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The Partnership for Research Excellence in Sustainable Seafood (PRESS) initiative announces an RFP that provides a mechanism of funding allowing a nimble and rapid response to critical issues in the Rhode Island seafood sector through interdisciplinary, collaborative research encompassing the seafood industry, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.

The PRESS initiative will consider proposals with the potential to positively impact the Rhode Island seafood system by identifying and addressing emerging and pressing issues affecting that system. The goal of the funding is to complement, build upon, or enhance (not duplicate) other sources of federal, state, or private funding. Therefore, priority will be given to projects that provide a strong rationale of need and address urgent concerns facing the Rhode Island seafood system but are challenged to find funding elsewhere. Two types of funding requests will be considered:

Feasibility Projects—Projects that seek to provide a proof of concept and/or will open the possibility for access to other funds. Project duration is limited to one year with a budget not exceeding $30,000. Projects showing proof of concept will be considered for additional funding.

Operational Projects—Projects targeted at implementation or more thorough study of issues or problems to develop solutions. Project duration will be one to three years with a budget not exceeding $50,000 per year.  Larger requests (up to $100,000 per year) will be considered but must provide strong reasoning and show broad partnerships to support the need of the project.

Examples of individuals and entities eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:

  • Seafood industry members, including aquaculture, wild harvest, processing, marketing, shoreside, and customer-facing entities.
  • Seafood-focused organizations, community groups, and nonprofits across Rhode Island.
  • Research, academic, outreach, and extension professionals focused on seafood system topics, including graduate and undergraduate students in Rhode Island academic institutions under the supervision of an academic advisor.

Examples of funding priorities that were collected from stakeholders in the seafood system include but are not limited to:

  • ACCESS AND POLICY – Fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and justice in the Rhode Island Food System.
  • SUSTAINABLE HARVESTING AND GROWING – Research and technical assistance to support development and adoption of more environmentally sustainable and effective practices for aquaculture and fisheries.
  • FOOD SYSTEM RESILIENCE – Diversification in aquaculture and fisheries across the state as an adaptive strategy to challenges to seafood production.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS TO FOOD SYSTEMS – Evaluation of the impact of environmental change on local seafood production and development of methods, approaches, and policies to mitigate those impacts.
  • PROCESSING – Development, evaluation, and implementation of environmentally sustainable processing equipment and operating practices.
  • MARKETING – Development, evaluation, and/or implementation of novel marketing approaches geared to increase the resilience of the RI seafood system.
  • WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT – Identifying and addressing gaps in resources supporting the viability and growth of seafood businesses in Rhode Island.

Preproposals are REQUIRED. It is also strongly encouraged that individuals reach out to the PRESS Team to discuss ideas before submitting a preproposal.

Preproposals will be accepted and reviewed quarterly. The deadline for the first round of preproposals is March 27, 2023. Applicants will be notified by June 16th. Deadline for preproposals for the second quarter is June 23rd with awardees notified by September 15, 2023. Further due dates will be posted, based on available funds.

For more information about PRESS and a list of PRESS Team and Coordinating Committee members, visit:

The PRESS Team:

  • Azure Cygler, Rhode Island Sea Grant Extension, ( (401) 874-6197
  • Marta Gomez-Chiarri, URI Professor in Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Sciences, PRESS Initiative coordinator, (, (401) 874-2917
  • Alan Desbonnet, Rhode Island Sea Grant Assistant Director, ( (401) 874-6813