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State Science Information Needs Program

Updated September 30, 2020

State Science Information Needs Program
In 2019, COAST received a one-time $3 million appropriation in the state budget (see Budget Request Letters​). The purpose of the funding is to enable COAST to significantly increase support for research confronting California’s most critical ocean concerns and solutions. In response, COAST designed an entirely new funding program, the State Science Information Needs Program (SSINP), to meet the legislative intent of the funding.

SSINP focuses directly and exclusively on supporting the state of California’s highest priority marine, coastal, and coastal watershed related needs for scientific information. The goal of the program is to provide the science needed for informed policy development and evidence-based decision making in a timely and actionable manner.

Identification of High Priority State Science Information Needs
Rather than require applicants to identify stakeholder needs for information, SSINP engages agencies from the beginning to ensure that their needs are well represented in grant solicitations. Structured interviews with state agencies with relevant jurisdiction have been and will continue to be conducted in order to identify these needs. The following topics have initially been identified as the highest marine, coastal, and coastal-watershed priorities for the state:

  • Sea-level rise
  • Ocean acidification and hypoxia
  • Water pollution (including marine debris and microplastics)
  • Sustainable fisheries (including marine protected area management and sustainable aquaculture)
  • If additional high priority areas are identified through interviews with state agencies, they will be considered for inclusion in the SSINP.

    This program is also intended to benefit the CSU through increased faculty scholarship, student engagement and workforce development. Only CSU faculty members can serve as lead Principal Investigators (PIs). Non-CSU collaborators can serve as co-PIs. There are limitations on the amount of funding co-PIs can receive. 

    Available Funding and Award Information 
    The total amount of funding available for research under SSINP is $2.6 million. Most awards will range from $200,000-$400,000; requests up to $500,000 with significant justification may be considered. 

    Funds will be disbursed through competitive Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in order to promote transparency and fairness. Three to four RFPs are anticipated to be released between January 2020 and early 2021. RFPs may solicit proposals to respond to state research questions on one particular topic (e.g. sea-level rise) or on multiple topics (e.g. sea-level rise and marine debris).  

    It is expected that all SSINP awards will be made by June 2021. In order to provide the state with scientific information in a relevant time frame, awards will be 30 months in duration. 

    Expedited Grant Application Process
    In order to help meet urgent state needs for scientific information that arise unexpectedly, smaller research grants (up to $50,000) will be disbursed through an expedited grant application process. RFPs for this process will be released as needed. Projects funded under this expedited process will be completed in 12 months or less, thereby enabling the state to utilize the results quickly.

    Collaboration with State Agencies
    To ensure that the results from this new program can be readily incorporated into improved management and decision-making, at the outset of each project COAST will facilitate strong partnerships between the principal investigators (PIs) and the state agency(ies) that will benefit from the research results. Additionally, PIs will brief policy and decision-makers on their research activities and preliminary results within 12-18 months of the project start date. To help PIs prepare for briefings, COAST will provide communication training and support. 

    Round 1 RFP: Please see our press release for information on the awards made from the Round 1 RFP on microplastics and microfibers.

    Round 2 RFP​: Sea-level rise (Closed, funding decisions will be announced in early 2021).

    Round 3 RFP will be released in late 2020/early 2021. Please familiarize yourself with our program and required documents through the links below.

    Grant Guidelines​ 
    SSINP Budget Sign-Off Form​​
    Reassigned Time Request Example Letter
    Prior Funding Report Form​ (for faculty members who have received prior funding through COAST within the last five years)

    California Sea Grant New Faculty Funding Program: Request Matching Funds from COAST (closed)
    In May 2020, COAST provided match support for new faculty who applied to California Sea Grant’s New Faculty Funding Program (new faculty defined as those who received their first ever faculty appointment no earlier than January 1, 2018). California Sea Grant anticipates making awards in October 2020. More information on COAST’s process to provide match support can be found here​.

    ​Stay Up To Date on Future RFPs!
    We anticipate releasing at least one more , RFP in the coming months (topic TBD). Please sign up for COAST Faculty Email List​ to be notified of the release of future RFPs or updates to the SSINP Grant Guidelines​.


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