Applications must be submitted 5:00 p.m. EST on January 26, 2021.

Related Documents

Contact Person

Samuel J. Lake, Ph.D.
Fellowship & Research Program Coordinator

NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics

Fellowship at a glance:

  • Eligibility: Students working towards a Ph.D. in a relevant academic discipline (see below).
  • Funding: The fellowship provides up to $63,600 per year (total of federal plus matching funds) for up to three years.
  • Important Dates: Applications are due January 26, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EST and the fellowship begins August 2021.
  • An informational webinar recording can be found here.

Fellowship Description

The National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) support a Ph.D. graduate fellowship in two specific areas (1) population and ecosystem dynamics (PED) and (2) marine resource economics (MRE). The intent of this opportunity is to award a limited number of fellowships each year to students who are interested in careers related to population and ecosystem dynamics and marine resource economics with applications to living marine resources.

Candidate projects will focus on at least one of the following: 1) the population dynamics of living marine resources; 2) stock assessment methodologies and management applications; 3) marine ecosystem modeling; 4) integrated ecosystem assessments; 5) ecosystem-based management of marine ecosystems; 6) quantitative survey methodologies, and 7) economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources. Each fellow will be required to work closely with an expert (mentor) from NMFS who may provide data for the fellow's thesis, serve on the fellow's committee, and/or host an annual summer internship at the participating NMFS facility. Mentors will be from participating NMFS Science Centers or offices.

The goals of the program are to 1) encourage qualified applicants to pursue careers in population and ecosystem dynamics related to living marine resources; 2) encourage qualified applicants to pursue careers in marine resource economics; 3) increase available expertise related to quantitative ecology for systems of living marine resources; 4) increase available expertise related to the economic analysis of living marine resource conservation and management decisions; 5) foster closer relationships between academic scientists and NMFS; and 6) provide real-world experience to graduate students and accelerate their career development.

Eligibility and Fellowship Information


Prospective Fellows must be United States citizens. At the time of application, prospective fellows must be admitted to a Ph.D. degree program at a U.S. accredited university in the U.S. in population dynamics, ecosystem dynamics, resource or environmental economics, or a related field such as wildlife biology, fishery biology, natural resource management, marine biology, quantitative ecology, applied mathematics, applied statistics, or simulation modeling at an institution of higher education in the United States or its territories, or submit a signed letter from the institution indicating provisional acceptance to a Ph.D. degree program conditional on obtaining financial support such as this fellowship. Applicants enrolled towards a degree in graduate program in Virginia must submit their fellowship proposal through VASG.

Sea Grant champions diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), working to create a marine science workforce that reflects the communities we serve. We are recruiting, retaining and preparing a diverse workforce, and proactively engaging and serving the diverse populations of coastal communities. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking. We encourage applicants of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, marital statuses, education levels, job classifications, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types to apply for this opportunity.

Funding Availability

Subject to the availability of funding, the fellowship program expects to award at least four new Ph.D. fellowships to students who are interested in careers related to population and ecosystem dynamics of living marine resources and/or marine ecosystem dynamics, and at least one new Ph.D. fellowship to students who are interested in careers related to marine resource economics.

The award for each fellowship will be a multi-year cooperative agreement in an amount not to exceed $53,000 in federal funds per year. Matching funds of at least 20% of the total federal request are required, as described in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Continued support after the first year will be contingent upon the availability of Federal funds and satisfactory performance by the grantee.

Timeline for Fellowship Competition

  • Federal Funding Opportunity released - November 2020
  • Application Deadline due to VASG - January 26, 2021
  • VASG assembles and submits applications - February 2021
  • Announcement of finalists - Summer 2021
  • Fellowship begins - August 2021

How to Apply

For full details on the application requirements, evaluation criteria, and review and selection process, please download the 2021 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics NOFO. For additional information on how to submit your application to VASG, please 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

Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Sea Grant program in their state/territory at least one month prior to the state application deadline to receive application support and provide notification of intent to apply.

All eligible applicants, enrolled at a Virginia institution, who are planning to apply, are strongly encouraged to contact VASG’s Fellowship and Research Program Coordinator, Sam Lake, to indicate their interest in the fellowship, and 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. As outlined in the NOFO, VASG cannot accept late applications. Please allow ample time to submit your application.

Recommendation Letters

To maintain confidentiality, letters should be requested and uploaded through eSeaGrant. Letters must be submitted by the deadline.