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Who We Are

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative supports science for estuarine and coastal decision-makers. Managed by the University of Michigan Water Center, through a cooperative agreement with NOAA, the Science Collaborative coordinates regular funding opportunities and supports user-driven collaborative research, assessment, and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by the reserves.


The NERRS Science Collaborative promotes science to support coastal decision-making about management problems important to the reserves. Our primary objectives:

  1. Deliver a comprehensive collaborative research program that provides meaningful project opportunities and maximizes benefit to the NERRS and their end users;
  2. Support the sharing and transfer of research outputs, monitoring information, and knowledge among the reserves, other stakeholders, the NERRS, and rest of the coastal community;
  3. Build the capacity of the reserves to develop and participate in collaborative research projects; and
  4. Iterate program processes and priorities deliberately based on an adaptive management process.

Program Overview

This Program Overview Fact Sheet uses program metrics and example projects to illustrate how collaborative science projects are helping coastal decision makers address their most critical challenges. Learn more about the Science Collaborative program and the support we offer.


The Science Collaborative is the primary mechanism that supports competitive, user-focused research in the Reserve System.

Emerging as the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) in 1997, competitive research funding initially focused on the development of science and technology to support estuarine management within the Reserve System. NOAA established CICEET through a cooperative agreement with the University of New Hampshire (UNH). In 2010, NOAA restructured the program into the NERRS Science Collaborative, still housed at UNH, and increasingly focused on supporting research activities that engaged end users.

In 2014, NOAA awarded the University of Michigan the next iteration of the Science Collaborative through a five-year cooperative agreement. This agreement was renewed in 2019.