Access to the Sea Fund

2015 Call for Proposals

Deadline for proposal submissions is Friday, May 1, 2015 by 5:00 PM EDT
(Please contact your individual department staff regarding their  internal policy and deadlines.)
Award Start Date: July 1, 2015--July 17, 2015
Award Duration: Two years (with all funds allocated in the first year)
Amount Available: Approximately $300,000
Contact: Rob Munier x3335
Access to the Sea
WHOI's preeminence as a center for oceanographic research depends on its ability to remain at the forefront of a new wave of technology to explore, observe and sample the oceans . The goals of the Access to the Sea Endowment are to provide the resources to maintain our state-of-the-art  sea-going platforms, develop new technology to observe and sample the ocean, and provide the freedom and flexibility needed to utilize this technology to develop new approaches to study the oceans.
Proposals are solicited in the following areas:
  • Support for high-risk or innovative research, for instrument testing and evaluation, or for exploratory research in remote locations
  • Development, testing or purchase of new sensors or equipment that will enhance the capabilities of WHOI's ships, underwater vehicles or observatories
  • Support for the development of new vehicles or ocean observing systems, or for the enhancement of existing systems. to provide new capabilities for doing research at sea
  • Support for post-docs and graduate students to participate in sea-going research
Research Projects
The Access to the Sea program is soliciting proposals for research projects that fall within one or more of the areas outlined above. The awards can be used for salary support for Principal Investigators, postdoctoral investigators, support staff and graduate students, the development or purchase of equipment, support for sea-going activities including ship time, or any other relevant tasks. Awards are available to members of the Scientific Staff and Technical Staff, as well as individuals who satisfy the WHOI eligibility requirements to be a Principal Investigator (see Salary support will not be provided to those receiving substantial Institute or Institution salary support as Chairs, Institute Fellows, Education Coordinators, etc. unless a strong justification is provided.
Awards within this program may be used to leverage or supplement existing support (e.g. add days to an existing cruise on a WHOI research vessel to conduct a high-risk or innovative experiment not part of the original project) or to initiate new projects. Proposals should include a brief description of how the proposed work would fit with other existing or planned research projects, and/or contribute to longer­ term programs and goals.
Awards are available to members of the WHOI Scientific and Senior Technical Staff. Any other person with an official WHOI appointment must have permission from his/her Department Chair or Center Director to be Principal Investigator. The Chair's decision will be based on the person's ability to complete the proposed research or provide the proposed services without supervision or mentoring.
Please note that an individual may not be a PI or a co-PI on more than one (1) proposal for this combined Ocean Institutes/Access to the Sea Call for Proposals. Furthermore, a PI cannot submit the same proposal to the Independent Study Call and the Ocean Institutes/Access to the Sea Calls for Proposals, but a PI can submit different proposals to the Ocean Institutes/Access to the Sea Call and the Independet Study Call.  This restriction is per PI or co-PI per Ocean Institute/Access to the Sea deadline. A fellow application is not considered a proposal in this regard. A total of approximately $300,000 is available for Access to the Sea awards in 2015, with a maximum total budget of $65,000 per proposal.
Award Criteria
Awards will be based on the quality of the proposed research project and its relevance to the goals of the Access to the Sea program.
Review Process
The Department Chairs and Director of the Marine Policy Center will review the proposals based on scientific merit and relevance to the goals of the Access to the Sea program. The Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations will make funding recommendations to the Director of Research for final approval.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Friday, May 1, 2015 by 5:00PM EDT. Proposals should be submitted via .pdf to Rob Munier ( with a copy to Kimberly Grodzki ( If you have any questions or wish to discuss your proposal in advance, please contact Rob Munier, Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations at ext. 3335 or by email

Proposal Guidelines and Submission Process

Upload proposal package online, in pdf format at:

Please follow the instructions below.

The expected start date for these awards will be July 1, 2015--July 17, 2015.

Proposals should be for two years of funding (with all funds allocated in the first year).

Proposals must be received by the stated deadline, and include the following in this order:

  1. Address Field: The green sheet with appropriate departmental signatures should indicate that the proposal is to be submitted to Rob Munier, MS #37, with a copy to Kimberly Grodzki, MS #37. If your proposal is to be considered by more than one department, please indicate same on the green sheet. Also indicate that a .pdf was sent to the Department Administrator.
  2. Abstract: The abstract should not exceed one page and should not be too technical. If your proposal is funded, the abstract will be part of a report to the donor that describes how the money was used for the program. Abstracts of funded projects will be posted on the Access to the Sea website.
  3. Text: The text should describe what you wish to do. All criteria will be explicitly addressed in a successful proposal. These proposals are reviewed by an Interdisciplinary team. Care must be taken with the use of jargon and lengthy technical narratives. Reviewers look for a clear description of your questions and your methods for achieving the answers. 
  4. Page limit: 1-2 pages for the text (excluding the abstract) will be strictly enforced. Graphics and references are not included in this limit.
  5. Proposals must be legible. Font size should be a minimum of 12 and vertical spacing appropriate for the font size.  Small type size makes it difficult for reviewers to read the proposal; consequently, the use of small or type or cramped line spacing may be cause to return the proposal without review.
  6. Budget: Provide a budget that is prepared in WHOI Grants that shows your proposed expenditures. The simple budget feature In WHOI Grants is recommended.  Use a 24 month period with start date July 1, 2015. Unusual items in the budget must be explained.
  7. CV: Each PI should provide a current two page CV that includes a list of the ten (10) most recent or relevant publications.
  8. Cover Sheet: Should include proposal title, PI's and department affiliation, budget estimate amount and the internal call that the proposal is being submitted to. Please note that proposals may be jointly funded by more than one Institute/program. In this case, the primary and secondary Institute/program needs to be indicated.

Final Report

A brief report is required at the end of the award period. This report will be used to keep the donors of endowment funds that support the Access to the Sea Endowment informed of the awards and to express our appreciation by sharing the results of the research. Please avoid lengthy technical explanations. PI's are also encouraged to present their research in accessible formats to broad audiences.

Last updated: March 23, 2015