For 50 years, WSG has served the Pacific Northwest and the nation by funding high quality marine research and working with communities, managers, businesses, educators and the public to advance regional understanding and sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources.
Based at the University of Washington (UW), WSG is part of a national network of 34 Sea Grant colleges and institutions located in U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and territories. The National Sea Grant College Program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and funded through federal-university partnerships.
WSG’s location at the UW provides access to one of the nation’s largest research universities and a leading recipient of federal science support. As one of the 13 core units within the UW College of the Environment, WSG draws on the college’s academic strengths in fisheries, marine science, oceanography, engineering and policy. WSG also works with many other colleges and departments in the UW system, as well as other academic and research institutions throughout the Pacific Northwest to support both faculty and students.
Working with a broad range of organizations focused on use and conservation of the marine environment and its resources, WSG supports the needs of an even larger set of stakeholders. Among WSG’s primary partners are institutions of higher learning, NOAA and other federal and state agencies, local and tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, K-12 educators and students, industries and businesses, news media and, most importantly, the public.
At all levels, WSG relies on an engaged and active advisory committee that provides ideas, perspective, feedback and direction on the implementation of WSG’s mission. The committee’s membership represents program partners and stakeholders and is listed on the WSG website.
Core Program Functions
WSG organizes its activities around four core functions: research, outreach, education and communications. The integration of these four core functions is key to carrying out WSG’s mission.
Research sponsored by WSG combines scientific excellence and a focus on issues and processes that affect ocean and coastal ecosystems and communities in Washington and the Pacific Northwest.
In a highly competitive selection process, top priority goes to projects that respond to needs of communities and natural resource managers, build regional scientific capacity, and provide knowledge for use in the marine and coastal environment. Projects range from providing sea level rise predictions in Washington State to educating boaters on best practices for protecting water quality.
WSG engages in a mix of basic and applied research, which includes generating scientific data as well as supporting traditional and local knowledge. Research approaches are biophysical; social; often interdisciplinary; and follow professional standards, policies and ethics. In addition, each WSG research project is encouraged to engage with practitioners, and must include an engagement plan for including relevant community input in project development and making the results available to broader audiences who can use them. The WSG research portfolio typically includes as many as 40 ongoing projects supporting nearly 100 investigators, 80 institutions and 60 graduate and undergraduate students in any given year.
For more information go to Research.
Outreach staff provide technical assistance to address community and environmental needs and to connect marine and coastal constituents to the best available science, local and traditional knowledge and information. The outreach program cultivates strong partnerships and engages with and creates understanding among diverse audiences to support and foster healthy environments, strong local economies, vibrant coastal communities, and useful educational and career pathways for Washington communities.
WSG specialists work in a broad range of topic areas, including aquaculture, fisheries, water quality, habitat restoration, indigenous ways of knowing, citizen science, aquatic invasive species, community sustainability, human well-being, coastal development and management, marine operational safety and technology, oil spill prevention, climate change and hazard resilience and environmental justice.
For more information go to Community Outreach.
By engaging learners of all ages, WSG’s education and training programs enhance the public’s understanding and stewardship of marine resources and provide professional development opportunities that nurture and encourage ocean-related careers for all communities including underrepresented and underserved individuals and groups. WSG supports informal educational programs for K-12 students, including an annual science camp and a statewide ocean sciences tournament for high school students. WSG seeks to base its education programs within local communities and include their input.
WSG also presents undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students with opportunities to compete for different fellowship programs that expand horizons and enhance future careers. Fellowships include the WSG State Fellowship, Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, and the Science Communications Fellowship to name a few. Through WSG research projects, training is provided for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral investigators in a range of science topics, as well as maritime careers.
For more information go to Ocean Learning.
Maintaining the program’s commitment to providing unbiased, science-based and place-based information, WSG communications keep the public up to date on relevant research and technology, support marine users’ and community needs, and create cross-cultural understanding.
The team maintains the WSG website and social media channels, produces publications and materials supporting the range of WSG activities and proactively responds to media inquiries about Sea Grant outreach and research.
Using a variety of communications, WSG works to produce and create access to technical, scientific and place-based information that is useful to a broad set of constituents.
For more information go to Press Room.