Funding opportunity open for 2024-25 research projects

November 29th, 2022 by

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) anticipates having $800,000 to invest in promising research projects relevant to southern Lake Michigan and surrounding coastal communities in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana. Work is to be completed in the 2024-25 biennium. Work can be conducted outside of the geographic area outlined above provided applicants make a compelling case for why their work is relevant to southern Lake Michigan and surrounding coastal communities.

For the 2024–25 cycle, IISG will prioritize funding projects with outcomes that demonstrate potential to benefit underserved communities in the southern Lake Michigan region. Benefits may include but are not limited to improved quality of life, job training and student opportunities, and increased access to beneficial services or information.

IISG encourages submissions by early career scientists and/or persons who have partnered with, or plan to mentor, early career scientists. IISG also encourages all applicants to make research plans such that their work will effectively center on underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and/or people from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have limited their ability to pursue a career in STEM.


Investigators from educational or research institutions including universities, museums, and NGOs, are eligible to serve as PI for these funds. Priority will be given to Illinois- and Indiana-based researchers. Researchers from other states are welcome to apply but proposed work must demonstrate how it will benefit the mission of IISG and/or meet research priorities. 

Research Topics

Projects should propose to answer a clear research question or set of related questions, and should demonstrate fit with the IISG strategic plan. Five areas are of special interest for the 2024-25 funding cycle:

  • Improving water safety, with a goal of reducing the number of drownings in Lake
  • Adapting to changing lake levels in the southern Lake Michigan region in support of
    healthy coastal ecosystems and resilient communities and economies.
  • Better understanding contaminant levels in fish or shellfish that are or can be used for food. These may include Lake Michigan or tributary fish caught for subsistence fishing or Illinois- or Indiana-farm raised fish and shellfish. Contaminants to explore include but are not limited to legacy contaminants, contaminants of emerging concern, and toxic cyanobacteria from algal blooms (e.g., in nearshore regions; in ponds where fish or shellfish are raised).
  • Addressing environmental justice concerns associated with restoration of degraded
    southern Lake Michigan coastal sites (e.g., decommissioned power plants, industrial
  • Exploring economic or legal barriers to production of Illinois- and/or Indiana-grown
    fish or shellfish (e.g., processing of organisms to be sold at restaurants, permitting or
    acquisition of resources to expand facilities, access to skilled laborers).

Additional topic areas of interest include broader aquaculture research, aquatic invasive species, community climate readiness, fisheries, healthy waters and pollution prevention, recreation and tourism, stormwater and green infrastructure, shoreline erosion, sustainable community planning, and water supply. All research projects should fit at least one of these topic areas.

Preproposal Submission

Prospective PIs must submit a preproposal to be considered for funding. Applicants should submit materials via by 11:59 p.m. Central time on February 6, 2023. Applications should be submitted to the “IL-IN SG 2023 2-Year Research Competition”. Late applications will not be accepted unless the applicant has contacted IISG staff members before the deadline to make them aware of potential issues, (e.g., computer, power, or internet issues). IISG reserves the right to refuse late applications if the program determines that individual circumstances do not warrant an extension. IISG staff members will only be available to answer questions until 5:00 pm Central time on February 6, 2023.

The full RFP can be found at Questions regarding eligibility or submission requirements may be directed to Carolyn Foley at or by phone at 765-494-3601.


Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is a partnership between NOAA, University of Illinois Extension, and Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources, bringing science together with communities for solutions that work. Sea Grant is a network of 34 science, education and outreach programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Lake Champlain, Puerto Rico and Guam.

IISG expands funding on ‘Persistent Organic Pollutants on Microplastics’ research

January 22nd, 2019 by

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center has released information about additional IISG funding for researcher John Scott to expand a microplastics research project to include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Excerpt: “With new funding from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) researcher John Scott and his team will be able to expand their research to include more environmental contaminants. With their current project on persistent organic pollutants in Lake Muskegon, they are studying the effects of microplastic type and deployment time in the sediments and the water column on sorption of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to the microplastic particles.”

Full URL – “Persistent Organic Pollutants on Microplastics Project expanded to include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances” by Elizabeth Meschewski”:

Accepting applications for new IISG Faculty Scholars Program

January 15th, 2019 by

The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) Faculty Scholars Program is a professional networking and development opportunity to support faculty from institutes of higher learning in Illinois and Indiana who wish to develop extension, education or communication capacities related to their scholarly interests. Applicants can request up to $12,000 to support activities that further the IISG mission to empower southern Lake Michigan communities to secure a healthy environment and economy.

The Sea Grant Scholars Program consists of a program introduction phase and a proposal development phase. Specific deliverables include a preliminary product, such as a literature review or needs assessment, and a fully developed proposal to submit to an external funding agency. Funding to support scholar activities will last one year starting May 1, 2019. Scholars will be expected to participate in networking activities with IISG staff and stakeholders throughout their tenure.

View the full request for applications. Applications should be emailed to by 6:00 p.m. EST on February 22, 2019​.

If you have questions about the Faculty Scholars Program, please contact IISG Research Coordinator Carolyn Foley (

We encourage faculty members from all disciplines to apply. IISG is committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. View the full IISG values statement.​

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant funds aquaculture, invasive species, pollution projects

December 11th, 2018 by

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) is excited to announce the funding of five new Discovery Projects. These small, one-year projects help researchers achieve bigger and better things, such as larger grants to study critical questions, providing proof of concepts that can be scaled up to support labs or businesses, or generating tools to help communities make the best use of available information. The five projects IISG began funding in 2018 address aquaculture, aquatic invasive species and pollution.

“These five new research projects are asking questions that are highly relevant to aquatic systems in Illinois, Indiana, Lake Michigan and the broader Great Lakes region,” said IISG Director Tomas Höök. “We have great hopes that these Discovery Projects will indeed springboard their principal investigators to other opportunities and outcomes.”

Karolina Kwasek of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale will explore whether invasive Asian carp could be used to feed very young largemouth bass raised in aquaculture facilities. Largemouth bass are a popular species across the country, but their high protein requirements make them tricky to rear. Kwasek hopes this novel use of Asian carp may support aquaculture growers who wish to raise largemouth bass.

Invasive Species
Eric Larson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will use a relatively new concept, that of an avatar species, to predict where a new invasive species might establish. He will use the red swamp crayfish, which is already found in the Great Lakes basin, as an avatar to predict where another potential invader, Chelax destructor, might successfully establish. If successful, this method could potentially be applied to other potential invaders, including fish, aquatic plants, and other macroinvertebrates.

Jen Fisher of Indiana University Northwest will investigate whether pollution from failing septic systems might be affecting microbial communities on beach sand, ultimately posing a risk to human health. Her work will be focused in northeast Indiana.

An Li of the University of Illinois at Chicago will assess presence of microplastics in Lake Michigan sediments using samples that have been previously collected and analyzed for other contaminants. Through this work, she hopes to generate protocols that can be applied to sediments in any aquatic system.

John Scott of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center will examine whether microplastics help introduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the lower levels of aquatic food webs. His timely work has the potential to affect fish consumption advisories, if it seems likely that PFAS can be transferred up the food web.

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