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NC Sea Grant – NC Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship

Program status: Closed

Program type(s): Fellowship, funding, student funding, student opportunities


The joint North Carolina Space Grant – North Carolina Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship Program invites interdisciplinary proposals from across the state. The fellowship requires the use of data from vast archives and remote-sensing capabilities available through the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to address a high-priority research need within North Carolina’s nearshore environs, coastal areas, watersheds, or human activities in these areas (e.g. aquaculture). Successful proposals must adeptly utilize relevant measurement instruments and/or remote-sensing data sources from NASA, NOAA, or other sources that can include, but are not limited to, radiometers, spectroradiometers, satellite sensors, LIDAR, aerial imagery, and other data collected from airplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles, and/or unpiloted submersibles in the execution of the proposed work.  

North Carolina Space Grant – North Carolina Sea Grant is accepting applications for the 2023-2024 academic year for a one-year Graduate Research Fellowship. Applicants must be a full-time, enrolled graduate student at an accredited college or university within North Carolina and citizen of the United States. The proposed research must be supervised by a faculty mentor. The research activity should continue for the duration of the fellowship period. The start date is flexible but must start after June 1, 2023.  All work must be completed by May 31, 2024. Fellows are required to present their research findings at a meeting, conference, or other formal gathering of professional organization(s), association(s), etc. among peer researchers, policymakers, or another relevant audience.

Proposed work should be relatable to both NC Space Grant’s Strategic Plan and NC Sea Grant’s Strategic Plan, as well as both organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion ( and

We strongly encourage proposals from graduate students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs) and/or from traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities, as well as from graduate students who can demonstrate how their work and related outreach will benefit underserved and underrepresented communities.

This is a competitive fellowship program supported by North Carolina Space Grant in partnership with NASA, North Carolina Sea Grant in partnership with NOAA, and the State of North Carolina. Awards are based on scientific merit, adherence to the instructions of this RFP, availability of federal funds, and in recognition of applicants’ high academic achievement and anticipated results.

Satellite image of North Carolina coast on Oct. 9, 2016 after Hurricane Matthew. Image © NASA Earth Observatory. Image by Jeff Schmaltz and Adam Voiland, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.

Fellowship Amount

$10,000 per award

Number of Fellowships

Up to two fellowship are anticipated for 2023-24, subject to sufficient funding and quality of the received applications.


The research activity should be continuous over the course of the fellowship. The start date is flexible but must be after June 1, 2023.  All work must be completed by May 31, 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

The joint Graduate Research Fellowship applicant must be:

  • A United States citizen.
  • Enrolled full time in an advanced graduate degree program of study at an accredited college or university in the State of North Carolina.
  • Conducting a faculty-mentored research project relevant to this call for proposals.
  • In good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) or higher.

Interested students must complete an online application. Undergraduate students may not apply for funding, but research projects that include undergraduate participation are encouraged. Please read all program guidelines, including applicant eligibility and reporting requirements, before submitting your application. The application must be submitted online and all information must be complete or the application will not be reviewed. The key components of the application are discussed in more detail below.


Application materials must be received by 5 p.m. ET Friday, March 31, 2023.

Application Instructions

Proposals should be uploaded as one PDF file via the North Carolina Space Grant application portal (click new user registration button to begin the application). Proposals must describe the research project, with items 1-5 below totaling no more than four pages. Item 7 should be no more than two pages. The proposal should be in 12-point, Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Incomplete and late applications will not be accepted.

Proposals must contain the following sections:

  1. Title Page:  Include student name and contact information, academic institution, major, and faculty mentor contact information.
  2. Description of Proposed Research Project: A statement written by the student in consultation with a faculty mentor should describe: (1) The key elements of the proposed research and plan of study, including stated research question/s and data instruments and/or sources to be used; (2) What the student intends to accomplish; and (3) Clear description of how the proposed work has applications of interest to NASA/NC Space Grant, NOAA/NC Sea Grant and the State of North Carolina.
  3. Materials and Methods
  4. Clearly defined Tasks and a Timeline to complete the tasks. This item and the three previous (1-3) should add up to no more than four pages in total.
  5. A Plan to Present Findings:  (1) To present research methodology and/or research findings at a meeting, conference, or other formal gathering of professional organization(s), association(s), etc. among peer researchers, policymakers, or another relevant audience (presentation of research at the 2024 NC Space Symposium is required); and (2) For purposes of public outreach (e.g., an article in Coastwatch magazine, a presentation at a maritime center or planetarium, or  presentations to audiences that may include professionals, precollege students, etc.). The Plan to Present Findings does not count toward the four-page limit, described above.
  6. Data Management Plan: In addition to the above application, to comply with NOAA’s data and publication sharing directive for grants and contracts, version 3.0 (, each applicant must develop and submit with their application a data management plan (DMP). The DMP does not count toward the four-page limit, described above. Please review the guidance found in the link in the “Application” section above, as well as Attachment A, to assist you in preparing your plan. Plans will be included as part of the proposal evaluation process. Plans should be no more than two pages and should include: descriptions of the types of environmental data and information expected to be created during the course of the project; the tentative date by which data will be shared; the standards to be used for data/metadata format and content; methods for providing data access; approximate total volume of data to be collected; and prior experience in making such data accessible. If your project is not expected to develop any environmental data, then your DMP may simply include the declaration: “This proposal is not expected to generate environmental data. Therefore, a Data Management Plan is not required.”
  7. Current student CV (limited to two pages)
  8. Letter of support from the applicant’s faculty mentor. Up to two additional letters of support from end-users and other appropriate parties may be included if they enhance the application.

The proposal can contain a Literature Cited section, if needed, which is NOT included in the page limits.

Review Process

A proposal review panel will include the NC Sea and Space Grant Core Management Team and other experts as needed. Proposals will be ranked based on their relevance to the identified focus areas, the quality of the proposed work, and adherence to the instructions provided in this request for proposals including the need for a data management plan.

Award Funding

The successful applicant will be notified around May 15, 2023.  The fellowship award will be distributed as a stipend, with funding dispersed in three installments over the course of the period of performance. 


General Requirements:    Fellows are required to:

  • Provide a photo and biographical information upon selection;
  • Agree to abide by all reporting requests from North Carolina Space Grant and North Carolina Sea Grant;

Research Outcomes Products:   Fellows are required to:

  • Submit a Final Research Report that shall include a detailed summary of research results and an award impact statement. This information will be shared for review and use within NC Space Grant and/or NC Sea Grant;
  • Present their findings at a meeting, conference, or other formal gathering of professional organization(s), association(s), etc. among peer researchers, policy-makers, or another relevant audience; and
  • Respond to academic and employment follow-up surveys administered as required by the federal government.

Communications Products:   Fellows are required to:

  • Work with the NC Sea Grant and NC Space Grant communications team to develop and implement a plan to share their research experiences, including but not exclusively on social media, in print and on the NC Sea Grant and NC Space Grant web properties.
  • Translate the results of their project into in a public forum or educational setting. Presentations that encourage interest in the research topic among the general public, policy-makers, and/or K-12 school students are encouraged; and
  • Translate the results of their project into a blog post or article for a publication in media outlets such as Coastwatch magazine and the Space Grant news webpage.

Virtual Information Sessions

There will be three virtual information sessions about student opportunities currently open with NC Space Grant. Registration is required.

NC Space Grant Student Funding Virtual Session Recording

Recent Research Scholars

Read about the 2022-2023 Sea/Space Graduate Research Fellows.

For questions, please contact:

John Fear, North Carolina Sea Grant,

Sandy CanfieldNorth Carolina Space Grant,