- Who is eligible to participate in this program?
- How do I apply?
- How do I find out if I can get school credit for my project?
- My school requires an adviser for independent study, but I don’t know any faculty members at my school. What should I do?
- My school won’t give me independent study credit. What other options do I have?
- Do projects have to be formatted as research papers?
- Is there a time/length requirement?
- I’m not familiar with any of the topics. Can I still get involved?
- How will my research help seasteading become a reality?
- Will my work be published?
- Which projects/topics might fall under my major?
- Can I get paid for my work?
- Can projects be done in groups?
Who is eligible to participate in this program?
Anyone capable of producing a quality end-product with practical applicability to early seasteading businesses is eligible to participate. Although we are primarily aiming our volunteer research projects at college students, we encourage non-students to apply as well.
Graduate students are also encouraged to participate, and small grants may be available for more intensive projects.
How do I apply?
All applications are process through our online form, which can be found here. If you are unsure about how to answer any questions, write your question in the space provided, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.
How do I find out if I can get school credit for my project?
Most university departments offer credit for independent study, allowing students to pursue a wide range of projects as long as a link can be drawn between the research topic and the academic discipline in question. Check your school’s course catalog (example), department’s website (example) or contact an adviser to find out your options.
There are several keys to getting a project approved, although the specifics vary by institution and department. Most schools have a form that must be signed and approved by a department head, and sometimes a faculty adviser as well. Often, students are required to submit a proposal detailing the nature of the project, the relevance to their major, etc. A good proposal typically contains:
1) A statement of purpose/goals of the project
2) A description of the subject matter
3) An explanation of its relevance to interests and major area of study
4) A description of the proposed research methodology
5) A preliminary working biography
Finally, students in their last year of college who are considering a more ambitious project may consider writing their thesis on a seasteading-related topic.
Note: Some schools list opportunities similar to independent study in their catalogs under alternative names, such as internships, field work or supervised independent study. The Seasteading Institute will work to comply with schools’ requirements for in-person or remote for-credit internships.
My school requires an adviser for independent study, but I don’t know any faculty members at my school. What should I do?
Getting to know at least one faculty member in your area of study is one of the most important things you can do as an undergraduate. Not only will faculty be able to guide your course work and offer career advice, but they will also be able to write recommendations if you ever apply for graduate school or any number of competitive positions in the private sector. We recommend that you politely email your past professors and ask if any of them are willing to meet to discuss a project relating to your major.
If no one responds or agrees to a meeting, you may be able to substitute a non-faculty adviser. The Seasteading Institute stands ready to tap into our network of academics and business professionals to oversee projects and serve as advisers.
My school won’t give me independent study credit. What other options do I have?
Some schools that won’t grant independent study credit will still approve a for-credit internship. If not, even an extracurricular internship still bolsters a resume. Similarly, taking on a research project outside of school is a great way to distinguish yourself when applying for jobs after graduation. Many school’s also have clubs and student associations that publish journals or reviews comprised solely of undergraduate submissions, and quality submissions will be published on our website.
Lastly, we believe there could be a vibrant for-profit seasteading sector within just a few years. If you are interested in making a career out of seasteading or related industries, these research projects will give you good background and experience, and help you make connections with important figures in the seasteading movement.
Do projects have to be formatted as research papers?
No. Certain projects may be more accessible in the form of a technology brief, a how-to guide, a business plan proposal or a 3D modeling project.
All organizational formats will be considered as long as the project addresses a relevant seasteading need.
Is there a time/length requirement?
We anticipate most projects taking between 25-150 hours to complete, roughly the equivalent of a 1-4 unit college course. There is no hard length requirement, and different subjects will require different treatment. Your school may impose additional requirements, including a length requirement, which may vary with the amount of credit given.
I’m not familiar with any of the topics. Can I still get involved?
We are seeking innovative solutions to brand new problems. Extensive familiarity and background knowledge is not required for many of our suggested research topics. Those best-suited to solve them may turn out to be non-experts, whose view of what is possible is not overly solidified or narrow. Indeed, many of the challenges are so unique that they have very little existing background literature. Because of the unprecedented nature of many these problems, you may need to begin your research outside of the library, in the real world of business and technology.
We do not expect a comprehensive treatment of any of the subjects, if such a thing is possible. A paper that clarifies one of the problems at hand and refines the direction of future research will get us closer to our vision, and is a sufficient end product.
Additionally, you can still help the movement by serving as a liaison, or campus representative. In this role, you would be responsible for distributing information to relevant on-campus groups, or organizing an event to recruit students to do volunteer research.
How will my research help seasteading become a reality?
The Blueseed project is proving that the time for seasteading businesses is now. The venture has already received solid seed round funding, and we expect more businesses to arise in the next few years. The remaining hurdles for seasteading businesses continue to be uncertainty regarding various business, engineering and legal questions. In order to make convincing pitches to investors, seasteading entrepreneurs must be able to draw on a large body of knowledge of the practical problems which are preventing them from moving offshore immediately.
Once a profit opportunity is established aboard stationary ships or small platforms, people will flock to them in increasing numbers, eventually culminating in city-sized seasteading communities.
Will my work be published?
We can’t guarantee that your final product will be published, but we will publish and promote any quality research that helps advance seasteading businesses. To ensure the highest possibility of publication, carefully read the guidelines page and clarify any uncertainty with staff of the Institute before starting.
Which projects/topics might fall under my major?
If you are unsure whether a topic could be connected with your major subject, read the more detailed description of each topic. If you are still unsure, send an email to email@example.com detailing the topic or topics you are interested in, as well as your major. Presenting your department head a sufficiently well-thought-out proposal is usually all it takes to receive credit, even if there is only a weak link between the topic and the major.
Can I get paid for my work?
Small grants may be available for certain projects, particularly if you are pursuing an advanced degree in a relevant field. Most undergraduate projects will not be considered for grants, although we may be able to reimburse certain research costs such as travel.
Can projects be done in groups?
Yes, the seasteading movement depends critically on collaboration and teamwork to make our vision a reality, and we encourage group projects. In cases where multiple students are working independently on similar projects, we will coordinate the efforts to achieve more integrated results, with less overlap.
Photo: Top – Blueseed concept vessel, the “Googleplex of the Sea.” Bottom – Google’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA.