What We Fund

San Francisco Bay - Photo credit: Tom Muehleisen

The NERRS Science Collaborative funds user-driven, collaborative research and science transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

What is Collaborative Research?

The scientific community has become increasingly aware of the need to address the gap between the production of science and its application to management and policy decision-making. Collaborative research is a type of multidisciplinary, participatory research that integrates decision-makers into the research process and fosters two-way communication and learning. It presents a promising way to increase the usability of science and to address the gap between science production and use. Learn more about collaborative research here.

What are Critical Management Needs?

Program Focus Areas

Consistent with the NERRS Strategic Plan, NOAA has identified the following focus areas for Science Collaborative funding opportunities in 2019 - 2023:

  • Climate change - Research and monitoring related to biophysical, social, economic and behavioral impacts of habitat change resulting from climate change and/or coastal development;
  • Water quality - Understanding the impacts of land use change, eutrophication, and contamination in estuarine ecosystems and the options for management and mitigation;
  • Habitat restoration - Investigating options for improving estuarine habitat resilience; processes for identifying, prioritizing, and restoring sites; and monitoring and evaluating success;
  • Ecosystem service valuation - Understanding how an ecosystem service approach can be utilized to support the protection and restoration of estuarine systems; and
  • Monitoring data synthesis - Syntheses of long-term monitoring data and information, originating from programs such as the NERRS System-wide Monitoring Program and associated monitoring efforts, to develop regional and national data products that address coastal management priorities for the NERRS and NOAA.

Reserve Management Needs

Projects supported by the NERRS Science Collaborative must be developed in close collaboration with at least one reserve within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System to ensure the work addresses a current management need. NOAA annually solicits and compiles reserve management needs, which are referenced in annual proposal solicitations from the Science Collaborative.To learn more about the current topics and isues of interest to each reserve and the process of developing reserve management need statements, see:

Reserve Management Needs Summary (October 2019)
Guidance for developing annual reserve management need statements
Template for submitting management needs for 2021 RFPs

What Types of Grants are Offered?

The Science Collaborative offers grants for several types of activities, including collaborative research, science transfer, and catalyst efforts. These projects offer an opportunity for researchers and managers to work together and define, co-develop, and deliver relevant, usable results that address critical coastal management issues. Regardless of grant type, all Science Collaborative projects must address a need identified by one or more reserves, and projects teams must work closely with the intended users of project results.

  Collaborative Research Science Transfer Catalyst
Purpose Generate new science that informs decisions Promote the use of science Targeted investment to advance collaborative science
Funding Amount Up to $200,000/yr $45,000-$100,000 $75,000-$200,000
Project Length 1-3 years Up to 2 years 1 year
Offered Annually (2019-2021) Annually (2019-2024) 2019, 2022
Learn More Collaborative Research grants Science Transfer grants Catalyst grants

For more information on anticipated funding opportunities, you can review a recording or view the slides from a program preview webinar presented on September 24, 2019.

Who Can Apply?

Reserves, non-profit organizations, private, and for-profit organizations are all eligible recipients for Science Collaborative funding. However, non-Reserve parties must work in partnership with one or more reserves and meet all requirements described by the RFP.