Research Funding and Fellowships

The Delta Science Program funds scientific research critical to establishing authoritative knowledge relevant to Delta management. This knowledge will fundamentally advance the understanding of the complex environments and ecosystems within the Bay-Delta system. To date, the Delta Science Program has funded 169 research projects. In 2019, the Delta Science Program funded 15 projects as part of a proposal solicitation.

Funding and Fellowship Opportunities

The Delta Science Program offers funding for scientific research and fellowship opportunities through the mechanisms described below. More information about the policies and procedures for research funding can be found in the Delta Science Plan.

Competitive Research Awards Program

The Delta Science Program, in collaboration with stakeholders and independent scientists, identifies high priority focused topics for scientific research and solicits the scientific community for proposals to address the topics. Research awards have been provided using a Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) process. The 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2010 PSP research awards resulted in combined funding of 48 proposals for a total of over $27 million.

Most recently, the Delta Science Program funded 15 proposals in 2019 resulting from a multi-agency competitive proposal solicitation. The Delta Science Program, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded a total of $16.9 million for high priority science research in the Delta.

Directed Action Science Investigations

Directed action science investigations are funded when the scientific research or advice is clearly defined and needed quickly or an important opportunity would be lost if the proposal had to be go through a competitive bid funding process. With directed actions, there is typically only one entity (individual or team) that is qualified and available to do the work within the desired time frame. View our currently funded directed action science investigations.

Science Fellowship Program

California Sea Grant administers this fellowship program on behalf of the Delta Science Program (previously known as the CALFED Science Fellowship), providing up to two years of support to awardees to pursue research on key topics related to water management and ecosystem health in the San Francisco Bay-Delta. The early-career scientists work collaboratively with academic and community mentors to address priority issues identified in the 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda.

Most recently, the Delta Science Program and California Sea Grant announced 10 recipients of the 2020 Delta Science Fellowship, with the State Water Contractors providing additional financial commitment to support three of these fellows. The recipients include eight University of California (UC) postdoctoral researchers and doctoral graduate students, one California State University (CSU) masters student, and one postdoctoral researcher from Stanford University. To learn more about the 2020 Delta Science Fellowship awardees and their upcoming research projects, please visit California Sea Grant’s website.

Policy Fellowship Program

The Delta Science program hosts policy fellows through the California Sea Grant State Fellows Program. This fellowship provides unique educational opportunities for graduate students who are interested in aquatic resources and the policy decisions affecting those resources. The program matches highly motivated and qualified individuals with hosts in municipal, state, and federal agencies in California for a 12-month paid fellowship. More information about the fellowship is available on the California Sea Grant website.