Virginia Voluntary Submission Date

November 30, 2018, 5:00 p.m. EST

Final Application Deadline

February 22, 2019, 5:00 p.m.m EST

 Related Documents

Contact Person

Sam Lake
Fellowship & Research Program Coordinator

Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Fellowship Description

Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) is now accepting applications for the 2020 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, sponsored by NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP). The Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational experience in the policies and processes of the federal government to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting these resources. Fellows are matched with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government located in the Washington, D.C. area. The fellowship period is one year and anticipated to begin on February 1, 2020.

Applicants are required to apply through the Sea Grant program in their state, or the state closest to them. All eligible applicants, enrolled at a Virginia institution, who are planning to apply, are strongly encouraged to contact Sam Lake to indicate their interest in the fellowship, discuss the application process and VASG’s Tips for Knauss Applications, and to schedule an interview. VASG requests that all interested students submit draft applications by Virginia’s Voluntary Submission Date. This allows our staff time to assist applicants and schedule interviews before the NSGCP deadline. All applications received by the state deadline in the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) will be fully considered.

To submit competitive applications, it is critical that candidates and VASG get the application process underway immediately. The following information is based upon 40 years of Knauss announcements.


An eligible applicant is any student, regardless of citizenship, who, on February 21, 2019, is enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program, that has an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The graduate degree needs to be awarded through an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories.

This is a one-time fellowship opportunity. Applicants that have been selected and notified as a finalist in past years are not eligible to submit an application. The fellowship will take place in the National Capital region, so applicants must be able to reside in the Washington, D.C. area. Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa to allow them to work in the United States during the fellowship period.

VASG is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with diverse backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives, and ways of thinking. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and/or health status, religion, veteran status, geographic origin and socio-economic status.

Funding Availability

Depending on Fiscal Year 2020 Congressional appropriations, the quality of applications, and potential host office participation, Sea Grant anticipates funding not less than 35 selected applicants, of which those assigned to the Legislative branch will be approximately 12. Each award will be funded at a total of $61,500 in federal funding, with the option to add additional funds without further competition for fellowship-related travel. Awards are for thirteen months (2/1/2020-2/28/2021) and cannot be renewed.

Tentative Timeline for Fellowship Competition

  • VASG announcement released: September 2018
  • Virginia Voluntary Submission Date, 5:00 p.m. EST: November 30, 2018
  • Applicants interview with VASG: December 2018
  • VASG assembles and submits applications to the NSGCP: February/March 2019
  • National competition: May/June 2019
  • Anticipated notification of finalists: June 2019
  • Placement Week: Fall 2019
  • Fellowship begins: February 1, 2020
Knauss Fellowships are contingent upon the availability and timeliness of federal appropriations.

How to Apply

For full details on the application requirements, evaluation criteria, and review and selection process, download the VASG fellowship announcement and the 2020 Knauss Fellowship FFO. For additional information on the how to submit your application to VASG, refer to the eSeaGrant Instructions. All of the above can be found in the sidebar of this page under Related Documents.

Intent to Apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact VASG’s Fellowship and Research Program Coordinator, Sam Lake to indicate their interest in the fellowship, discuss the application process, and to schedule an interview. Applicants can express their interest by sending a short, simple email - please include "Knauss Fellowship" in the subject line.

Application Submission & eSeaGrant

Applications must be submitted online via eSeaGrant. If you plan to apply, we recommend notifying VASG and registering for eSeaGrant at least two weeks in advance of the deadline. VASG cannot accept late applications as outlined in the FFO, please allow ample time to submit your application

Recommendation Letters

To maintain confidentiality, VASG requires that letters NOT be submitted with the student’s application; instead, letters should be requested and uploaded through eSeaGrant. Letters must be submitted by the deadline and should be addressed to Dr. Troy Hartley, Director, Virginia Sea Grant.

Select Knauss Fellow Stories

Click the links below to read about the experiences Knauss fellows have enjoyed: