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old fishing nets and other marine debris washed up on a sandy beach

National Sea Grant Marine Debris Challenge Competition


January 30, 2024
(letters of intent)

March 1, 2024
(full proposals)

Open to

Any person or group within the United States or its territories


Research-to-application projects that will address the prevention and removal of marine debris

North Carolina partners interested in the NOAA Sea Grant funding for a Marine Debris Challenge Competition must contact North Carolina Sea Grant in early stages of proposal development, as letters of intent are due in January 2024 — and must be submitted by a Sea Grant program. 

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. This 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.

North Carolina Sea Grant seeks a wide pool of researchers. Applicants for NOAA Sea Grant funding opportunities are encouraged to draft proposals that support the principles of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, as well as place an emphasis on engagement with communities, groups and localities, especially those that have been traditionally underrepresented and underserved.

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


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

Contacts for NC Sea Grant submissions: Susan White, executive director, and John Fear, deputy director,

NC Sea Grant News Release from September 21, 2023