March 13, 2020, 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Related Documents

Contact Person

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

Aquaculture Graduate Research Fellowship

Fellowship Description

The purpose of the joint VASG-NEFSC Aquaculture Graduate Research Fellowship is to support exceptional graduate students and help them become tomorrow's leaders in aquaculture science and management. The selected fellow will have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive set of professional development trainings offered by VASG to enhance their career readiness.

Dr. Lisa Milke, Chief of the Aquaculture Systems and Ecology Branch at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, will serve as the professional mentor and guide the fellow through a structured professional growth program, in collaboration with VASG's Professional Development Coordinator, Michelle Rodriguez. Dr. Milke will provide guidance on the fellow's research and oversight when the fellow is at the NEFSC’s Milford Laboratory. Through these interactions and in collaboration with the student’s primary faculty advisor(s), the fellow will ensure their results are useful to and used by stakeholders, and gain access to experienced professionals who can provide career advice.


Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time graduate, professional degree or Ph.D. program at an accredited academic institution in Virginia prior to the award of the fellowship, no later than Fall 2020. Students may be working towards a degree in any discipline as long as they are engaged in research or rigorous inquiry and evidence-based knowledge generation that is aquaculture-related, consistent with the NEFSC and Sea Grant aquaculture strategic plans. Previous recipients of a VASG Graduate Research Fellowship are not eligible to apply.

NOAA and VASG are 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.

Award Information

Contingent upon available federal funding, one fellowship is available for up to two years. The fellowship provides an award of up to $40,000 per year to fully support the student's academic expenses. The start date for the fellowship is September 1, 2020. The NEFSC and VASG expect to fund one Aquaculture Graduate Research Fellowship for the 2020–2022 academic years.

VASG-funded projects require a 50% funding match (i.e., budgets must show $1 of match for every $2 of Sea Grant funding requested). Only non-Federal funds may be committed as matching contribution. VASG will make all awards to the student’s primary faculty advisor, who must be listed as the principle investigator (PI) on the fellowship application, as required by most university-sponsored programs. Refer to the Budget and Budget Justification section of the fellowship announcement for additional information.

Tentative Timeline for Fellowship Competition

  • Fellowship announcement released: October 2019
  • Applications due to VASG by 5:00 pm Eastern: March 13, 2020
  • Stage 1 – Relevancy review: February 2020
  • Stage 2 – Review panel: March 2020
  • Stage 3 – Candidate interviews: April 2020
  • Notification of results: Summer 2020
  • Awards begin: September 1, 2020

How to Apply

For full details, including fellowship requirements, application guidelines, evaluation criteria, and the review and selection process, download the funding announcement. For information on VASG’s goals for fellow-mentor partnerships, as well as important considerations based on past fellow and mentor experiences, refer to VASG’s Guidance on Fellow-Mentor Relationship. For additional information on how to submit your application to VASG, refer to the eSeaGrant Instructions. All of the above documents can be found in the sidebar of this page under Related Documents.

Intent to Apply

All applicants are encouraged to contact VASG’s Fellowship and Research Program Coordinator, Sam Lake, to indicate their interest in the fellowship, and to discuss the application process.

Application Submission & eSeaGrant

Applications must be submitted online via eSeaGrant. If you plan to apply, we recommend registering for eSeaGrant at least two weeks in advance of the deadline. All elements, including recommendation letters, must be submitted by the deadline. VASG will not accept late applications under any circumstances (e.g., internet delays), so please allow ample time to submit your applications in advance of the deadline. Confirmation of the application and recommendation letters will be automatically generated and sent by eSeaGrant. If you do not receive confirmation shortly after submitting your application, please contact Sam Lake.

Recommendation Letters

To maintain confidentiality, VASG requires that letters are NOT submitted with the student’s application. Recommendation letters must be requested and uploaded through eSeaGrant. There is no page limit for letters, but VASG recommends that letters not exceed two pages and not include attachments. Please address letters to Dr. Troy Hartley, Director, Virginia Sea Grant.