The Lenfest Ocean Program prioritizes projects that are likely to meet decision-making and stakeholder needs. This means that projects need to be relevant for users, scientifically rigorous, and feasible within policy or management timelines. These projects often include meaningful engagement with those who might use the research - from the development of the research agenda through the research process. The Program has developed a list of guidance questions to help program officers determine whether a project is a good fit for this mission. 

Project Guidance

Successful projects feature clear links between challenges facing stakeholders and decision-makers and the research questions and approaches needed to address them. The program encourages potential grantees to demonstrate how collaboration and partnership with interested communities have framed the project or shaped the research questions.

Some of the criteria used to assess a project’s fit with the program’s mission are below, but please review the Program’s “Guidance Questions” document for more information:

  • How does the proposed research address an existing challenge or fill a knowledge gap?
  • Have stakeholders or decision-makers participated in the development of the project or research questions?
  • Will the proposed research generate information that the intended audiences can use at appropriate geographic and governance scales?
  • Can new information be provided in time for a discussion or decision-making deadline?
  • Is the research approach appropriate to answer the identified research questions?

Project Development

Key to the Program’s approach is a unique model for designing projects with potential grantees. Instead of following a more traditional review process that places restrictions on the interaction between applicants and program officers, the LOP engages directly with individuals to develop their ideas. The project development process has been designed to respond to a diverse set of research areas and decision contexts, and thus may look different for different projects.  A full explanation of the project development process can be found in the document “Understanding Project Development”.

The program funds research in two broad portfolios: wildlife and ecosystems; and climate impacts on oceans. Projects may address issues at a regional, national, or international scale.

Contact the program officers below for more information: