Skip to main content

National Marine Debris Challenge Competition Open: Sea Grant Program Collaboration Required

trash floating in water
NOAA Sea Grant has a new marine debris challenge competition.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Katie Mosher,, or John Fear,

North Carolina Sea Grant invites partners interested in the latest round of NOAA Sea Grant funding for the Marine Debris Challenge Competition to begin exploring partnerships and topics now. Letters of intent, due in January, are the first step — 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.”

NOAA Sea Grant notes the opportunity is open to any person or group within the United States or its territories, as well as tribal nations within those geographies. “Applicants must submit proposals in partnership with a relevant Sea Grant Program. Please note that it is not a requirement that investigators, including the principal investigator, be part of a Sea Grant program,” the funding announcement explains. 

The Marine Debris Challenge Competition will include approximately $16 million in funding available to support innovative, transformational research-to-application projects that will address the prevention and removal of marine debris, with award periods of three years,” the announcement continues.

Partners interested in submitting a proposal in collaboration with and/or through NC Sea Grant should contact John 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,” Fear adds. 


January 30, 2024: Letters of intent must be submitted by a Sea Grant program. Letters of intent from North Carolina researchers should be sent to John Fear by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, in order for NC Sea Grant to meet the federal deadline. Send them by email to

March 1, 2024: Only those who submit letters of intent are eligible to submit full proposals. Full proposals must be based on letters of intent and include Sea Grant partnerships. Only Sea Grant programs may submit full proposals for this federal opportunity. Thus, proposals from North Carolina researchers must be submitted to John Fear by 5 p.m., Friday, March 1, 2024 to ensure NC Sea Grant has the time needed to process all proposals ahead of the federal deadline. Complete proposals should be emailed to

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

Webinar: A NOAA Sea Grant informational webinar about the funding opportunity will be held on October 3, 2023 at 4 p.m. Eastern. Register in advance here. Or follow the link on the national announcement page.