Join SECOORA Give Back

January 12, 2021

Now Open: 2021 Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars Award

In remembrance of Vembu Subramanian – our friend and colleague – the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) established an award for the next generation of ocean experts.

Click here for PDF of Request for Proposals.


SECOORA is continuing Vembu’s legacy by sponsoring the annual Ocean Scholars Award.  There will be two awards this year: an undergraduate and other (for graduate students and early career professionals), each in the amount of $1,250. The funds are to be used to support recipients’ participation in a virtual or in-person regional, national, or international meeting or conference.  Proposals are due March 12, 2021, 5:00 PM ET.

SECOORA recognizes that many meetings are moving into the virtual space due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you receive an award and your meeting is postponed instead of becoming a virtual event, SECOORA will work with you to accommodate funding travel to the postponed meeting or conference.

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, in the event that 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
    • Category under which you are applying, Category 1: Undergraduate, or Category 2: Other
    • Applicant’s name and complete contact information
    • Advisor name and contact information (i.e. professor supervising work). If applying as an early career professional, please include your employer’s contact information, job title, name of company/institution, and hire date
    • 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. Successful recipients from non-SECOORA Member institutions will receive a 1-year complimentary Individual membership to SECOORA for the mentor.

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: $1,250  
Applicants must 1) must attend an academic institution in the SECOORA region, 2) be an undergraduate student, and 3) be enrolled as an undergraduate student during the Spring 2021 semester.  

Other Category

Prize: $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).


Please submit the entire application package electronically in PDF format through The submission deadline is 5:00 PM ET on March 12, 2021.

You must complete the registration process in order to upload a proposal to 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 March 12, 2021 on
  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 April 2021. 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 ( 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 sustains and advances coastal and ocean observing, modeling, and data management subsystems for the US southeast coastal and ocean waters. SECOORA supports maintenance and operation of in-situ real-time ocean moorings and High Frequency (HF) radar observational networks from North Carolina to West Florida; a multi-scale, multi-resolution modeling subsystem that delivers model data and products for coastal resource and emergency response managers and other users; and has established 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). Information products are made available to stakeholders and decision makers via the SECOORA data portal. 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.