and pop-up pages, so please allow your browser to display pop-up windows and enable Javascript.

eSeaGrant provides sections to fill in or upload signed (endorsed) title pages, project narratives, budget details, matching funds form, current and pending support, CVs, optional support letters and a data management plan. 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.

Listed below are the requirements for a complete proposal package. Please use this as an inventory checklist to aid you in preparing the full proposal.

Title Page
A signed title page (blank copy downloadable in Excel or pdf format here) 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.

Project Summary
The Project Summary is fillable on-line in eSeaGrant.  Proposers will need to prepare separate sections for objectives, methodology and rationale to complete the project summary form. The project summary presents a concise description of the proposed research in a form useful to a variety of readers not requiring detailed information. Instructions are available in eSeaGrant that should help applicants to accurately complete the form. Please follow them carefully - the project summary is the most widely consulted description of your project. 

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, illustrations, charts, tables, and figures). Proposals exceeding this size limit will not be reviewed

  • Introduction and Background – Provide the rationale for your project (a well-defined problem or important opportunity). Show a clear relationship between the problem statement and the project objectives. Merit, rationale, innovativeness and utilization for the research proposed are criteria by which proposals are evaluated. Thus, a clear, concise statement of the “real world” need for your research (rationale) and a description of who might use the results and how they might use them (utilization) should be addressed.
  • Objectives – In number or “bullet” format, list the Objectives or Goals of the research program.
  • Approach (Plan of Work) – Present the scientific/technical approach, experiments, procedures, 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.)

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 entered directly 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 will need to be stated in eSeaGrant.

Budgets and Budget Justification
The maximum budget is $125,000 per year, to include indirect costs, excluding the cost of a graduate student stipend.  In addition to the $125,00 per year limit, proposers may also request support for one graduate trainee, if justified.  In considering budgets, please note that graduate trainee stipends 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 his/her level of experience; however, in any case no more than $28,500 per year in stipend can be requested.  Tuition remission, if requested, must come from the $125,000 per year limit.

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.  Matching funds will also be itemized on this budget worksheet.  Matching funds must total at least 50% of TOTAL funds requested, including the amount requested for a graduate trainee (see below for details).

All budget sections will require justification. Review our website to see what is expected as justification for each section.

A budget workbook in 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 try to submit the Excel file as your final budget

CVs (maximum 2 pages for each person) of all key personnel (PIs, co-PIs, Associate PIs) must be included in the submission. Each CV should have an investigator record created in eSeaGrant. It is possible that some investigators already have basic information stored in our database. A search by email address may help find those matching records. If no record is found, please fill out a new record. In all cases, please upload a 2-page CV through that investigator’s form.

Note: Several reviewers have complained about PIs and co-PIs providing excessively long CVs, and we are sympathetic to their complaints. If you have uploaded a longer CV, please replace it with one of no more than 2 pages length. Sea Grant will provide reviewers only with the first 2 pages of CV for each PI and co-PI.

Current and Pending Support
Using the section online, please list other current and pending projects associated with investigators.

Proposed Sources of Matching Funds
Please list the proposed source(s) of Institutional and Other Non-Federal matching funds associated with your proposal on the form provided here.  The completed Matching Funds form must be converted to a pdf and uploaded into eSeaGrant.

Support Letters

Support letters are optional. However, if they are to be included in the application, please consolidate all letters into one PDF for uploading to eSeaGrant.

Direct any questions regarding indirect cost rates, employee benefit rates, person-months, etc., to your campus research office.

NOTE: For proposals encompassing more than one campus, complete separate budget worksheets for each campus. Budget limits described above refer to the CUMULATIVE amount requested for all campuses combined. In addition, please send an excel file of all your budgets including a cumulative budget inclusive of all institutions to

Budget Justification for eSG

Clearly identify and justify all budgeted items, whether requested from Sea Grant or proposed as cost sharing. Itemize expendable supplies and equipment. All costs must be allocable to this project, so clear explanations and justifications for all items will reduce the amount of questions regarding your budget by technical reviewers, administrative staff and the NOAA grants office.

Each line item on the Budget Form must have a corresponding justification.


A Sea Grant Research Trainee is a full-time registered graduate student who is working toward an advanced degree related to marine or coastal sciences. The traineeship stipend will be set to the amount paid a 12-month, 50%-time graduate stipend at the host university’s approved graduate student researcher rate, not to exceed $28,5000 per year.  The traineeship stipend does not cover graduate student tuition and fees. Tuition and fees, if requested, should be included in project costs. The traineeship stipend, tuition and fees are not subject to indirect costs per Federal Regulation 15CFR917.10.

Matching Funds Requirement

According to 1976 legislation authorizing the Sea Grant College Program, the project leader is required to match each $2 received in NOAA/Sea Grant Funds with at least $1 from nonfederal sources. Should you not be able to obtain the full 50% match, please contact California Sea Grant to discuss your situation.  Inability to provide at least 50% match jeopardizes your ability to qualify for funding.

Examples of allowable items for matching funds include:

  1. Existing salaries and fringe benefits of investigators and others when paid from nonfederal sources.  However, the percentage of salary allowable must not exceed the percentage of time actually spent on the Sea Grant activity and the salary rate must be that established by the institutions.  Sea Grant funds may not be used to augment salary scales nor to pay consulting fees over and above the salaries of persons participating in the grant.
  2. Expendable supplies and equipment used in the Sea Grant activity when purchased with other than federal funds.
  3. Equipment purchased with nonfederal funds, when the equipment is to be used solely or primarily in the Sea Grant activity and when the equipment is not included in calculations of indirect cost rates. The full initial cost of equipment may be used for matching during the life of the Sea Grant project if the equipment was purchased specifically for the Sea Grant project. In most cases, only a pro-rata portion of the depreciated value of the equipment is allowable. Please refer to 15 CFR Part 14.23 or OMB Circular A-110 (Subpart C—Post Award Requirements, Section .23, Cost sharing or matching) for matching funds criteria.
  4. Ship-time provided with nonfederal funds.
  5. Industry, state agency and other nonfederal participation.  Donated supplies, services, building space or equipment may be included.

Costs for research, education and training or advisory service activities entirely funded by nonfederal sources, for which other than Sea Grant funds are requested, are allowable provided the activity is formally approved by Sea Grant. To obtain this approval, it must be part of and relevant to the program proposed and of a quality that would entitle it to Sea Grant support.