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Coastal Science Assistantship Program<< Back to Key Initiatives

Issue Addressed

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) continues its support for an assistantship program called the Coastal Science Assistantship Program (CSAP). This program provides assistantships for up to three years to support Master of Science students both enrolled full-time at Louisiana colleges/universities and involved in science or engineering research relevant to Louisiana coastal protection and restoration efforts.

The program will both expose students to CPRA activities and provide a potential avenue for recruitment of new CPRA personnel. CSAP will allow CPRA to address two recurring problems: the lack of funding for applied coastal ecosystem restoration research and the lack of relevant work experience among CPRA job applicants.

Project Goals

Funding these assistantships will allow CPRA to direct scientific research to answer questions about planning, designing, constructing and evaluating coastal protection and restoration projects, which will ultimately contribute to program success. In addition, these assistantships will improve CPRA’s scientific credibility by developing relationships among the students, the professors, their universities, and CPRA.

These improved relationships will allow for greater communication and participation in the state’s coastal protection and restoration program. Finally, the program will provide valuable recruitment opportunities to assist CPRA with its recurring need for capable employees with M.S. Degrees.

In addition to monetary support for up to three years, participation in the CSAP will provide students invaluable professional working experience beyond that gained in traditional academia. The required internship with CPRA staff will offer on-the-job training that promotes understanding of CPRA’s daily activities and of broader issues relevant to coastal protection and restoration.

This training will make the students attractive job candidates, thus increasing their opportunity for employment within CPRA after graduation. If not ultimately employed with CPRA, students will have been exposed to the issues of coastal land loss and will hopefully remain engaged with the protection and restoration effort in some other capacity.

Project Status

In October of each year, Louisiana Sea Grant will release an announcement to the in-state academic community soliciting applications for funding to support graduate students involved in research relevant to coastal protection and restoration projects in Louisiana. Faculty at Louisiana colleges/universities will be responsible for submitting applications (see application) and research must be consistent with the CPRA mission of protecting coastal communities and offsetting coastal wetlands loss. These applications will be due to LSG on or about 15 December.

After receipt of applications, CPRA personnel will evaluate each for technical merit and relevance to CPRA ongoing or proposed activities. Decisions on award of the four new assistantships will be made by 30 January of each year. This deadline should allow faculty sufficient time to recruit students during the winter and early spring prior to the initiation of assistantship duties either in the summer or in the fall.

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Project Details

Project Type: Key Initiative