Final Application Deadline

The deadline for this fellowship has passed.
Please check back in the future for additional opportunities.

 Related Documents

Contact Person

Samuel J. Lake, Ph.D.
Fellowship & Research Program Coordinator
Ph. 804-684-7436

Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Fellowship Description

Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) is now accepting applications for the 2021 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, sponsored by NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP). The Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those 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, 2021.

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 share draft application materials 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.


An eligible applicant is any student, regardless of citizenship, who, on February 21, 2020, 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 must 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 participated in the fellowship in past years will not be eligible to submit an application. The one year 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 Washington, D.C. area during the fellowship period. Applicants must be able to pass a federal background security check.

Foreign nationals please note: while this fellowship is open to all eligible students regardless of nationality, a significant number of participating Federal host offices are unable to accept foreign nationals as Fellows. This may reduce the number of placement opportunities available to foreign nationals. Prior contact/arrangements made with possible host offices before the start of the placement week will be cause for immediate disqualification from the process.

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

Subject to the availability of funding, Sea Grant anticipates funding not less than 35 selected applicants, of which those assigned to the Legislative branch will be approximately 14. Each award is anticipated to be funded at a total of $74,000 in federal funding, which includes up to $15,000 for host office related travel. In certain circumstances additional office-related travel funding may take the award above $74,000. The anticipated start date is February 1, 2020 for the 12-month fellowship. These awards cannot be renewed or deferred.

Tentative Timeline for Fellowship Competition

  • VASG announcement released: September 2019
  • Virginia Voluntary Submission Date, 5:00 p.m. Eastern: December 4, 2019
  • Applicants interview with VASG: December 2019
  • VASG assembles and submits applications to the NSGCP: February/March 2020
  • National competition: May/June 2020
  • Anticipated notification of finalists: June 2020
  • Placement Week: October/November 2020
  • Fellowship begins: February 1, 2021
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 2021 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 must 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: