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North Carolina Sea Grant Opens the Coastal Resilience Team Competition

For immediate release

Cayla Cothron,
or John Fear,

North Carolina Sea Grant has launched its second Coastal Resilience Team Competition. The program will provide up to $20,000 for one or more student teams to conduct two-year projects that will lead to more resilient habitats and communities on the North Carolina coastal plain.

Each team will include two to four members, including at least one graduate student who will serve as the project lead, and at least one undergraduate. North Carolina Sea Grant strongly encourages proposals from teams that include students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and at Minority Serving Institutions, and/or students from traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities.

“I think this is a great program that provides the opportunity to develop the skills to collaborate with other researchers, which is necessary to succeed in our field,” says Anne Smiley, a graduate student in the Department of Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the lead on last year’s winning team. “I hope to see this program continue for many years to come.”

Each team will conduct research that addresses resilience in one or more of these areas:

Ecosystem Resilience

  • What are the impacts of higher and/or saltier groundwater levels on forest, agriculture, and/or coastal ecosystems?
  • How will changing precipitation patterns impact stormwater management in the coastal zone?
  • How will submerged aquatic vegetation communities respond to climate change?
  • What impacts do upstream conditions and management decisions have on downstream ecosystems and functioning?

 Community Resilience

  • How can coastal communities prioritize equity and engage underserved populations in planning for and implementing resilience and adaptation efforts?
  • How can local decision-making and policy integrate resilience planning?
  • What coastal infrastructure is most vulnerable and what can be done to mitigate the risk?
  • How can natural and nature-based infrastructure be used strategically for community resilience, and what are the barriers to implementation?

 Economic Resilience

  • What aquaculture practices can buffer the industry against disasters and climate change impacts?
  • What are the costs to our coastal communities, comparing a) climate change planning and investment to proactively prepare for a disaster, and b) opting instead for post disaster restoration and rebuilding?
  • How will the economic costs of climate change impact our state’s coastal communities, and, in particular, and how will it affect different sectors and populations?

North Carolina Sea Grant also will consider additional research topics that relate to these three focus areas.

Each winning team will present their findings to North Carolina Sea Grant’s advisory board. Sea Grant’s science communicators also will collaborate with the winners to inform specialized and lay audiences about the research.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2023.

For more information, access the full Request for Proposals.

Read about last year’s winners here.