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Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE)


Currently relatively few ocean scientists successfully integrate their research into formal or informal education. To address this challenge, the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) program was developed to support the establishment of a network of coordinated centers designed to facilitate collaborations and communications between ocean science researchers and educators. In Phase 1 of COSEE, seven regional Centers and a service-oriented Central Coordinating Office (COSEE) were funded to foster the integration of ocean research into high quality educational materials, allow ocean researchers to gain a better understanding of educational organizations and pedagogy, provide educators with an enhanced capacity to understand and deliver high-quality educational programs in the ocean sciences, and provide material to the public that will promote a deeper understanding of the ocean and its influence on each person's quality of life and our national prosperity. In FY 2006, NSF hopes to extend support for existing successful Centers and expand the network.

The COSEE program was developed with extensive input from the ocean science research and education communities. In 2000, NSF supported a broad-based community needs assessment workshop with 73 leaders from multiple constitutiences. Stakeholders included research scientists, technologists, K-8 formal educators, 9-12 formal educators, teacher professional development providers, informal educators and the media. Cross-cutting themes included diversity, electronic portal design, materials and curriculum development, collaborations, internships, careers and evaluation of ocean science initiatives. In 2001, an 11 member Implementation Steering Committee provided further community guidance to focus efforts and establish priorities. The COSEE Announcement of Opportunity was issued on October 11,2001. Awards from the first COSEE competition were announced in November 2002.




The collaborative partnerships developed by COSEE are expected to make a significant contribution to improving K-16 science education nationwide. Ocean scientists will be better equipped to integrate science and education as they pursue their scientific and academic careers. More effective educational materials, programs and best practices will be developed that do not duplicate but build on the best available existing materials. Ultimately, the work of the COSEE Centers will engage more students in the excitement and discovery of science and help the nation create a more scientifically literate workforce and citizenry.






An 11 member panel met April 22-23, 2002. A subset of 3-5 panelists prepared advance written reviews for each proposal. One additional panelist was unable to participate for medical reasons but submitted written reviews.

Male: 4 White: 9
Female: 8 Unknown: 0
American Indian or Alaskan: 0 Handicapped: 0
Black or African American: 1  
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0 New Reviewers: 


Grant Number: 0215497 (COSEE-West/USC-UCLA)

Nugget: Yes | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: Yes | Innovative: -

The COSEE Centers are relatively complex collaborative undertakings that have not been operating long enough (from 6-9 months) for program to be able to provide a long list of accomplishments and outcomes gleaned from the first batch of annual reports. Thus, only one example of a successful outcome/output is presented here.

In its first year of operations, COSEE-West, an collaborative between ocean scientists at UCLA and the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Unified School District has reported rapid and successful implementation of the new COSEE West Lecture Series and a companion set of workshops, the Sea Awareness Education Series supported by the NSF-funded Los Angeles Urban Systemic Program The COSEE WEST Lectures-SEAS format has provided a vibrant forum for learning and two-way exchange of expertise between ocean scientists and science teachers. The 5 public lectures and 10 workshops held in the first year focused on physical oceanography, atmospheric and ocean circulation, coral reefs, algal blooms, gelatinous organisms in the oceans, plankton, marine mammals and kelp habitat. Participant feedback has been extremely positive and the LA USD has promised to include COSEE-West programing as a budget line item and fund a full-time teacher to help infuse ocean sciences into the District's science curriculum.

Program considers this outcome to be noteworthy because the Center has very quickly designed and implemented a high quality program in a challenging, urban environment with multiple demands on teachers and students. A solid set of partnerships and procedures for effective collaboration has also been established and provides the infrastructure and operational framework for this accomplishment.

Nugget Text:
This award provides support to establish a COSEE West in the greater Los Angeles area with a diverse mix of activities aimed at 1) enhancing regional awareness of ocean sciences, 2) using ocean science as a vehicle to increase general science literacy and 3) increasing the number of students who choose science and ocean science careers. These goals will be addressed by through catalytic, multi-faceted collaboration between the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles with additional links to the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the greater Los Angeles school districts. A distance learning partnership will be established with the College of Exploration in Virginia. Activities will include an extensive professional development and leadership program for science teachers, a community lecture series, an ocean science web site, a college mentorship program and curriculum development activities. This center is one of seven that were funded in 2002 to initiate a nationwide system of Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence. This new Center has tremendous potential to greatly enhance science education in a densely populated and diverse major urban area.


Grant Number:

Nugget: Yes/No | High Risk: Yes/ No | Multi-disciplinary: Yes/No | Innovative: Yes/No

None submitted by program


Grant Number: 0215402 (South-East COSEE/SC Sea Grant Consortium)

Nugget: No | High Risk: No | Multi-disciplinary: No | Innovative: Yes

In the first 6 months of this award, South East COSEE (SECOSEE) Director L. Spence convened a multi-cultural charette (program planning session) to seek community guidance on how to create initiatives and programs that meet the needs of the region's diverse populations (primarily African American and Native American). One especially promising idea that emerged is the concept of linking cultural/historical themes (such as the history, economics and sociology of the mosquito fleet in Charleston) to coastal & ocean science concepts. Recommended vehicles for outreach are the development of one-day mini-camps to introduce elementary students to the marine environment, the dissemination of relevant teaching materials in a 'traveling trunk' format and the promotion of Ocean Awareness/Science days associated with regional events (such as Charleston port call days for the America Amistead). Results presented here were gleaned from background material in supplement request #0341929.

This award is also an excellent example of inter-agency collaboration. Approximately 60% of the funding to date has been provided via interagency transfer from NOAA (National Ocean Service and Office of Ocean Exploration).


Number of Proposal Actions

    35 (all in FY02)

    • Awards: 14 *
    • Declines: 21 *
    • Other: 0

    *: See note below under "Funding Rate."

Award Size and Duration

    • Number of Competitive Awards: 24**
    • Annual Median (Current $): $123,064 (Constant $): $123,064**
    • Mean Duration: 3.8**
    • Active Median (Current $): $83,809 (Constant $): $83,809**

    **: Statistics are combined in overall OCE figures, FY02 only.

Dwell Time

    • Number of Proposals: 57**
    • Average Months: 6.61 (Std Dev =1.45)**
    • 0-6 months: 30%
    • >6-9 months: 68%
    • >9-12 months: 0%
    • >12 months: 2%

    **: Statistics are combined in overall OCE figures, FY02 only.

Funding Rate
Of the 35 submissions to FastLane, 14 were components of collaborative proposals making up 5 proposal clusters. The decline and award tabulations given are based on this total. For a more realistic % of proposal outcomes, collaboratives should be considered as 'clustered submissions'. If 'clusters' are counted as one submitted project, there were 26 submissions, 8 awards (31%) and 18 declines (69%).

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