UC Ship Funds Program

Students aboard the Robert Gordon Sproul
Students aboard research vessel Robert Gordon Sproul as part of Fiamma Straneo’s Observational Physical Oceanography 176 class. 

Research training is a fundamental element of the Scripps mission, and our commitment to practical research training is exemplified by the UC Ship Funds Program. Made possible by support from UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and forward-thinking philanthropists, this program provides significant support to enable graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and early career faculty to pursue independent research and instruction at sea aboard Scripps ships.

Awards are made through a competitive internal peer-reviewed proposal process, which itself exposes students to the important process of developing strong research proposals. Since 1995, UC Ship Funds have supported an average of 55 days at sea per year on cruises ranging from one-day trips off San Diego to month-long expeditions from foreign ports. Each of these cruises typically involves one or more experienced faculty mentors, as well as highly skilled and experienced marine technicians, who provide hands-on training and guidance to students.

Shipboard experience is also an important element in undergraduate and graduate classroom instruction at Scripps. Professors use field trips aboard Scripps research vessels to underscore the content of their curricula, to demonstrate field methods, and to introduce students to practical aspects of the science. During the five-year period between 2013-2017, 947 students obtained first-hand experience at sea aboard Scripps research vessels.

The intent of the UC Ship Funds Program is to pay for sea time aboard Scripps research vessels. Ancillary cruise-related expenses, such as salaries, travel, non-standard instrumentation, and freight should be paid by other funding sources, although some support for student travel and shipping is available through the program.