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January 2024 – Desk of the Director – Happy New Year!

Dear Sea Grant Colleagues, 

Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a chance to rest, recover, and reflect this winter and are recharged and that you are looking forward with excitement and optimism to another stellar year for Sea Grant and each of you individually. We have much to celebrate!

It is also that time of year when the hustle and bustle are ramping up once again. This Desk of the Director is focused on providing proactive updates and information and on a number of issues that we are receiving questions about from the network. Before getting to those, I want to acknowledge the overall level of uncertainty that exists in ‘the system’ at the current time. The federal government continues to operate under a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that, for NOAA and Sea Grant, runs through Feb 2nd. We all hope for clarity on our FY24 appropriations to finalize the commitments we have budgeted to our priority investments. Beyond appropriations, we all have been dealing with the first upgrade to both our grants system (from Grants Online to eRA) and our federal budget system in nearly twenty years. Unfortunately, these transitions have experienced delays at the Department and Agency levels that continue to impact our work in the NSGO and for the programs that are complicating the delivery of federal funds to our programs and priorities (see more detail below). On top of these, 2024 is an election year, which always brings with it a degree of posturing, altered legislative timelines, and uncertainty. My intent here is not to throw the preverbal ‘wet blanket’ on our optimism for 2024, but to ask each of us to be understanding and patient with each other as we navigate these uncertainties over the coming months.

As you all know, there are always plenty of moving parts, but I would like to highlight those that have recently fallen into place: 

  • We have received your input on scheduling your upcoming Site Review Team (SRT) visits. Thank you for your responses. We are working with the Evaluation Committee of the Advisory Board to finalize both NSGO and Advisory Board representatives for each team. We look forward to sharing those schedules with you in the coming weeks. 
  • NSGO staff are continuing to clear submissions in the 90-2 webform so your projects will then be available in PIER.
    Reminder: You can continue to submit projects in the webform. The 90-2 deadline to input your omnibus projects remains January 19, 2024. Please denote your resilience projects with “SG Core-resilience” in the comment box. If you have any questions or problems making this deadline, please email
  • We are looking forward to nominating and adding new members to our Advisory Board to replace members who will be leaving the Board in the coming year. There is currently an open call for nominations as we seek to fill geographical and other gaps in our current Board cohort. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone for this role, there is still time! Nominations will be accepted until January 31st, 2024 for this batch and on a rolling basis after that. 

We understand many programs are still learning and working through various items within eRA, as are our program officers. Your continued diligence and patience are appreciated as NOAA works through the new system. NSGO will continue to provide as much grace and flexibility as we can. As a reminder, please continue to use Updates, Newsletters, Training, the eRA Service Desk, and connect with your PO as needed. Additionally: 

  • We continue to encounter delays due to the transition to eRA (the granting system) and BAS (our new accounting system). As a result of these transitions, for Knauss, Omnibus, and any other relevant awards, funds may not be available to the programs by February 1. We expect that proposed start dates (e.g., February 1 for Knauss and Omnibus) will be honored when the awards are fully approved.
    • Knauss Awards: Please note, we appreciate and encourage all efforts to assist in ensuring that Knauss fellows will receive their pay on time. As a reminder, if a funding letter is needed to assist in those efforts (e.g., setting up hardship or Dean’s pledge accounts), one may be requested from the fellowships team ( 
    • Omnibus Awards: The NOAA Grants Management Division (GMD) is currently reviewing omnibus applications for final approval. Due to the continuing resolution (e.g., NSGO currently has partial funding for the year), most awards will only contain research (R/ and P/) and management (M/) funding on this initial release. However, since these are research awards, programs are able to rebudget across projects within the award as needed. 
  • Reporting: NOAA released a partial update on reporting in eRA, which notes extensions are allowed to 4/30/2024 to submit any relevant financial and progress reports (what would have been due between August 31, 2023 and March 31, 2024). While we know some are there now, it has yet to be made clear to us when all reports will be available for information entry in the system, and we know some changes are coming for timing and format. However, we will wait for further NOAA follow-up. As NOAA provides more external communication we will be in touch and will continue to determine with the network ways to balance accountability, efficiencies, and impactful messaging across reporting mechanisms.

Despite the challenges, I hope that you are able to continue to focus on the phenomenal work that you do to create and deliver science-based knowledge and educational opportunities to serve the coastal and Great Lakes communities and constituents that you work with. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. I wish you all a wonderful year ahead. 

Warm wishes, 


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