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Focused Research Proposals

The Focused Research approach was designed to identify important maritime needs and gather the resources needed to address them. We strive to identify a faculty leader (Principal Investigator) with a team able to articulate a research need of national concern, or of regional concern but with nationally applicable results. The research team should be multi-disciplined, and preferably multi-institutional. The Principal Investigator also needs to be able to raise significant funds from sources other than Sea Grant.

The MIT Sea Grant research agenda is influenced by the MIT Faculty Committee and State-Industry Advisory Council. The research topics listed below result from our ongoing evaluation and planning process. In consultation with our industrial, academic and public agency affiliates, we are predisposed to favor proposals related to:

Focused Research projects require a comprehensive approach where the biological sciences, physical oceanography and engineering disciplines are meshed with public policy and perhaps with educational issues. Focused Research should aim to arrive at a substantial level of new insight, improved control of the marine ecosystem, and/or real solutions to maritime problems.

Multi-Year Time Schedule



Year 1
During the first year, potential Principal Investigators and their colleagues work with the Sea Grant Director and staff to carry out preliminary research to establish the soundness of the project, to identify additional partners, and to encourage participation of state and federal agencies with compatible interests and needs. Part of the process is to define an Advisory Committee to help guide and evaluate the larger research program. The Advisory Committee should have a schedule of regular meetings. Sea Grant investment will be $100,000 with only $50,000 in matching funds expected from collaborating partners.

Year 2
Research activities begin. The Principal Investigators, the Sea Grant Director and the Advisory Committee identify and solicit additional sponsors with the expectation that the external sponsors will provide approximately $250,000 in funds. Sea Grant will provide an additional $150,000. The project will be subjected to peer-review before further funding.

Year 3 - 5
Continue with the research program. During this three-year period, Sea Grant will likely invest another $200,000 ($75,000, $75,000, $50,000) while outside sponsors provide a total of $1.2 million. In year 4 the project will be subjected to peer-review before further funding.

Year 6
Year six will focus almost entirely upon the technology transfer process. This process includes educating partners in using the research results and in transferring "know-how," documentation, procedures and, in appropriate cases, computer code to the co-sponsors and other members of the broader user community. Sea Grant's contribution in the Full year will be $100,000; planned contributions from outside sponsors is expected to be $200,000.

Matching Funds and Non-Federal Contributions



By law at least 50% of the funding directly from the National Sea Grant College Program must be matched with additional funds from non-federal sources. The balance of necessary matching funds can come from any source including federal sources. It is only in year one that the entire required match need be from non-federal sources. In years two through six the additional 50% of Sea Grant funding from non-federal sources must be supplemented with additional matching funds, from federal as well as non-federal sources, to satisfy the total matching requirement.

The following table should help in understanding this funding requirement.

Project Year

Sea Grant Funds

Total Matching Funds

Non-Federal Matching Funds

Year 1

$100,000

$50,000

$50,000

Year 2

150,000

250,000

75,000

Year 3

75,000

400,000

37,500

Year 4

75,000

400,000

37,500

Year 5

50,000

400,000

25,000

Year 6

100,000

200,000

50,000

A researcher who wishes to apply for Focused Program funding must adhere to the deadlines given in the Proposal Schedule and follow the online instructions for preparing the Preliminary Proposal and the Full Proposal. Our online forms generally require that you write in Microsoft Word.

The Director may, at his/her discretion, remove a proposal from further consideration at any point in this process if an investigator has overdue obligations to the MIT Sea Grant College Program under a previous research contract.

Contact Information



If you have any questions regarding proposal preparation, please contact one of the following MIT Sea Grant representatives:

Tim Downes, Assistant Director
Administrative/Financial Officer
Human Resources Manager
Affirmative Action Officer
, tdownes@mit.edu, 617 253-7138

Katharine de Zengotita, Program Coordinator, kdez@mit.edu, 617-253-7042

Ben Bray, Web Developer, bbray@mit.edu, 617-252-1675

This page was last modified: August 4, 2014 10:48 am