About the Coastal Institute
The Mission of the Coastal Institute is to Advance Knowledge and Develop Solutions to Environmental Problems in Coastal Ecosystems.
Vision: The Coastal Institute will increase our understanding of the relationships between human activity and the condition of the coastal environment and its resources. The Coastal Institute will work in partnership with local, state, federal, and international agencies to use this understanding to contribute to the solution of the complex problems of human use and development in coastal environments. The Coastal Institute is a neutral setting where knowledge is advanced, issues discussed, information synthesized, and solutions developed for the sustainable use and management of coastal ecosystems. The Coastal Institute works across and beyond traditional structures to encourage new approaches to problem solving.
Scope of Activities: The geographic scope of the Coastal Institute is broadly defined to include continental shelves, inland or partially enclosed seas, estuaries, bays, lagoons, beaches, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within watersheds that drain into coastal waters. The conceptual scope of the Coastal Institute includes the environmental, economic, ethical, and cultural dimensions of coastal environments and their governance.
The goals of the Coastal Institute are served by five areas of engagement:
Initiatives: The Coastal Institute actively engages in several ongoing long term programs, in varying capacities, such as serving on project oversight committees, facilitating collaboratives, or serving as the host organization for multi-partner projects.
Catalyst Grants: The Coastal Institute offers small grants to individuals who need assistance to jump-start a research project or some form of collaborative enterprise focusing on coastal ecosystem management with the anticipation of major proposal(s) to be submitted using research/data accomplished through this support.
Leveraging Grants: The Coastal Institute welcomes proposals that add value to funded projects and activities that further the mission of the Coastal Institute. Coastal Institute funding could be used to bring in additional speakers for conferences and workshops at URI; add breadth or depth to some aspect of a research or outreach project; or enhance communication outputs from a funded project. Leveraging grants are not intended to serve as the major source of support for a project or activity; rather, they are to expand the real and perceived value of the initial investment for the PIs, the University, and the basic or applied research.
Outreach: The Coastal Institute supports a range of outreach activities within URI, across the state of Rhode Island, and other coastal communities both near and far, that seek to educate and engage the community in dialogue regarding issues related to coastal ecosystem management. Activities include lectures, workshops, fora, symposia, publications, social media, films and an ever-expanding palette of activities and methodologies.
CI Project Grants-in-Aid: The Coastal Institute leverages externally-funded research projects that are submitted through the Coastal Institute by distributing grants-in-aid to principle investigators. These grants both further the mission of the Coastal Institute and allow PIs to augment their research and outreach activities, adding value to extramural funding.
Principles of the Coastal Institute: The activities of the Coastal Institute are guided by the following fundamental principles:
- Coastal environments must be managed in a responsible manner for the benefit of current and future generations.
- Environmental problems and societal concerns in coastal ecosystems are inextricably linked. Both must be addressed when developing policies affecting human use of coastal ecosystems.
- Dialogue among all stakeholders is a key element in managing coastal ecosystems. Vigorous discussion and debate provide a diversity of potential solutions to complex environmental issues in coastal ecosystems.
- Policies guiding human use of coastal ecosystems must be developed upon the best available scientific information. Policies must be re-evaluated as the scientific knowledge is advanced. Scientific research should, in part, be guided by the gaps in our knowledge of coastal environments.
- Activities that advance new approaches to problem solving include the provision of knowledge, scientific information, a neutral venue for discussion, planning, and policy development.
- New knowledge that is developed, and existing knowledge that is required to solve the problems presented to the Institute will be disseminated for the public good.