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2020-21 call for proposals

The Friends of Seymour Center, a volunteer support group affiliated with the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and Institute of Marine Sciences, has committed funds to support both student research and education projects in the marine sciences. Awards will be made to both UC Santa Cruz undergraduate students and graduate students (both masters and doctoral graduate students will be considered).

Awards are made possible from annual income on six endowed funds:

  1. Jane McHenry Student Award
  2. Lillian McPherson Rouse Student Award
  3. Friends of Seymour Center Student Award
  4. Mark T. MacMillan Memorial Prize (undergraduate Marine Biology students)
  5. Ken Norris Marine Mammal Research Award (focused on marine mammal research)
  6. William Beye Heald Scholarship Fund
COVID-19 Impact: Applicants will be asked to outline how they will address the challenges of performing their work during a health crisis, specifically in regards to government and university health orders that may restrict access to research facilities and/or travel to field research locations.
Amount & use
Award amount: Maximum award amount is $1,500 for undergraduate students, and $2,500 for graduate students. The selection committee may award less than the maximum amount based on the applicant’s proposed budget and/or available funds.
Eligibility & Requirements
Open to UC Santa Cruz students, only. For student research in marine sciences, all geographic areas of study and field or laboratory research projects will be considered. For marine science education, projects must be affiliated with the public education program at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, and will only be considered if proposed in conjunction with a Seymour Center staff educator.

Only one Student Research and Education Award will be given per student over the course of their UC Santa Cruz student career; do not apply if you have previously received this award. Graduate students in their fourth year and beyond will not be considered for funding.

To apply, you must have a UC Santa Cruz faculty advisor complete an online recommendation letter for your project. UC Santa Cruz faculty advisors include tenured/tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, lecturers, and research scientists. Letters will not be accepted from post-doctoral researchers or graduate student advisors.

Application Window Opens: TBD
Deadline: TBD
Awards announced: TBD

Complete applications are due by 5 PM on [TBD]. Incomplete applications, or applications submitted after the deadline, will not be eligible for consideration.

Awards will be announced by [TBD].

Selection criteria
Selection criteria: Proposals will be evaluated based on the quality and strength of the written project description, the feasibility of the project, and the faculty recommendation letter.

Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged. Special consideration will be given to thesis projects at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Selection process: The Student Research and Education Awards Committee, composed of Friends of Seymour Center board members, UC Santa Cruz faculty, and community members, will review the application materials and rank each proposal. Award recipients will be selected from the highest-ranking proposals.

How to apply

Completed applications and faculty recommendation letters must be submitted via the online forms by the posted deadline. Proposals that do not follow the eligibility requirements and guidelines will not be considered. If you have questions, please contact

Application requirements
Your Contact Information
Provide your contact information on the online application form including:
Degree you are pursuing: Enter the official name of the degree program in which you are enrolled, and year in the program.
Degree sought: Enter either Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D.

UC Santa Cruz Advisor Contact Information and Letter of Recommendation
Provide your UC Santa Cruz advisor’s contact information. UC Santa Cruz faculty advisors include tenured/tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, lecturers, and research scientists. Letters will not be accepted from post-doctoral researchers or graduate student advisors.

Send your advisor this form link to submit their letter of recommendation in support of your project:

Letter of recommendations must be submitted by your UC Santa Cruz faculty advisor by the posted deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure letters are submitted by the deadline. Letters will remain confidential.

Project Description
The online application form asks for a description of your project in 750 words or less. Reviewers include both scientists and non-scientists; please write accordingly. Your project description should include:

  • An introductory paragraph that states: 1) the major thesis, 2) the significance to the research or education community, 3) and the significance to the general public.
  • Project details which describe: 1) what you are going to do, 2) how you are going to do it, 3) where you are going to do it, 4) when you are going to do it, including the expected completion date, 5) what you expect to find, 6) what you will do with the results, and 7) why are the results important.

Project Timeline
The online application form asks for a timeline including project expected start and end dates. Include how many quarters your project will take and if your project will be impacted by COVID-19. The project timeline is not subjected to a word count limit.

The online application form asks for your project’s budget. You will need to describe/list the item or service (i.e. chemicals, four large batteries, boat time), and the cost of each item or service; include the total amount you are requesting for this award. Note that travel to scientific meetings will not be funded; travel to carry out research will be considered. The budget is not subjected to a word count limit.

Scientific Sources
A list of scientific sources can be included, but is not required and not subjected to a word count limit.

Award Conditions
All award recipients will be required to provide a handwritten or typed thank you note and complete a questionnaire for stewardship purposes, and may be asked to participate in other recognition-events. If for any reason you would not be able to participate in the recognition activities outlined above, we will work with you on an alternative.

If you have questions, please contact