Research Funding and Fellowships

Funding and Fellowship Opportunities

As part of its mission, the Delta Science Program provides multiple research and fellowship opportunities. To date, the Delta Science Program has supported hundreds of research projects that address key knowledge gaps and fundamentally advance the understanding of the Bay-Delta’s dynamic socio-ecological system. All projects are vetted through independent peer review processes, which safeguard decisions from potential bias or conflict of interest. More information about the Delta Science Program’s policies and procedures for research funding, and its Conflict of Interest Policy [Appendix L], is described in detail in the 2019 Delta Science Plan.

  • The Delta Science Tracker is an online tool for communicating outcomes from funded projects, fostering collaborations, providing transparency, and addressing management needs.
  • Read the latest Delta Breeze newsletter, published by the Delta Science Program to highlight funded projects, upcoming opportunities, and more.

Delta Research Proposal Solicitations

The Delta Science Program and its funding partners regularly solicit the scientific community for proposals that address high-priority research topics and management needs identified in the Science Action Agenda. Visit the Delta Research Proposal Solicitations web page for information about the latest Delta Science proposal solicitation.

The Delta Stewardship Council’s 2022 California Sea Grant State Fellow Tabitha Birdwell released a StoryMap focused on the Delta Science Research Awards from the 2018-2019 Delta Science Proposal Solicitation cycle funded by the Council and its partners. It takes readers on an immersive virtual tour across the Delta, summarizing the research and mapping where the 14 funded research teams focused their efforts from 2019-2022. The StoryMap summarizes key points of each project, including the catalyst behind the research, key research steps, and resulting management implications or public benefits. It further draws connections between research and management priorities for each project by highlighting their contributions to the 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda’s five Action Areas.

Directed Action Science Investigations

Directed action science investigations are funded when the Delta Science Program determines that scientific research or advice is clearly defined and needed quickly or if an important opportunity would be lost if the proposal had to go through a lengthy competitive selection process.

Delta Science Fellows Program

The Delta Science Program oversees the Delta Science Fellows Program (previously known as the CALFED Science Fellows Program), which is funded by the Council and administered by California Sea Grant. The Delta Science Fellows Program provides up to two years of support to awardees to pursue biophysical and social science research on key topics related to water management and ecosystem health in the Bay-Delta. These early-career scientists work collaboratively with academic and community mentors to address priority issues identified in the Science Action Agenda.

Most recently, the 2022 Delta Science Fellowships were awarded to eight recipients. The State Water Contractors provided funds to support one fellow, and seven fellows are supported from the Delta Stewardship Council’s general fund. The recipients include one Master’s student, four PhD students, and three postdoctoral scholars from five academic institutions in the University of California and California State University systems. Read the information sheet to learn about the fellowship recipients and their research.

The next call for applications for the Delta Science Fellows Program is expected in the fall of 2023. Check back here or with California Sea Grant to learn when applications are open.

In case you missed it: The fall 2021 issue of the Delta Science Program’s Delta Breeze newsletter featured research results and updates from 2016 to 2018 Delta science fellows. Delta Lead Scientist Dr. Laurel Larsen also discussed this topic in an Instagram Live session with two-time Delta Science Fellow Dr. Denise Colombano. A recording of this session is available on the Council's IGTV.

Policy Fellows Program

The Delta Science Program also 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. Learn more about the 2023 Policy Fellows cohort in our information sheet. More information about the fellowship is available on the California Sea Grant website.