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Contact Person

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

NMFS-Sea Grant Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Ph.D. Fellowship

Fellowship Description

The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-Sea Grant Fellowship Program in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics supports Ph.D. students who are interested in careers related to population and ecosystem dynamics with applications to living marine resources. Candidate projects will focus on at least one of the following: the population dynamics of living marine resources, stock assessment methodologies, marine ecosystem modeling, integrated ecosystem assessments, and ecosystem-based management of marine ecosystems.

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

The fellowship can provide support for up to three years for highly qualified graduate students working towards a Ph.D. in quantitative ecology, ecosystem ecology, population dynamics or related fields of study such as wildlife biology, fishery biology, natural resource management, marine biology, quantitative ecology applied mathematics, applied statistics, or simulation modeling, or study. 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 host an annual summer internship at the participating NMFS facility. Mentors will be from participating NMFS Science Centers or Offices.

    Eligibility and Fellowship Information


    Prospective fellows must be United States citizens. At the time of application, prospective Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellows must be admitted to a Ph.D. degree program in population dynamics, ecosystem dynamics, 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.

    Sea Grant champions diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by 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, citizenship types, 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 three new Ph.D. Fellowships each year to students who are interested in careers related to population and ecosystem dynamics of living marine resources and/or marine ecosystem dynamics.

    The award for each fellowship will be a multi-year cooperative agreement in an amount not to exceed $40,000 in Federal funds per year. Matching funds of at least 20% of the total Federal request are required, as described in the FFO. 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 2019
  • Application Deadline due to VASG - January 30, 2020
  • VASG assembles and submits applications - February 2020
  • Announcement of finalists - Anticipated late summer 2020
  • Fellowship begins - August 2020

  • How to Apply

    For full details on the application requirements, evaluation criteria, and review and selection process, please download the 2020 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowships in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellowship FFO. For additional information on the 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 to two months 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, 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. VASG cannot accept late applications as outlined in the FFO, 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.