Development Funding

If you have any questions about NH Sea Grant Program Development Funding or wish to informally explore or receive feedback on a proposal idea before submission, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Steve Jones (   

When can I apply? 

NH Sea Grant welcomes proposals for Program Development Funds at any time. We strongly recommend submitting proposals 3 months prior to the project start date.   

Who can apply? 

Open to a diversity of New Hampshire applicants, including PreK-12 educators, faculty and researchers in New Hampshire universities or other educational institutions, or individuals working with nonprofits.

UNH faculty who are approved for NH Sea Grant Development Funds are required to submit a 'Request for Internal Approval of Grant or Contract Application to External Sponsor' to the Sponsored Programs Administration.

Investigators from other New Hampshire institutions must abide by their own sponsored research guidelines. If selected for funding, non-UNH applicants would be required to work with UNH to set up their funding. 

How much funding is available? 

Awards range from $1,000 to $7,500 (max) in direct spending, and only one development award per two years is usually approved for an awardee. There is no match requirement. Total funds available during any one year generally range from $20,000 to $35,000. When funding is no longer available, this website will be updated to indicate that this funding opportunity is temporarily closed, and proposals will no longer be accepted.   

How can development funds be used? 

Appropriate uses for NH Sea Grant Development Funds are listed below: 

  • Research that may lead to and improve a full NH Sea Grant proposal. Please consult the NH Sea Grant 2024-2027 Strategic Plan for a description of program priorities and goals.
  • Research that will lead to additional or increased funding from any extramural funding agency.
  • Educational initiatives that bridge classrooms, communities, and researchers focused on coastal/marine science.
  • Seed funding for exploratory or innovative efforts in art, education, humanities, communication, industry, outreach, or research.
  • Rapid response projects that advance areas of emerging interest or address a current challenge 
  • For event sponsorships (workshops, meetings, conferences, etc.), please apply via a separate application pathway.

Program Development grants should align with NH Sea Grant’s coastal and marine focus areas and principles: 

  • Support one or more NH Sea Grant goals/objectives outlined in the 2024-2027 Strategic Plan
  • Align with Sea Grant Focus Area(s):
    • Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
    • Resilient Communities and Economies
    • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
    • Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development
  • Incorporate DEIJA principles (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility)
  • Cultivate partnerships by collaborating with or engaging a diversity of partners/communities 

Development funds cannot be used to purchase equipment, defined as apparatus costing $5,000 or more. 

How do I apply? 

  1. Prepare a Proposal Letter (2 page max).
    • Proposal letters should be prepared on letterhead and should be no more than two pages in length. Letters must include: 
    • Brief description of the work to be performed, emphasizing information that addresses the evaluation criteria listed below. 
    • Rationale for seeking NH Sea Grant Development Funds based on the appropriate uses of funds listed above. 
    • List of project participants, with contact information.
    • Itemized and detailed budget and budget explanation (not included in page limit). 
  2. All projects require a completed Abbreviated Environmental Compliance Questionnaire (NEPA) and copies of associated permits, well in advance of proposed activity start date. Permits may include field sampling related permits, Institutional Review Board (IRB – human subjects) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC – projects involving vertebrate animals) approvals or evidence of permit waivers.  
  3. Upload proposal to the NHSG project submission portal,  
    • Request For Proposal (RFP) Development Funding (Full Proposal), click on "Add Proposal" 


Review Process

  1. If the proposal is deemed to meet basic requirements, the proposal will be reviewed by the NH Sea Grant Executive Committee. Additional reviewers may be solicited when additional perspectives or expertise is required to assess proposal quality and merit. Evaluation criteria include: 
    • Rationale
    • Previous funding and reporting record of the applicant
    • Technical merit 
    • Project feasibility 
    • Support for the 2024-2027 Strategic Plan goals and objectives 
    • Relevant extension and outreach elements/connections 
    • Appropriate and cost-effective budget 
  2. Based on the evaluation criteria, the NH Sea Grant Executive Committee will notify the applicant of one of the following review outcomes:
    • Fund the proposal without changes.
    • Funding will be considered after resubmission of a proposal revised based on NH Sea Grant Executive Committee feedback.
    • The project will not be funded. 

The final decision on funding may require 2 or 3 months depending on the timing of submission, the review process including receiving and reviewing revisions, and the time required to obtain permits and get NEPA approval. 

Questions? Contact:

Steve Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Director & Assistant Director for Research
(603) 862-5124