Posted: 4/18/2022

Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program

The Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program is a project of the Waitt Foundation. ROC Grants provide small grants with a quick turnaround time for solutions to emerging conservation issues. This complements the Waitt Foundation’s existing major grants program and is responsive to conservation opportunities, supports higher-risk ideas at a low financial cost, and engages with small, local NGOs on a global scale.

Proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Before approaching the funder or submitting an application:

  • Prospective applicants from Duke University – contact Angela Crews in the Office of Foundation Relations, University Development at 919-681-0468 or
  • Prospective applicants from Duke Medicine – contact Anita Shirley in Foundation Relations and Corporate Giving, Duke Medicine Development and Alumni Affairs at 919-385-3117 or
Areas of Interest

Grants will fund projects related to the WF mission of supporting sustainable fishing and marine protected areas (MPAs). This includes sub-themes of:

Scientific Research. Includes natural science or social science projects. For example, collecting baseline data before coastal development or MPA establishment, or studying fishery effects of a natural (e.g. tsunami) or man-made (e.g. oil spill) disaster. As appropriate (e.g., if AUVs/ROVs are involved), project execution could be organized in collaboration with WI.

Policy. Includes opportunistic projects around unique public policy windows, such as preparation of policy analysis and support of experts’ efforts to inform decision makers on upcoming government actions. For example, a cost-benefit analysis of proposed fishing regulations, or travel expenses for a delegation of scientists to educate elected officials.

Management. Includes enforcement and infrastructure support. For example, stop-gap funding to increase enforcement capacity in light of a sudden uptick in illegal dynamite fishing, or training personnel to enforce new regulations about to go into effect.

Communications. Includes raising public awareness and engaging stakeholders, including advertizing by a 501(c)3 group around a public policy moment. For example, a PR blitz (e.g. billboards or radio adds) to educate the public in advance of a vote on an ocean conservation measure, or training local people to become citizen scientists or enforcement tipsters.

Eligibility Requirements

Project must support sustainable fishing and/or MPAs as elaborated in the program focus section.

Applicants need not hold advanced degrees, but must demonstrate a commensurate level of experience and expertise with respect to the proposed project.

Applicants must have and maintain legitimate affiliation with an academic institution or NGO for the duration of the grant project.

Amount Description

Proposals for grants up to $10,000 will be reviewed on a monthly rolling basis. Proposals up to $15,000 will be considered, but granted highly infrequently. Project funds will be distributed with in 2 weeks of funding decisions, which are made on a monthly rolling basis throughout the year.

Funding Type
Sponsor: Rolling