S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Study Group RFP: Resilience in Underserved Communities

The South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium is seeking faculty and their students to collaborate with Sea Grant Program Specialists to form a research-student-program specialist study group that identifies tools, information, and planning needs to enhance climate resilience within low wealth communities in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Office of Resilience defines resilience as the ability of communities, economies, and ecosystems within South Carolina to anticipate, absorb, recover and thrive when presented with environmental change and natural hazards.

Teams from 4-year South Carolina colleges and universities are invited to apply.

Summary of the Program

An objective of the Consortium is to enable academics, practitioners, and community leaders to receive funding and other resources (e.g., information, networks) that enhance climate resiliency. To that end, the Consortium recently published an archive of currently available climate resilience planning documents produced by entities in South Carolina, and is currently reviewing community planning priorities and available grant funding opportunities related to climate resilience.

We recognize that not every community may have a published climate adaptation plan or other related planning document that outlines needs and recommendations to enhance community resilience to climate hazards and changing coastal conditions. Along these lines, the Consortium has made funding available to conduct this study group with a goal of working with low wealth communities to identify and document their climate resilience needs.

Faculty and students from and within historically marginalized and underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

About the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s mission is to generate and provide science-based information on issues and opportunities to improve the social and economic well-being of our coastal citizens while ensuring the optimal use and conservation of our marine and coastal natural resources.

The Consortium serves to support and share research, education, training, and advisory services in fields related to ocean and coastal resources. These program priorities align with the context of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program Strategic Plan and the Consortium’s FY18-23 Strategic Plan. The Consortium enthusiastically supports projects that thoughtfully engage and are developed through collaboration with historically marginalized communities.

Strength in Partnerships

Proposals are invited from faculty and graduate student teams to be considered through a competitive proposal and external review process.

The faculty member(s) and student(s) will form a Study Group with a Consortium Program Specialist to complete the project. Applicants will be faculty/student teams from 4-year South Carolina colleges and universities. For this call, applicants will engage with the Coastal Climate and Resilience Specialist, Dr. Amanda Guthrie, and others as appropriate as a member(s) of the Study Group to develop and submit their proposal. Specialist(s) will involve Sea Grant communications staff as needed.

We encourage project proposals which can become part of the student’s thesis or capstone paper, or serve as an earned-credit internship.


The Consortium has worked with several coastal communities in South Carolina to incorporate climate resilience into their planning processes and documents. This is done through a co-production process where Consortium specialists and our partners work directly with communities to assess and produce goals and plans that best meet community needs while also using the best available science to guide decision-making. Our goal is to cultivate relationships among coastal South Carolina resilience practitioners, researchers, and communities to enable production of knowledge and sharing of information that leads towards a more resilient future.

As a part of this information sharing, the Consortium created the South Carolina Resilience Planning Archive to assess the status of climate resilience planning in South Carolina and create a clearinghouse for community planners to see what other communities are doing and for state agencies to see what is happening on the ground. Oftentimes, there are people, groups of people, communities, and/or neighborhoods that do not have a formal planning document in place, and/or specific smaller scale needs are not effectively met by County or City plans.

As a means of better identifying and addressing climate resilience needs of low wealth communities in South Carolina, the Consortium has allocated funding to fill in the gaps in our understanding of the needs and priorities of communities that may not have been included in the archive due to a lack of a formal planning document. This will be accomplished through semi-structured interviews and community engagement. Engaging the intended audience (e.g., community leaders, planners, resource management entities, business and industry, etc.) in development of proposals is encouraged; and is necessary during implementation of the project, if funded.

It is a Consortium best practice to compensate representatives of underserved communities for their time through providing research stipends. Proposers are strongly encouraged to include funding for these types of activities in their budget. The Consortium strongly values building the next generation of coastal resilience specialists from within affected communities and encourages students from historically underrepresented communities to be part of the study group.

Research Objectives

The key objectives for this research opportunity include:

  1. Review the resilience planning archive and identify low wealth communities within Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown, and Horry Counties without climate resilience plans.
  2. Conduct semi-structured interviews with residents and representatives of communities identified in Objective 1 to identify resilience planning needs in low wealth communities.
  3. Summarize key findings discovered in Objective 2 to share back with the community representatives for their review.
  4. Produce set of recommended resources, contacts, and funding opportunities for use by the communities engaged
  5. Co-produce a list of recommended best practices in engaging low wealth communities to accomplish their resilience goals.

Available Funding

One successful applicant will be selected. Up to $30,000 is available for funding. Student support is required. A non-federal match of 50% is required. Indirect costs cannot be charged, but can be waived and applied to satisfy the matching requirement.

How to Prepare the Proposal

Proposals should be detailed but not to exceed 14 pages as detailed in the Outline for Study Group Proposals, and must include the faculty, affiliation, and interest in the project, and the graduate student member(s) and their interest and qualification; a discussion of the proposed approach to the project; and a budget form and budget justification.

Budget should be used to support student time, travel, and workshop materials. Indirect costs (IDCs) are not allowable as the projects are supported by Sea Grant funding, but they can be used to meet the match requirement (see below). The budget must include a 50% match in time, supplies, salaries, or IDCs, or a combination of some or all.

How to Submit the Proposal

The Consortium requires electronic submission of proposals. Proposals should be submitted through the eSeaGrant research and fellowships management system. At least one week prior to the submission deadline, you will need to register in the eSeaGrant research and fellowships management system in order to receive login credentials. Please click on the “Register” tab to create an account.

As soon as registration is complete, you should receive a “Welcome” email with your login credentials. If you do not receive a “Welcome” email, please contact Susannah Sheldon at susannah.sheldon@scseagrant.org or 843-953-2083.

Indirect Costs on Sea Grant-Funded Projects

In the spirit of cooperation among Consortium member institutions, and to maximize benefit from Sea Grant funds, it is the long-standing policy of the Consortium Board of Directors not to use Sea Grant funds to pay indirect costs to its member institutions; however, indirect costs may be used to satisfy the National Sea Grant College Program’s 50% matching fund requirement.

Proposal Timeline

  • Full Proposals Due in eSeaGrant, Signed and Endorsed – March 30, 2023
  • Notification of successful proposals – April 30, 2023
  • Start Date for Project – May 8, 2023
  • Progress Report due – October 9, 2023
  • Final Report due – January 15, 2024


Questions and discussion about individual projects should be addressed to one of the individuals listed below:

Dr. Amanda Guthrie, Coastal Climate and Resilience Specialist, amanda.guthrie@scseagrant.org
Matt Gorstein, Asst. Director for Development and Extension, matthew.gorstein@scseagrant.org
Landon Knapp, Coastal Resilience Specialist, landon.knapp@scseagrant.org

Questions about proposal process should be addressed to:

Susannah Sheldon, Research and Fellowships Manager, susannah.sheldon@scseagrant.org