Sea Grant provides a workforce of nearly 400 on‐the‐ground extension agents who reside in many of the communities they serve. As trusted experts who are considered honest brokers of information (non-advocacy), extension agents provide reliable technical and science‐based information to residents to address local needs while also transferring research priorities back to their universities.
Extension agents also work closely with Sea Grant communicators and educators, connecting university resources and expertise with local communities and user groups. An agent might develop new information through original applied research, gather existing information for user needs, transmit information and skills through pamphlets, courses, workshops, lectures and meetings; provide technical reviews of research and policies; and stimulate new research to meet perceived needs. In short, these specialists take complex information and show people how to use it to solve problems. Extension agents are focused on specific topics such as improving fisheries management, seafood safety, fishing gear enhancement, developing sustainable aquaculture, decreasing water pollution, restoring habitat and other topics that advance the safety and productivity of coastal‐related commerce.
Sea Grant educators provide valuable leadership in marine and aquatic science education activities throughout the nation, playing a leading role in K‐12, undergraduate, graduate, professional, technical and public education in coastal communities. Education programs are designed to inform citizens in coastal and Great Lakes communities and help prepare the next generation of professionals involved with our nation’s coastal resources, communities and economies. Sea Grant’s education portfolio includes undergraduate and graduate education, teacher education, K-12 curriculum development, fellowships, informal education for the general public, special training programs for industry and much more.Educators work closely with universities, the NOAA Office of Education, the National Marine Educators Association and other partners to develop formal education programs, workforce training and professional education programs.
The Sea Grant Education Network provides marine and aquatic science education nationwide and partners with other national education efforts.
Support for Graduate Students & Fellowships
Sea Grant funding supports about 900 graduate students each year in coastal‐related biological, natural and social sciences. In addition, Sea Grant offers fellowship programs, including the Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, which has brought over 900 graduate students interested in natural resource policy to Washington, D.C. to work with federal agencies and congressional offices as part of their professional training. NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office and the National Marine Fisheries Service established a graduate fellowship program for Ph.D. students interested in population dynamics and marine resource economics. Both fellowships have been successful in building NOAA and the nation’s workforce.
Nearly 90 communication professionals engage and educate a wide variety of audiences, helping them to understand and make informed decisions about important coastal and ocean issues. By utilizing a variety of media, including print, web, video, social media (including blogs and podcasts), displays, radio and television outlets, Sea Grant communicators keep the public informed about current research and technology and promote the understanding of marine and aquatic issues. Some communicators also engage in communication research initiatives, conducting stakeholder surveys on topical issues and testing communications strategies to assess their effectiveness and to better understand the needs of their audiences.
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