Program Development

Maine Sea Grant Program Development Funds
Guidelines & Instructions for Applicants

I. Guidelines for Program Development Funding

Each year Maine Sea Grant allocates part of its budget for Program Development funds. Typical awards are $1,000 – $5,000. The National Sea Grant Office allows state programs to award these funds to enhance their strategic plan goals. Proposed projects must align with Maine Sea Grant’s strategic goals and objectives, and applicants must express how the project will add value to Maine Sea Grant’s research, extension, education, and outreach efforts in the program’s current strategic focus areas. Program Development awards are generally for pilot projects and proof-of-concept with the intent of seeding an idea for later development into larger funding proposals. Preference will be given to projects that develop novel methods or approaches, projects that leverage other funding and efforts, and projects that demonstrate the potential to generate meaningful outcomes and accomplishments. 

Proposals for use of these funds may also include travel and support for workshops or conferences, although less than 25% of the funds will be used in that manner with restrictions as outlined in the conference support section below. Program Development awards may not be used to support PI salaries or indirect costs. Proposal budgets exceeding $5,000 should be discussed with Maine Sea Grant personnel prior to submission. All proposals are subject both to review, and to the availability of funds. An internal review panel will make decisions on Program Development awards. 

a. Conference Support

Requests for conference support are scrutinized very closely. Maine Sea Grant may provide up to a maximum of $1,000 for conference support. Exceptions to this policy may occur if Maine Sea Grant plays a substantive role in the planning and/or implementation of the conference. As with other Program Development proposals, requests for conference support must show a clear linkage to Maine Sea Grant strategic focus areas

Support for faculty (and other full-time employee) conference travel is rarely provided, and must be justified strongly in terms of Maine Sea Grant’s areas of strategic focus. Limitations to the use of development funds for travel include:

    • Travel by tenured university faculty members (or untenured associate or full professors) is not eligible for support. Travel for untenured assistant professors and non-tenure track staff may be supported in rare circumstances, and then only if clear linkages to Maine Sea strategic focus areas are demonstrated, and if no other sources of travel funds are available.
    • Student travel may be supported if funds are justified in terms of active participation with clear benefits (e.g., presentation of research results that are clearly linked to Maine Sea Grant’s focus areas, and for which travel funds are otherwise unavailable).
    • Similar limitations apply to non-university employees. Travel for senior-level, permanent employees will not be supported using Program Development funds. Travel for junior-level employees may be available under the same limitations that apply to non-tenure track university staff.

b. Eligibility 

Requests for support through Maine Sea Grant Program Development awards will be considered as long as funds are available. Requests may be submitted by individuals affiliated with any Maine-based formal or informal academic or educational institutions, research laboratories, extension/outreach facilities, state or local agencies, or for-profit institutions or companies.  Please note that any data, information, and/or technologies or other outputs resulting from such an award may not be considered proprietary. Maine Sea Grant requires active sharing, extension and educational efforts and outputs in conjunction with the award of program development funding and all results are subject to NOAA data sharing policies and must be made freely available to the public.

II. To Apply

Interested applicants are encouraged to share their ideas with Sea Grant staff members prior to submitting a request. Applicants should submit their final request using the InfoReady online application interface.

How to Use InfoReady Review

    1. Login to the system using your University of Maine System Single Sign On (or created a registration if accessing this platform from outside of the UMS).
    2. Find and click on the Open Competition of interest (bottom left).
    3. Click “Apply” (top right of competition screen).
    4. Provide required Proposal details and attachments.
    5. Follow the competition-specific instructions regarding materials to down- or upload, or complete online.
    6. Save any unfinished work to be completed later.
    7. Complete and submit application before the deadline.

Application Status Updates

    • Look for automated application status emails.
    • Emails will come from the UMaine competition administrator, but message content will include InfoReady Review” in the header.

III. Considerations for Proposal Evaluation

The following will be taken into consideration to evaluate the feasibility and merit of project proposals:

  • Alignment with Maine Sea Grant strategic plan
  • Potential to result in measurable impact within the State of Maine
  • Timeliness of the proposed activity
  • Potential to leverage other funds
  • Proof of concept for further development
  • Commitment from other partners
  • Fostering relationships with other partners
  • Innovation and relevance to emerging issues
  • Potential for outreach and engagement
  • Opportunities for student training and professional development

IV. Timing of decisions and distributions

To ensure that funds are available throughout the year, including a reserve for responding to emergency issues, Program Development proposals are evaluated and awards granted two times per year, according to the schedule below. This timeline may be waived in emergency situations demanding rapid response. Rapid response proposal ideas must be discussed with the Assistant Director for Research.

  • Deadlines: October 12, 2023 5:00 PM (EST) and January 22, 2024 5:00 PM (EST)

Generally, decisions on proposals are made within one month of submission and disbursements are made as soon as possible based on institutional requirements.

All field-based projects (research, outreach or education) require a completed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance Questionnaire and copies of sampling licenses and permits (if applicable) at the time of proposal submission. Funding for field-based projects is contingent upon final NEPA approval which may take 6-10 weeks from the close of the competitions. Submission of a NEPA form is required at the time of application to expedite funds being disbursed.

Related Documents:

Maine Sea Grant Strategic Plan (PDF)