Michigan Sea Grant supports three types of innovative research to address important social and ecological issues facing the Great Lakes: core research that follows a traditional research model, an Integrated Assessment (IA) approach, and graduate student research fellowships.

This portfolio approach for our research program enables Michigan Sea Grant to explore a wide variety of issues relevant to our mission while engaging a range of researchers representing various fields of expertise.

Core Research

Core research projects investigate issues that affect the Great Lakes ecosystem. University-based researchers are encouraged to submit research projects that fulfill critical research needs for the Great Lakes and coastal ecosystems — and that fit within the focus areas of the Michigan Sea Grant Strategic Plan. Michigan Sea Grant also seeks to bring together innovative research teams from Michigan universities, and where possible, leverage active research programs conducted by federal and state agencies.

Graduate Student Research Fellowships

Michigan Sea Grant facilitates a number of fellowship opportunities to support the next generation of Great Lakes leaders. In 2016, Michigan Sea Grant introduced the Michigan Sea Grant Graduate Student Research Fellowship to support graduate students (M.S. or Ph.D.) enrolled at Michigan universities for one or two years. Students work with an academic advisor and an agency sponsor to conduct a research project that integrates with ongoing research at federal, state and tribal agencies to advance understanding of important Great Lakes issues.

For more information on fellowships, see: Michigan Sea Grant Graduate Student Fellowship    

Integrated Assessment

Rather than running additional experiments, an integrated assessment (IA) research team summarizes what is known and offers an assessment of how the science could be interpreted and used. The team focuses on a complex environmental issue and then conducts a comprehensive analysis of natural and social scientific data and information.

The IA process is different from traditional research because researchers work closely with stakeholders to examine an issue from many perspectives, identify challenges, and evaluate feasible solutions. The aim is to create results that are current, trusted, accessible, and useful.

For more information on this methodology, see: Integrated Assessment