West Coast Regional Social Science

Application Deadline: July 01, 2013

Regional Social Science Research Proposals for California, Oregon and Washington

Funding Cycle: February 1, 2014 – January 31, 2016


The California, University of Southern California, Oregon, and Washington Sea Grant programs are jointly interested in coordinated research efforts that bring together researchers from across the West Coast region to address specific social science and human-dimension issues of regional importance that align with the goals of the National Sea Grant College Program. Subject to the availability of funding, the four West Coast Sea Grant programs will make a total of $700,000 available collectively at the regional level over two years to fund projects. In addition, the National Sea Grant Office may augment available state program funds. Given these funding limits, we anticipate being able to fund between two and four regional projects for the 2014-2016 biennium. Individual projects should not request more than $100,000 per year (including indirect costs) from any relevant state Sea Grant program (total project costs can exceed $100K per year if more than one state Sea Grant program is involved). Projects will be selected through an open, competitive, peer-review process.

Research Priorities
Full Proposal
NOAA Data Sharing Requirement
More Information


  • Call for regional research projects issued: February 15, 2013
  • Pre-proposals due: April 1, 2013, by 11:59 pm PDT
  • Review and recommendations for full proposals: May 1, 2013
  • List of potential reviewers due June 3, 2013 (Reviewer list instructions) (updated 5/21/2013)
  • Full proposals due: July 1, 2013, by 11:59 pm PDT
  • Peer review and project selection: June - September 2013
  • Notice of funding decisions: Mid-September 2013
  • Projects begin: February 1, 2014

West Coast Social Science and Human-Dimension Research Priorities

Encompassing the shorelines, estuaries and offshore ocean environments from Washington to California, West Coast marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems are diverse and rapidly changing. Expanding pressures from population growth, changing land use and large-scale environmental shifts are affecting the natural resources and biogeochemical processes that sustain coastal regions and the communities, businesses and people that rely upon them.

The four West Coast Sea Grant programs are interested in regional proposals that address social science and human-dimension topics related to national Sea Grant goals for healthy coasts and oceans, safe and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, resilient coastal communities and economies, and environmental literacy and workforce development. Alignment is required with state, regional and national priorities identified in:

Our goal is to attract a wide range of social scientists (e.g. economists, anthropologists, geographers, community planners, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, learning scientists, historians, communications and decision scientists) to explore some important component of human interaction within coastal and marine ecosystems that is relevant to Sea Grant priorities. Project teams may include marine and environmental scientists. The range of potential marine and coastal research topics we are interested in supporting is diverse and includes, but is not limited to, proposals that address:

  • Valuation of marine ecosystem end products and services, including any trade-offs associated with managing human impacts on coastal ecosystems
  • Determination of the social, cultural and economic importance and value of consumptive and non-consumptive uses of coastal and marine environments (both economic and human-perception), including impacts on key coastal sectors such as tourism
  • Social impact assessments and economic analysis of community dependence on fishery, aquaculture and other resources
  • Development, adoption and implementation of more responsible harvesting techniques and practices and more effective management
  • Human dimensions of coastal hazard resiliency programs (e.g., factors and constraints affecting preparedness and response, vulnerability assessments, adaptive capacity)
  • Socio-economic challenges of coastal community management decisions related to regulation of fisheries or other natural resources, coastal hazard resiliency and coastal and marine planning
  • Socio-economic evaluation of the uses and non-market value of marine sanctuaries and marine protected areas
  • Relationships among social, economic and ecological sustainability and resilience of coastal regions
  • Human roles and responses to regional climate and environmental changes such as severe storms, coastal inundation, ocean acidification, sea level rise and shifting circulation and marine population distributions
  • Community and stakeholder engagement, visioning, social learning and other methods to support coastal sustainability and environmental protection

West Coast Regional Research Project Teams

  1. Regional research project teams are strongly encouraged to contact their respective Sea Grant program directors to discuss ideas and linkages prior to submitting a preliminary proposal (hereafter called a “pre-proposal”).
  2. Projects must be regional in scope (i.e., not specific to a narrow geographic region) and project teams must consist of investigators from two or more institutions within the three-state region. Project teams are encouraged to include investigators from two or more states, and priority may be given to multi-state projects. Projects must identify clear mechanisms for regional interaction and coordination. (Note – Investigators having project ideas that address a single-state priority and are limited in geographic scope are encouraged to contact their state’s Sea Grant program about other potential funding opportunities.)
  3. Project Principal Investigators (PIs) must be affiliated with a university, two- or four-year college, museum, research laboratory or other nonprofit or tribal research institution within the three-state region. Project Co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs) may be affiliated with the listed institutions, research institutions outside the region, state and federal agencies and for-profit and foreign organizations. Individuals from state and federal agencies and for-profit and foreign organizations are discouraged from requesting direct support, but their contributions can be counted as matching or in-kind support for the project. West Coast Sea Grant programs welcome proposals for cooperative projects involving research institutions and the private sector.
  4. Project participants who are employees of a West Coast Sea Grant program may be part of a project team and serve as co-PIs, but they may not be Project Principal Investigators (PIs). Project budgets may not include personnel support that would replace Sea Grant salaries and benefits.
  5. Federal law requires that Sea Grant programs provide a non-federal cost share of one dollar for every two dollars of federal funds received. The one-third match (at a minimum) of non-federal cost share will be required from each regional research project. 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 ship time supplied by non-federal sources, industry participation, and donated supplies, services, space, or equipment. For further information regarding matching funds, visit http://www.ucop.edu/raohome/ and select “OMB Circular A-110” from the menu options. Please contact your state Sea Grant program with questions about various sources and types of match. Your institution remains the final approver for all match included in the proposal.


Pre-proposal and Full Proposal Submission Mechanics


Submission of a pre-proposal from the Primary Principal Investigator (PI) for each project is mandatory. The pre-proposal will allow West Coast Sea Grant programs to examine the research concept with respect to eligibility requirements, identify correctible issues, and categorize proposals in order to prepare for the full proposal review process. The pre-proposal will also allow West Coast Sea Grant programs to provide encouragement or discouragement of submission of a full proposal based on ideas presented in the pre-proposal. However, any PI has the right to submit a proposal, even if discouraged based on the pre-proposal. Submission of multiple pre-proposals by a PI is not allowed.

We use the eSeagrant system for submission of a pre-proposal (and full proposal). Applicants (the primary PI) must register and submit the pre-proposal via the on-line submission “portal.”

Applicants will be submitting to the competition labeled “West Coast Regional Social Science (RSS)”. Pre-proposals must be received by 11:59 pm Pacific time, April 1, 2013. Late pre-proposals will not be accepted.

eSeagrant will require a Project Title for each pre-proposal/full proposal, and the institutional affiliation, contact information and a brief curriculum vita for each PI and co-PI. In addition, a pre-proposal requires submission of a separate Project Narrative (uploaded in pdf format), and basic budget estimates.

The Project Narrative represents the core of the pre-proposal. Proposers are asked to limit this document to NO MORE THAN FOUR (4) pages (less is fine, really!). The Narrative must lead with a brief Project Summary or Abstract. Thereafter the format is flexible, but we recommend you list project goals or objectives, provide a brief background justifying the project, briefly describe methods and state the likely value of project outcomes (to science, specific communities, regulators or the general public). We also recommend that you somewhere speak to the West Coast regional nature and value of the project. We encourage the use of headers to delimit appropriate sections of the narrative.

Budgets for the pre-proposal represent non-binding, good-faith budget estimates. We require separate budget worksheets for each institution comprising the regional research team that provide a year-one and year-two budget (a summary budget is calculated automatically). These budget sheets are on-line fillable forms and require information on direct and indirect costs requested, and matching (non-federal) costs to be provided (see above regarding Matching Funds). Do not complete a budget that combines states or institutions; PLEASE keep each institution’s budget separate.

If you have technical problems with completion and submission of your pre-proposal, please contact Roberto Chavez, California Sea Grant’s Programmer/Analyst, at (858) 534-4441 or rachavez@ucsd.edu. Upon submission of the pre-proposal, you should receive a reply via email indicating we have received it. If you do not receive an email reply within 24 hours, please contact us via telephone ASAP to confirm the status of your pre-proposal submission.

Full Proposal

Full proposals will be due July 1, 2013, by 11:59 pm PDT. Late proposals will not be accepted. Proposals will not be accepted unless a pre-proposal had been submitted previously (due April 1, 2013).

Submission is required using eSeagrant. Instructions and requirements for submission of a full proposal will be sent subsequently to PIs who have submitted a pre-proposal.

The West Coast Sea Grant programs will select projects for funding based on how proposals are evaluated by expert reviewers according to the following criteria and weightings:

  1. Project Relevance (30%): Importance, relevance and applicability of proposed project to the region; societal relevance; contribution to capacity building in the social and human-dimension sciences and partnerships at all levels (student, investigator, institution and region).
  2. Technical and Scientific Merit (30%): The degree to which the activity will advance scientific understanding and whether the approach is technically sound and innovative, including:
    • clearly stated goals and measurable objectives;
    • project technical feasibility and use of appropriate methods;
    • appropriate mechanisms to evaluate the success of the project; and
    • the likelihood of meeting milestones and achieving anticipated results in the time proposed.
  3. Engagement Plan (20%): Description of how specifically targeted groups will learn about and benefit from research outcomes through outreach, communications and education activities. The degree to which Sea Grant outreach staff or other potential users of the results have been and will be included in project planning and implementation.
  4. Qualifications of Applicants (10%): Whether the project team is regional in scope and possesses the necessary education, experience, training, facilities and administrative resources to accomplish the project.
  5. Project Costs (10%): Budget evaluation to determine if costs are realistic and commensurate with the project needs and time-frame, reasonable given the availability of program funds, and effectively leverage other resources to achieve project objectives.

NOAA Data Sharing Requirement (effective for all new NOAA funded research projects)

Because funds for this research program ultimately are provided by NOAA, all new Sea Grant awards will have to conform to NOAA’s Directive on Data Management, available at https://www.nosc.noaa.gov/EDMC/documents/EDMC-PD-DMP-2.0.1.pdf. This directive says:

Environmental data will be visible, accessible and independently understandable to users, except where limited by law, regulation, policy (such as those applicable to personally identifiable information or protected critical infrastructure information or proprietary trade information) or by security requirements.

Accordingly, data and information collected and/or created under Sea Grant 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).

No action by proposers regarding this policy is required for submission of pre-proposals. However, proposers should understand that in the Full Proposal stage, the Principal Investigator will be required to address this requirement explicitly and explain how data and metadata will be stored and provided, upon request.

For Further Information

Prospective investigators should contact their state Sea Grant program regarding possible research ideas and partnerships:


Penny Dalton, Director
Raechel Waters, Assistant Director for Research
Washington Sea Grant
University of Washington
3716 Brooklyn Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
P: 206.543.6600
E: wsgrfp@uw.edu


Stephen Brandt, Director
Oregon Sea Grant
Oregon State University
1600 SW Western Blvd., Suite 350
Corvallis, Oregon 97333
P: 541-737-3396
E: seagrant.admin@oregonstate.edu


James Eckman, Director
California Sea Grant
University of California
9500 Gilman Dr., 0232 La Jolla, CA 92093-0232
P: 858.534.4440
E: sgproposal@ucsd.edu

University of Southern California

Linda Duguay, Director
Phyllis Grifman, Associate Director
USC Sea Grant
University of Southern California
University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
P: 213.740.1961
E: seagrant@usc.edu