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Ecological and Biological Research to Inform Management

Apply for Active Grant Opportunities

The GLFT provides funding to support fisheries research through competitive grantmaking within established thematic areas and through funder-directed grants. Funded activities include hypothesis-driven research as well as tools, resources, and capacity-building efforts that support the development or use and application of research. The Research request for proposals is released annually in the winter. Preproposals are due in January of each year. Full proposals are accepted by invitation in early spring.

The goals of the Trust’s investments in fisheries research are to create a more resilient and stable fish community, increase the sustainable value of the fishery to stakeholders, and foster and increase self-sustaining fish populations.

Applicant Eligibility

Organizations eligible to apply for GLFT grants include nonprofit, educational, and governmental (including tribal) organizations.

Project Eligibility

Initial project eligibility requirements include:

  • Research must be relevant to the Lake Michigan fishery but does not need to occur in the Lake Michigan basin. Projects outside of the Lake Michigan basin are considered if their results and outcomes are transferable to Lake Michigan.
  • Research must have clear management implications and applications.
  • Research projects should consider and thoughtfully engage interagency priorities facilitated through the Council of Lake Committees, the individual lake committees, and independent committees such as the Fish Health Committee.
  • Research projects should prioritize authentic researcher-manager collaboration.
  • Research must address the priorities identified in the Trust’s established thematic areas.
  • Lake whitefish recruitment
  • Ecosystem disruption
  • Habitat research and evaluation
  • Aquatic invasive species
  • Native species rehabilitation
  • Emerging issues

Additional project-specific considerations, priorities, and requirements are provided in the Policies and How to Apply sections below. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact GLFT staff prior to submission of a grant proposal to discuss project eligibility, goals, and alignment with GLFT priorities. Staff are available to assist applicants with navigating the online grant proposal submission process.

Funding Priorities

The key intended outcomes for fisheries research investments are to:

  1. Enhance the ability of managers and their agencies to understand, anticipate, adapt, and respond to changes in the fishery and ecosystem
  2. Build research capacity and management expertise needed to understand and manage the Great Lakes ecosystem for sustainable production of valuable species

Grant Calendar

Aug 12, 2024
Full Proposal SAT Review

Aug 13, 2024
Full Proposal Board Review

Research History of Grantmaking

The trust has funded more than $28.7 million in Great Lakes fisheries research over the past 20 years, making the Research grant program the lead funding priority over the trust’s history. The trust periodically updates its research priorities to reflect current needs of the management community.

View Research Grant Awards


Please review the GLFT Policy on Funding Criteria for Grant Preproposal before submitting an application under the Research grant program. The GLFT Board of Trustees has also established a number of additional policies regarding grants that may be applicable to applications submitted under the Research grant opportunity:

To review all of the grant-related policies for our multiple grant programs, please visit our Resources page.

How to Apply

The Research grant program RFP is released annually. Please review our Active Grant Opportunities to see which of our grant programs are currently accepting applications. The forms and instructions necessary to guide you through the application process are provided in the 2024 Ecological and Biological Research to Inform Management Guidance Document. If the Research program is not currently accepting proposals, the guidance document provides information on general program requirements for the next grant cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can my proposal be?

The scope of work must not exceed ten single-spaced pages, and must use 12-point font, one-inch margins on all sides, and standard 8.5-by-11-inch paper. All attachments (including the cover sheet, budget worksheet and chart of work, curriculum vitae, literature cited, and peer review nominations) will be considered in addition to the ten-page limit. References are not included as part of the ten-page limit.

How will my proposal be evaluated?

The GLFT maintains a rigorous review process that includes the following steps:

  • Research preproposals are evaluated for relevancy by the GLFT Scientific Advisory Team (SAT) to determine which applicants to invite to submit full proposals.
  • Full proposals are first reviewed by external peer reviewers. These reviewers are aligned based on subject matter expertise and are nominated by applicants, staff, and SAT members. Typically, the trust seeks two to four external peer reviews.
  • The GLFT Peer Review Panel evaluates each proposal and feedback provided by external peer reviews to develop a funding recommendation to the GLFT SAT.
  • The SAT evaluates each proposal and the peer review panel recommendations to develop a funding recommendation to the GLFT Board of Trustees.
  • The GLFT Board of Trustees evaluates the SAT recommendation and each of the proposals to develop a funding recommendation.

Should I include administrative/overhead costs in my budget?

Yes; administrative/overhead costs are limited to 10 percent of the total salaries and wages, excluding fringe benefits. No payments for administrative/overhead costs will be made unless the grant recipient specifically requests reimbursement for such costs and the GLFT accepts those costs prior to signing a grant agreement. (See our policy on reimbursement of administrative/overhead costs on grant awards.)