Student Funding Opportunities

Get outside the classroom

CMBC-affiliated students are eligible to apply for funding to advance their research and professional development goals.

The Ferguson Family Prize

The Ferguson Family Prize is funding awarded to one or two PhD candidates in order to add a new dimension or approach to the student’s dissertation research. The award can be used for lab or field studies. Depending on the applications received and the proposed budgets, we will offer either one or two awards, for a total of $10,000 awarded per year.

How to apply

Any PhD student who is already affiliated with CMBC and who has advanced to candidacy can apply. Your proposed research plan must be approved by your faculty advisor.

Applications are accepted annually in late Summer/early Fall and should include:

  1. A 1-page statement describing: (a) the research you propose to do and its significance to marine biodiversity and/or conservation; and, (b) how the award will enable this and will add impact or expand your research.
  2. A 1-page brief budget and budget justification. You may request up to $10,000. Allowable expenses include research  instrumentation and supplies, dive fees and collecting permits, travel, workshops, and external courses. For other items please check with us. 

Applications are evaluated based on: description of a new dimension or approach to the dissertation research; scientific/academic rigor; budget explanation and feasibility; and research innovation. 

The 2023 application deadline has not yet been announced. Please send applications or questions to Allison Kellum ( For applications, make sure you get an email confirming receipt.

Past Ferguson Prize Recipients

2022 | Orion McCarthy; Revisiting resilience: An evaluation of resilience based management in Maui Nui using long-term Structure from Motion monitoring data

2021 | Natalia Erazo; Local ecological knowledge of Afro-Ecuadorian communities and mangrove forest sensitivity to anthropogenic stress.

2021 | Olívia Pereira; Economic valuation of ecosystem services associated with methane seeps to inform conservation and management plans in Costa Rica.

2020 | Erica Ferrer; How does “ocean weather” affect recruitment among commercially-important bivalves in the Gulf of California?