Program Development Funds


The Maryland Sea Grant program focuses on supporting translational watershed, coastal, and marine science that can inform broad audiences in the Chesapeake Bay region and in Maryland's coastal areas. Maryland Sea Grant has the ability to support small, targeted grants that come under the general category of program development awards.

PD awards are available for faculty and graduate student research, workshops and conferences, Sea Grant-sponsored publications, and education and outreach projects.

Deadline: Rolling, until funding expended

To apply, email us.

We award these funds to help support important new research, outreach, or education efforts or to offer strategic support to emerging areas of importance. The awards often stimulate and foster small-scale innovative projects that will eventually lead to submissions for larger grants from a variety of sources. These funds also may be used to support workshops and educational opportunities that connect marine and coastal science to diverse audiences.

To be successful in receiving Program Development funding, all proposal requests must be consistent with the current Maryland Sea Grant Strategic Plan and demonstrate a clear link between coastal and marine science and conservation and restoration efforts in Maryland. Demonstrating an outreach component or illuminating how the proposal is relevant to audiences beyond academia is an important consideration. Program Development funds are highly limited and judiciously distributed. We have many more requests for funding than we can support.


Program Development awards for research projects are available to faculty and researchers affiliated with an academic institution or research laboratory in Maryland or the District of Columbia. Graduate students interested in grant funds should apply with their research advisor as PI. Awards for non-research projects (e.g., workshops and conferences, education and extension projects) are available to PIs affiliated with academic and research institutions, non-profit organizations, State of Maryland agencies, tribes, and other professional organizations. Federal agencies are not eligible to apply.

Funding Guidelines

Program Development awards cannot exceed, and are typically less, than $10,000. These funds come to us from several sources including our Omnibus award (NOAA) and our allocation from the state of Maryland. Maryland Sea Grant does not require matching funds be contributed by grantees and covers this cost by forgoing indirect charges on your award. Hence, Maryland Sea Grant requests indirect charges not be charged to Program Development requests.

Application Procedures

Proposals for Program Development awards are short requests, submitted through our eSeaGrant portal. If you are considering submitting a request for a Program Development award, you must directly contact the Maryland Sea Grant Director or Associate Director. We will provide you with access to the application portal. For more information, email the Office of the Director or call us (301-405-7500, leave a message) to make an appointment to discuss your research interests.

Non-Research proposals are completed as a short online form with a project summary or abstract suitable for posting on a website, a fuller project description and Budget Request, and contact information for the fiscal officer or sponsored programs office at the organization. You may also upload a supplemental PDF file.

Research proposals require an abstract and project narrative upload, full budget, data management plan, environmental compliance form, and other documentation. The research project description need not be long but should provide the appropriate background / justification / relevance, objectives, general approaches, and intended results and impacts of the work needed to evaluate the work. The narrative need not follow standard MDSG biennial call for proposals format guidelines.

You may download the guidelines here for submitting a research proposal or all other proposals.

Evaluation and Approval Process

Proposals submitted to Maryland Sea Grant go through several levels of review before the proposal is approved or denied. The approval process involves an internal review and contact between the principal investigator and the director of Maryland Sea Grant. External peer review may be requested for research proposals. Research proposals and all projects greater than $10,000 are also sent to our NSGO program officer for concurrence and NEPA review. 

Proposals will be selected based on technical merit, relevance to Maryland Sea Grant, funding availability, and programmatic goals. We will contact the award applicant regarding the funding decision. Before an approved proposal can be processed and awarded, Maryland Sea Grant’s business office will work with the submitting entity to ensure compliance with our office policies and procedures for awarding Program Development funds.


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