January 26, 2018, 5:00 p.m. EST

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Contact Person

Sam Lake Fellowship & Research Program Coordinator

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

Fellowship Description

The NOAA Fisheries (NMFS)-Sea Grant Fellowship Program in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics supports Ph.D. students who are interested in careers related to marine ecosystem and population dynamics, with a focus on modeling and managing systems of living marine resources. The emphasis will be on the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing marine ecosystems, for assessing the status of fish, invertebrate, and other targeted species stocks and for assessing the status of marine mammals, seabirds, and other protected species.

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 Fellowships 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 PhD 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 PhD degree program conditional on obtaining financial support such as this Fellowship.

Funding Availability

The Graduate Fellowship Program expects to award at least three new PhD 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, contingent upon the availability of Federal funds, will be a multi-year cooperative agreement in an amount not to exceed $38,333 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 Fellow.

Timeline for Fellowship Competition

  • VASG announcement released - November 2017
  • Application Deadline due to VASG - By 5:00 p.m. EST January 26, 2018
  • VASG assembles and submits applications - February 23, 2018
  • Anticipated announcement of finalists - Late summer 2018
  • Fellowship begins - August 1, 2018

How to Apply

For full details on the application requirements, evaluation criteria, and review and selection process, please download the 2018 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, available on this page.

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. 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.


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