Program Status: Closed
Program type(s): Fellowship,


The joint North Carolina Space Grant – North Carolina Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship Program invites interdisciplinary proposals from across the state. The fellowship will use 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, and watersheds. 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’s Space Grant and Sea Grant are accepting applications for the 2020-21 academic year for a one-year joint Graduate Research Fellowship. Applicants must be full-time, enrolled graduate students at an accredited college or university within North Carolina and citizens 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 be after June 1, 2020. All work must be completed by May 30, 2021. 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. Funding for related travel should be considered within the total award package.

This is a competitive fellowship program supported by NC Space Grant in partnership with NASA and 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 high academic achievement and project results promise.

Satellite image of North Carolina coast on Oct. 9, 2016 after Hurricane Matthew.
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

NC Space Grant and North Carolina Sea Grant will award up to $20,000 for one fellowship.

Number of Fellowships

One fellowship is anticipated for 2020-21, subject to sufficient funding and quality of the received applications.


The research activity should be continuous over the course of a Fellowship. The start date is flexible but must be after June 1, 2020. All work must be completed by May 30, 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

The joint Graduate Research Fellowship applicant must be:

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., Friday, March 20, 2020.

Application Instructions

Applications are now closed and are anticipated to reopen Spring 2021.

View the full Request for Proposals here.

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 and major professor contact information.
  2. Description of Proposed Research Project: A statement written by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor 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 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 2021 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 a presentation to K-12 audiences).
  6. A detailed Budget. Funds may be used for any purpose related to the project, including stipends, undergraduate assistants and tuition. University overhead charges are not permitted. Faculty advisor support is not permitted. Match funding is not required. All budget requests must be accompanied by a detailed budget justification.
  7. 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.”
  8. Current student CV (limited to two pages)
  9. Letter of support from the applicant’s major professor. 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

The selection committee will be made up of university faculty in a variety of disciplines, Space Grant and Sea Grant staff, and other relevant experts. Applicants should present their research project in a way that will be understandable to a range of readers.

Award Funding

The successful applicant(s) will be notified no later than May 15, 2020.  Funding will be channeled through the fellow’s major professor, who must agree to serve as Principal Investigator on the project.


General Requirements:    Fellows are required to:

Research Outcomes Products:   Fellows are required to:

Communications Products:   Fellows are required to:

For questions, please contact:

John Fear, North Carolina Sea Grant,

Jobi Cook, NC Space Grant,