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

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Contact Person

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

Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowships

Fellowship at a glance:

  • Eligibility: The fellowship is open to full-time graduate students in any discipline addressing issues relevant to Virginia communities, related to coastal and marine resources.
  • Funding: The fellowship provides up to $40,000 per year for two years and professional development opportunities.
  • Important Dates: Applications are due December 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST and the fellowship begins September 1, 2021.

Fellowship Description

The purpose of the VASG Graduate Research Fellowship is to support exceptional graduate students who are engaged in education and research that furthers the goals of VASG. The fellowship provides hands-on experience in translating research results to coastal and marine stakeholders through a professional mentor. Selected fellows also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive set of professional development training opportunities offered by VASG.

Graduate Research Fellows address issues relevant to Virginia communities, and of importance to coastal and marine resources – broadly defined (e.g., natural or social sciences, engineering and design, policy and legal analysis, architecture, business, education, arts and humanities, etc.). In addition to their primary faculty advisor, fellows will be expected to work with a professional end-user mentor. Through these interactions, fellows will ensure their research 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 a Virginia academic institution prior to the award of the fellowship, no later than Fall 2021. 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 coastal- or marine-related (broadly defined, e.g., natural or social sciences, engineering and design, policy and legal analysis, planning, architecture, business, education, arts and the humanities, etc.) and relevant to VASG’s mission and strategic plan. Previous recipients of a VASG Graduate Research Fellowship are not eligible to apply.

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.

Award Information

Contingent upon available federal funding, fellowships are available for up to two years for masters, J.D., and Ph.D. students. 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, 2021. VASG expects to fund up to eight fellowships for the 2021–2023 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 below for additional information.

Tentative Fellowship Completion Timeline

  • Fellowship announcement released: October 2020
  • Applications due to VASG by 5:00 p.m. Eastern: December 16, 2020
  • Stage 1 – Relevancy review: January 2021
  • Stage 2 – Review panel: February 2021
  • Stage 3 – Candidate interviews: April 2021
  • Notification of results: Spring 2021
  • Awards begin: September 1, 2021

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 strongly encouraged to contact VASG’s Fellowship and Research Program Coordinator, Sam Lake (contact information in sidebar), to indicate their interest in the fellowship, and to discuss the application process. Notifications can be sent as a short email expressing your interest in the fellowship. Please reference “VASG Graduate Research Fellowship” in the subject line.

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.

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.