Earthwatch is pleased to announce a request for proposals for the Earthwatch 
Marine Multitrophic Ecology Youth Research Program, for field research projects 
to begin in 2018. PDFs 
of this announcement and details on the submission process are available here:

Request for Proposals for Field Research: Earthwatch Marine Multitrophic 
Ecology Youth Research Program

Oceans cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface area and produce some of 
humanity’s most important resources. They play an integral role in regulating 
many of the earth’s systems, 
such as climate, and provide food for billions of people and other vital 
ecosystem services. Yet ocean ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to 
global change. 
Historical and ongoing shifts to marine food webs have resulted in loss of 
biodiversity, extinction, and economic loss. Restoring resiliency to marine 
ecosystems requires 
multitrophic, data-rich research that examines marine megafaunal impacts on 
whole food webs. 

Effectively addressing global change and sustainability issues in the marine 
environment and beyond requires long-term vision and commitment, and 
necessitates a multi- 
generational approach. Authentically engaging youth in research may also 
fulfill many of the broader impact targets associated with other sources of 
funding, as well as providing 
high-level support for real-world STEM practices and Next Generation Science 
Standards. In order to mentor and encourage the next generation of 
environmental scientists and 
leaders, Earthwatch is inviting proposals for marine multitrophic ecology 
projects based in North America, Central America, Europe, and the Caribbean 
that actively engage youth in 
conducting field research.  

We are seeking research proposals from scientists for projects that will engage 
with young volunteers in order to address global change in ocean ecosystems by:
- Conducting novel multitrophic marine research utilizing principles of 
chemistry, biology, ecology and engineering;
- Assessing and/or addressing human-wildlife conflict between humans and marine 
- Mitigating the impacts of unsustainable resource extraction (both biotic and 
abiotic) in a manner that maintains native biodiversity and productivity;
- Directly informing management plans and environmental policies; and
- Relating the research to multi-generational solutions that are actionable by 
youth volunteers.

All proposed projects must study high-trophic level megafauna that potentially 
function as keystone species (e.g., Chelonioidea, Elasmobranchii, Sirenia and 
Cetacea) and have an 
overarching research theme directly related to global change. All must enable 
participation of young citizen scientists (15-18 years old). Projects must have 
the flexibility to 
allow participation by community members and adults as needed. All projects 
must have a research administrator to manage field and data logistics. We 
strongly welcome proposals 
for projects that will improve the livelihoods of human communities and help 
develop scientists in emerging nations.

Harnessing the Power of Citizen Science to Address Global Change:
For 45 years, in order to find sustainable solutions to global change, 
Earthwatch has sent scientists into the field assisted by citizen- scientist 
Collectively, our goal is to support projects that produce rigorous, relevant, 
and impactful science. Participation by volunteers increases the broader 
impacts of the research we 
support. Citizen scientists return home with a deeper awareness of what is at 
stake and greater commitment to address conservation challenges. 
To fit the citizen-science model of this RFP, all proposed projects must:
- Have a 3-year or longer duration (longer-term research may receive priority 
- Incorporate field-based research;
- Have data gathered primarily by citizen-scientist volunteers recruited by 
- Field 4 to 10 teams annually that span 7 to 14 days, each team accommodating 
up to 20 volunteers;
- Incorporate high-school student participation;
- Field in the summer, or in alignment with spring academic break (i.e. April, 
- Provide housing for volunteers within a reasonable distance from the research 
- Be run in English, with all communications and supporting documents in 
- Give equal emphasis to education and data collection; and
- Share project data with managers and if possible contribute to open-source 

Annual grants cover project expenses while in the field including: equipment 
(limited), tools, and supplies; research permits; scientist transport to the 
field; support staff; 
food and housing for principal investigators, staff, and Earthwatch volunteers. 
Grants do not cover scientist salaries, student tuition, overhead, capital 
equipment, or post-
fielding data analysis. Typical annual budgets average between US 
$20,000–$80,000, with approximately half covering project volunteer expenses. 
Final grants are based on the 
number of volunteers participating. 
We provide funding for 3 years, subject to passing an annual performance 
review. Funding is renewable, upon submitting a research renewal proposal. 

Additional Support:
All youth groups will be accompanied by 1-2 adult chaperones provided through 
Earthwatch. These adults are typically teachers, Earthwatch staff, and trained 
field techs from other 
projects. They provide additional support for the team on the ground, and 
manage youth after hours and during free time. We typically have a 6:1 ratio of 
youth to chaperones. We 
are happy to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing by connecting new PIs with PIs who 
have previously fielded youth teams through Earthwatch. 

Principal Investigator Requirements:
All proposals must be submitted by the PI with a PhD, an affiliation with a 
university, government agency, or NGO, who can pass a background check. We 
encourage graduate student 
participation in projects. Scientists must be interested in working with 15-18 
year old students. We encourage PIs and support staff with relevant experience 
to highlight this 
experience in their proposal. We particularly are interested in helping support 
developing scientists from emerging nations.

Submitting a Pre-Proposal:
All pre-proposals and supporting documents must be in English. Earthwatch will 
select pre-proposals for development into full research proposals based on 
quality and relevance of 
the project proposed, PI qualifications, and goodness of fit for citizen 
science. Due to safety concerns, we are unable to support projects in the areas 
indicated on the 
Earthwatch No Go List (available here:
To submit a pre-proposal, visit

Pre-Proposals for projects beginning in 2018 will be accepted through 11:59 PM 
(EDT) November 6, 2016. Please direct inquiries to:

Stan Rullman, PhD
Research Director
Earthwatch Institute
114 Western Ave, Boston, MA 02134                                                              

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