Sea Grant's university-based research is of high quality and chosen to study priority questions. It has the scientific rigor of work funded by the National Science Foundation with the additional requirement of real-world stakeholder review. New York Sea Grant’s research is expected to “make a difference” by providing useful results to the public, businesses, and managers. Given the variety of marine, aquatic and coastal topics covered by our grants to top-notch physical oceanographers, food scientists, benthic ecologists, aquatic toxicologists, fisheries modelers, geochemists, and others, NYSG serves as an important resource for New Yorkers with many different interests and information needs. NYSG research also sets benchmarks within the scientific community, advancing the state of knowledge in many fields. NYSG works with its funded PI’s to help disseminate their research results in a variety of ways—workshops, meetings, journal articles, media coverage, periodic newsletters, web site postings, etc.
NYSG’s 2015 research budget was more than $1.4 million. Competition for grant funds is high, and the selection of projects for NYSG’s portfolio is a science in itself. It includes programmatic screening of pre-proposals submitted in response to a priority-driven Call for Proposals (CFP), followed by peer review and Technical Review Panel evaluation of full proposals, and input from Extension staff and stakeholders. Final selection depends on technical soundness and anticipated usefulness of the results. Even if a proposal addresses a crucially important topic, if the science or methods are questionable or subpar, New York Sea Grant will not fund it. The rigor of our technical review process is highly praised and provides the foundation for NYSG’s scientific credibility.
NYSG research and grant-making policies require the awardee institution to commit, and eventually document, matching funds equivalent to 50% of the Sea Grant funds received. Matching funds can take several forms: non-federal funds committed to the same research project, research personnel time spent on the project that is uncompensated by the Sea Grant award, waived/reduced administrative fees such as indirect costs, facilities/equipment use fees, etc.
New York State has tremendous research talent in its many universities and research-capable institutions. NYSG’s CFP is sent to more than 300 individuals in nearly 100 institutions, usually attracting about four times as many applications as can be funded. New faculty names are continually being added to our mailing list and roster of funded investigators. Occasionally we must look beyond New York’s borders to find expertise for certain topics, including participation in regional research efforts with neighboring Sea Grant programs, but funding New York State-based faculty helps to reinforce and build their interests in addressing the state’s coastal problems and opportunities.