National Marine Debris Challenge Competition open, Sea Grant collaboration required

Published 7:21 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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North Carolina partners interested in new NOAA Sea Grant funding for a Marine Debris Challenge Competition should contact North Carolina Sea Grant quickly, as letters of intent are due in early August and must be submitted by a Sea Grant program.

“We are excited to collaborate with a variety of partners — from national, regional, state and local scales — to bring many talents together to address marine debris challenges within our coastal watersheds and coastal communities, and beyond,” notes Susan White, NC Sea Grant executive director. “Such integrated research, extension and education efforts are critical to moving the needle for a problem that is expanding, and affects all here, nationally and globally.”

National Sea Grant efforts on marine debris prevention and removal are a component of the nearly $3 billion in NOAA funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act announced June 29, 2022.

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“The Marine Debris Challenge Competition will support original, innovative, and transformational marine debris prevention and removal research that pushes the boundaries of existing technologies and approaches, changes the current landscape of marine debris mitigation, and ties that research to tangible outputs,” the national Sea Grant office explains.

A total of $16 million is expected over two years to support “research to application” projects to address the prevention and/or removal of marine debris. Only Sea Grant programs, such as NC Sea Grant, may submit letters of intent and full proposals, but they may submit or participate in multiple proposals.

All other interested entities must submit letters of intent and proposals in partnership with and through a relevant Sea Grant program. “Although the PI and other investigators do not need to be part of a Sea Grant program, the funding opportunity clearly describes a requirement to include funding for Sea Grant education and/or extension personnel as collaborators,” notes John Fear, NC Sea Grant deputy director.

Partners interested in submitting a proposal in collaboration with and/or through NC Sea Grant should contact Fear at or White at quickly to discuss the proposal topic and Sea Grant collaboration. “As with all our funding opportunities, we seek a wide range of researchers, participants and partners from communities that have been underserved, and from universities and organizations serving those communities,” White adds.

North Carolina partners seeking to collaborate for the Marine Debris Challenge Competition must submit the completed letter of intent by email to by Aug. 8, 2022 so that the letter will be confirmed for submission for the national deadline.

Full proposals for Marine Debris Challenge Competition, based on letters of intent and including NC Sea Grant participation, must be submitted to NC Sea Grant by Sept. 20, 2022 in order for the state program to meet the national deadline for proposal packages.

Instructions for the Marine Debris Challenge Competition opportunity can be found on the national Sea Grant Funding page,