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Investing in Great Lakes, coastal and watershed research that matters

Pennsylvania Sea Grant casts a wide net to gather input and data from partners across the Commonwealth to ensure that research topics focus on critical issues that impact our Great Lakes, coastlines, and watersheds. This research has the potential to yield solution-based results to assist decision makers, address pressing coastal and watershed issues, and develop or update statewide ecosystem management strategies.

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Research opportunities are announced through a biennial request for proposal (RFP) process. Projects must specifically address the Lake Erie, Delaware River, or Susquehanna River regions of Pennsylvania and at least one of Pennsylvania Sea Grant’s priority areas. Since 2012, Pennsylvania Sea Grant has invested $4.7 million, supporting 68 competitive research projects conducted by 23 institutions, which has also led to research experience for 146 undergraduate, and over 60 graduate students.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant Research Investment Impacts

  • Investment of $4.7 million 
  • Funded 68 research projects conducted by 23 institutions
  • Provided experience for 146 undergraduate students and over 60 graduate students

As reported since 2012

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Resources for Researchers

The next opportunity to submit a research proposal will be January 2025. In the meantime, researchers interested in submitting a proposal should visit the resources for researchers page to learn more about the process and requirements.

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Natural History Museum

Pennsylvania Sea Grant oversees the Natural History Museum at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA. The museum is a depository for natural history specimens collected primarily from northwest Pennsylvania, and serves as a resource for scientific studies of the ecology of the region.

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Featured Research

Lake Erie Bluff Recession

Pennsylvania Sea Grant funded research studied Lake Erie bluff recession. The research resulted in the development of several tools to assist homeowners, planners and the community better manage and maintain the coastline.

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Featured Researcher

Shirley Clark, environmental engineer and faculty at Penn State Harrisburg is leading research efforts to understand and deal with flooding in the south central community, Middletown.


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Sean Rafferty

Research Director



Sean Rafferty, Ph.D., joined Pennsylvania Sea Grant in 2001, and currently serves as research director. Sean is responsible for directing and overseeing the Research and Fellowship Program; directing, overseeing, and conducting ecological-based research and extension projects;

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