2022 Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars Award

Travel award to present research at a virtual or in-person regional, national, or international meetings or conferences. A total of $2,500 is available. Ideally, SECOORA will support at least one person in each funding category (Undergraduate and Graduate / Early Career). Proposals are due Thursday September 22, 5:00 PM ET.

August 3, 2022

In remembrance of Vembu Subramanian – our friend, colleague, and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) Data Manager – SECOORA established a travel award for the next generation of ocean experts to meet others in their field and present their work at meetings or conferences.


SECOORA is continuing Vembu’s legacy by sponsoring the annual Ocean Scholars Award. SECOORA will support participation in a virtual or in-person regional, national, or international meetings or conferences. 

A total of $2,500 is available for this opportunity. SECOORA anticipates funding 2-3 recipients with the available funds.  No one can receive more than $1,250 in travel support. Ideally, we will support at least one person in each funding category (Undergraduate and Graduate / Early Career).  

Proposals are due Thursday September 22, 5:00 PM ET.

Request for Applications/Proposal

Proposals must follow the required proposal format and be relevant to a SECOORA focus area. Proposals that do not follow the required format will not be evaluated.

All proposed activities must be completed within one year of the project start date; however, if the identified meeting or conference is postponed, SECOORA will provide an extension to the award.
Maximum page length is four pages (not including appendices). Text should be 12-point font, all margins one-inch, and must include the following components:

  •  Title Page
    • Proposal title
    • Applicant’s name and complete contact information (email, phone number, mailing address)
    • Advisor name and contact information (i.e. professor supervising work)
    • Proposal summary (one paragraph)
  • Short description of research being to be presented
    • Statement of the issue being addressed.
    • Project description including research goals, objectives, and location of research sites. At least a portion of the research must be conducted within the SECOORA region.
    • Identification of SECOORA focus area addressed and user/stakeholder engagement.
  • Description of conference attending
    • Identify the in-person or virtual conference you plan to attend. Provide a brief rationale for presenting your work at the selected conference, and whether your presentation will be an oral presentation or a poster session.
    • Provide a budget and budget justification.
      • In person Conference or Meeting: Funds may be used for any purpose related to the conference travel. The budget should include items such as conference registration fees, transportation costs (e.g., airfare, mileage), lodging rate, per diem, etc.
      • Virtual Conference or Meeting: Funds may be used for any purpose related to the presenting at the virtual conference. This includes conference registration fees, abstract submission fees, virtual poster creation, etc.
      • Please note University overhead charges are not permitted, nor is any support for the faculty sponsor. Matching funds and in-kind support are not required.

The following are proposal appendices that do NOT count towards the four-page limit:

  • Literature cited page
  • Applicants must include a one-page curriculum vitae (CV) or resume.
  • For undergraduate and graduate students, a signed letter of support from their major professor is required.
  • Graduate and undergraduate students must also submit a transcript and a completed SECOORA endorsement form by College/University sponsored programs office.


An eligible applicant is any student studying at university OR working at an organization (if applying as an early career professional) in the SECOORA region – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. SECOORA is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication, and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives, and ways of thinking. We encourage diverse applicants from all backgrounds to apply for this competitive opportunity.

Undergraduate Category

Prize: up to $1,250  
Applicants must 1) reside in and attend an academic institution in the SECOORA region, 2) be an undergraduate student, and 3) be enrolled as an undergraduate student during the Fall 2022 semester.

Graduate / Early Career Category

Prize: up to $1,250  
Applicants must 1) attend an academic institution in the SECOORA region OR work at an organization in the SECOORA region (if applying as an early career professional), and 2) be a graduate student OR an early career professional (working less than five years from your most recent graduation date).

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation criteria are the same for ALL categories.

  • Demonstrated need for attending conference – 30%
  • Clear statement of issue being addressed – 25%
  • Demonstrated value one or more of SECOORA’s Focus Areas – 25%
  • Reasonableness of budget – 10%
  • Follows proposal guidelines – 10%


Please submit the entire application package electronically in PDF format through egrants.secoora.org. The submission deadline is 5:00 PM ET on September 22, 2022.

You must complete the registration process in order to upload a proposal to egrants.secoora.org. This is a two-part verification system (phone and email confirmations are required). Once you have registered, please select the Request for Proposal to which you are applying, complete the required fields, and upload your proposal as a complete PDF.

Application/Proposal Review Process and Terms

  1. Proposal package is due by 5:00 PM ET on September 22, 2022 on egrants.secoora.org.
  2. SECOORA will convene a 3-5 person review panel that includes SECOORA staff and members. The review panel will rank proposals based on their relevance to SECOORA’s mission and stakeholder needs and adherence to the instructions provided in this request for proposals.
  3. All work must be completed no later than one year after receiving the award unless an extension has been approved.
  4. Upon completion, the successful scholar will have to submit a photo of the scholar presenting at the meeting/conference. SECOORA will use the photo in a SECOORA news story which will be posted on-line and distributed via our newsletter mailing list.

Award Funding

The successful applicants will be notified no later than October 2022. Funds will be distributed by SECOORA to the applicant’s university and will be managed by the awardee’s major professor, who must agree to serve as principal investigator on the project. Funding for early career professionals will be distributed to the applicant as a subcontract from SECOORA.

This is an open and competitive process. SECOORA reserves the right to reject any and all applications/proposals received as a result of this process. SECOORA reserves the right to request that applicants make modifications to proposals at any time before an award is made.

Questions Regarding Solicitation

For any questions related to this solicitation, please contact Abbey Wakely (abbey@secoora.pactmedia.org). Good-faith efforts will be made to answer as many questions as possible, but an answer is not guaranteed for every question.


The SECOORA region encompasses Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. This opportunity enables recipients to become familiar with SECOORA’s mission and objectives, US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), and related marine scientific and technological programs.

SECOORA is one of the 11 coastal ocean observing regional associations partnered with the US IOOS. SECOORA’s observing system is comprised of multiple data products, moored and coastal stations, high-frequency radars, a glider observatory, a water level network, and a robust data management and communications infrastructure.

SECOORA is IOOS certified and implements the US IOOS recommended standards that promote interoperability, discovery, efficient data aggregation, access, sharing, visualization, and use of coastal ocean data (physical, chemical, biological and geological). SECOORA’s website provides a central hub for access to our communication, education, and other content materials as well as our data, models, and data portal.