Partnership for Research Excellence in Sustainable Seafood (PRESS)

Seafood consumption in the Unites States is increasing, with demand expected to grow 60% by 2050. Yet seafood production is threatened by challenges imposed by disease, climate change, environmental pollution, and gaps in processing and distribution chains. Unexpected or unexplained events such as harmful algal blooms, disease, or area closures cause further complications. The Partnership for Research Excellence in Sustainable Seafood (PRESS) at the University of Rhode Island is a $1 million, 4-year funding program designed to address challenges and support science-informed economic development for sustainable seafood enterprise in Rhode Island.


PRESS, launched in 2023, is led by Marta Gomez-Chiarri, professor of Aquaculture/Fisheries in the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences. It provides funding to projects proposed by teams of industry members and researchers that seek to solve challenges facing sustainable seafood production in Rhode Island. Each proposal is reviewed by an interdisciplinary advisory board and funding is distributed rapidly to respond to urgent issues.



PRESS aim to:

  1. Identify emerging issues affecting seafood production.
  2. Complement existing sources of federal, state, or private funding for sustainable seafood efforts.
  3. Develop a research innovation and idea incubator driven by stakeholder input.
  4. Develop and/or enhance workforce training and educational portals.
  5. Transfer technology to improve or innovate the seafood industry.
  6. Serve as a model for addressing regional and national challenges to seafood security.

This project will provide a model for addressing future challenges to seafood security in the U.S.

How to Apply for PRESS Funding

Please review the request for proposals link below. Proposals must include representation from industry and research to be considered. Prior to applying for funding, applicants are encouraged to contact Azure Cygler for an initial consult on potential submissions; viable concepts will then be recommended for full proposals. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Contact: Azure Cygler at or 401.874.6197.

PRESS is made possible by a grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association thanks to the efforts of U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

RFP Schedule 2023-2026

Proposals will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through March 2026. The Coordinating Committee convenes approx. every 3 months to consider those pre- and full proposals in that are currently submitted. The PRESS initiative will consider proposals with the potential to positively impact the Rhode Island seafood system by identifying and addressing emerging and pressing issues affecting that system. The goal of the funding is to complement, build upon, or enhance (not duplicate) other sources of federal, state, or private funding.

Decision making is led by a Coordinating Committee, composed by experts across the state.  The PRESS team can assist potential applicants in developing a research idea and matchmaking between potential partners.  Various information sessions will be open to the public to identify critical issues.


Coordinating Committee

  • Marta Gomez-Chiarri (PRESS Initiative Coordinator)
  • Bob Rheault, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association
  • Dan Torre, Aquidneck Island Oysters
  • Zach Gordon, Regional Sea Grant extension
  • Matt Griffin, Salt Box Farms
  • Ben Goetsch, RI Coastal Resources Management Council
  • Juli Stelmaszyk, Commerce RI
  • Nessa Richman, RI Food Policy Council
  • Anna Mercer, NOAA Fisheries
  • Fred Mattera, Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode island
  • Adam Silkes and Greg Silkes, American Mussel Harvesters
  • Eric Schneider, RI Department of Environmental Management
  • Chris Schillaci, NOAA Aquaculture
  • Princess Metuge, Assistant Dean of JEDI Initiatives, GSO/URI
  • David Monti, recreational fisherman
  • Mike McGiveney, RI Shellfisherman’s Assciaiton
  • Jim Boyd, wild harvest shellfisherman
  • Tracey Dalton, Rhode Island Sea Grant (non-decision making)
  • Alan Desbonnet, Rhode Island Sea Grant (non-decision making)
  • Azure Cygler, Rhode Island Sea Grant (non-decision-making)

Message from Senator Jack Reed

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) briefly discusses the importance of the University of Rhode Island’s Partnership for Research Excellence in Sustainable Seafood.