From Karl Havens, Florida Sea Grant College Program Director:
I wanted to let you all know about something new that we have started this year. As you know, we have a long history of sending FL university students to DC as Knauss Marine Policy Fellows, where they spend a year immersed in ocean and coastal policy work. I’ve always wanted to have a fellowship like this in Florida and it finally has happened. As a result of a couple of years of work, we just selected and hired the first ‘Florida Sea Grant / Florida Coastal Office Fellow.’ Her name is Kayleigh Michaelides and she is a 2013 graduate of the University of Miami. Kayleigh will work during the next year at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, under an Agreement for Interchange of Personnel that we have established with the FDEP. Her main job will be serving as a liaison between the Governor’s Alliances of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions. We won’t likely see much of her, because like Knauss Fellows, we get the funds and they go off and work for an agency. However, I wanted to let you know about this new program, which we anticipate to be long-term.
Also for your interest, we have started the process of giving out co-funded research grants (to date, one to Andy Kane at UF EPI co-funded by the FWC, and one to Mahmood Shivji at NOVA, co-funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation). When out next call for research proposals comes out in January, expect to see at least two projects that are paid 50/50 from our NOAA grant and by external monies – so far, one by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and one by The Nature Conservancy. The aim is to co-fund grants in order to stretch our research budget farther. As you know, we have an extra $400K per year to put into research, and my aim is to have close to $1.5M a year going into research projects via this extra money and co-funded projects (compared to about $880K a year in recent years). We also have a new extension project dealing with training people in habitat restoration – a three year project with an expected total cost of $440K, with half of the funds coming from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The program then will be self-supporting, in a very similar way that the modules of the Master Naturalist program work. Marty is the lead for this great idea.