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Catalyst Grants

Funding Opportunities_Catalyst Grants_Narrow River_Jarret Katz

A salt marsh borders Narrow River. Photo credit: URI Coastal Institute

Senior Fellows, individuals sponsored by a Fellow, e.g., students, or others whose project focus is in alignment with the mission of the Coastal Institute, may apply for funds to support the investigation of a concept or theory. This could include the use of focus groups to test a particular outreach approach or engaging in a small research project that tests an hypothesis and provides “proof of concept” to enable the researchers to seek funding from a large agency or foundation.

Senior Fellow Dr. Peter August described the impact of a catalyst grant as follows: The Coastal Institute catalyst grant to the Watch Hill Conservancy and Watch Hill Fire District provided critical funding to support the Napatree Point habitat restoration project, a significant partnership. The overall goal of the project is to restore native trees, shrubs and grasses to the Napatree Point Conservation Area (Watch Hill, RI) to increase the suitability of habitat for migrating and resident birds and insects. The Coastal Institute investment is to assist in developing a demonstration site that addresses coastal resiliency in natural habitats as a means to apply such principles to any coastal site vulnerable to storm surge, erosion, and overall habitat destruction. All the plants that will be transplanted to Napatree will come from the Rhody Native program, an initiative of the RI Natural History Survey to encourage use of native flora in landscaping and restoration projects. The Youth Conservation League (YCL), a program to employ high school-aged youth to perform stewardship on conservation lands in the state, will do much of the site labor for the project. The YCL is a joint project managed by the RI Natural History Survey, the Audubon Society of RI, and The Nature Conservancy. The catalyst grant from the Coastal Institute was designated to purchase plant stock from Rhody Native and to cover part of the costs of engaging the YCL kids to do site preparation and removal of invasive species on Napatree. In addition to the Coastal Institute grant, funding for the Napatree Point habitat restoration project was provided by the RI Coastal Resources Management Council and the Watch Hill Fire District.

Eligible Applicants

Senior Fellows of the Coastal Institute and individuals sponsored by a Fellow are eligible for Coastal Institute funding opportunities. Both Catalyst and Leveraging Grants are also available to individuals who are not Senior Fellows, though it is likely that the majority of recipients will be from that group since these are the people who focus their research on coastal issues in alignment with the mission of the Coastal Institute. However, others may apply as long as the focus is equally in alignment. Those individuals may discover that they would in fact be eligible for Senior Fellow status.


Please submit an application, which will include:

  • statement of purpose,
  • how the grant serves to leverage a current research grant(s),
  • evidence of preparedness to use funds to achieve the purpose,
  • personnel involved,
  • budget with justification
  • timeline

The purpose is not to support student stipends or tuition; rather, it is to ensure that any student engagement is innovative and interdisciplinary. The CI looks favorably on proposals that involve numerous partners and participants at all levels of career development. Please highlight any aspects of the proposal that address a focus on social equity or economics within ecosystems.

In addition, the CI is highly supportive of monitoring efforts and the maintenance and use of data streams. The proposal should list the PI, any co-leads and partners. Please submit with the subject header of Leveraging Grant: Your Topic to If you have questions, please contact or

Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis and funding is dependent upon quality of the proposal and its intended outcomes as well as availability of funds. Reviews are generally completed within 2-3 weeks. You may be contacted for a meeting or conference call.

Funded Proposals

Please assist in sustaining the value of the Coastal Institute by including credit to the Coastal Institute for any presentations, publications, or events, e.g., “This ________is made possible by the support/partial support of the URI Coastal Institute.” Please use the high resolution Coastal Institute logo where possible.

Recipients will be required to submit a final report and may be called upon to provide a brief report at the Coastal Institute Senior Fellows Annual Meeting.

Funded Catalyst Grants are highlighted on a public database.

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