Minnesota Sea Grant balances university research, outreach and education on aquatic and coastal subjects.
Our core funding (about $1.4 million annually) primarily flows from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget through the National Sea Grant Office in Washington, D.C., to the University of Minnesota. The state matches $1 for every $2 that NOAA provides.
Minnesota Sea Grant staff and researchers also compete for external funding, and for Sea Grant’s National Strategic Investments (NSI), which are specific areas of inquiry supported by NOAA. Our extensive partnerships enable us to leverage funding and other resources to advance research, outreach, and education.
Even though we receive federal and state support, it has lagged behind the demand for our services. Citizens can contribute to our program through the Minnesota Sea Grant Foundation to assure that aquatic and Great Lakes science remain vibrant in Minnesota.
As with other Sea Grant programs, our agenda follows National Sea Grant themes but is tuned to local challenges and questions. Sea Grant staff consult with an advisory committee, listen to scientists and citizens, and participate on committees to create a portfolio of award-winning projects that have withstood rigorous peer review and serve our stakeholders.
Every two years, we request proposals that will contribute to the scientific understanding, use, and management of the Great Lakes and Minnesota’s inland waters. We fund as many projects as possible (typically about eight) based on scientific, advisory, and internal reviews. Periodically, our director can allocate discretionary funds to initiate a scientific endeavor, and the National Sea Grant office issues competitions (NSIs) to fund specific research interests.
Our staff (which equals about a dozen full-time employees but does the work of 20) is secured by core funding. They seek and capitalize on external resources as projects unfold and opportunities become available, magnifying the outreach and educational components of the program.