“I wanted to get my Ph.D. because I wanted to teach—and I wanted my research to have a practical application. Finding out what blue crabs would do in future ocean acidification scenarios could help a lot of watermen. They have a lot of cultural value, they have a lot of commercial value, and they’re important in an ecological sense as well.”

University of Virginia

The Recommendation Process

Recommendation Forms

Two recommendations (one academic and one professional) must be submitted in support of the applicant. To maintain confidentiality, recommendations should be requested by the applicant and input independently by the recommender through eSeaGrant. The forms must be submitted before the deadline.

Academic recommendation

The applicant’s primary faculty advisor or appropriate faculty member (PI on the research award the applicant will be working on during the fellowship) must provide one recommendation. Co-advisors are required to complete the form jointly.

Professional recommendation

VASG encourages applicants to consider someone that knows them from a different perspective than their academic advisor (e.g., former employer, mentor from a previous position, colleague they worked with in the past). Selected recommenders should provide a professional perspective to demonstrate the applicant’s breadth and may highlight different strengths and experiences than an academic advisor.

About the Recommendation Form

Referees will be asked to rate and describe the applicant on the following:

  • Self-motivation
  • Response to set-backs
  • Skills and interest in teamwork
  • Leadership skills or interest, particularly collaborative leadership
  • How the applicant would most benefit from VASG support
  • Academic/Professional performance
  • Academic/Professional potential
  • Anything else that VASG should know about the applicant in order to fully consider their candidacy

“The goal of my research is to enhance the sustainability of the American eel fishery and aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay. We are working towards recommending appropriate cost-effective and efficient methods for improving water quality and mitigating disease.”

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Tentative Fellowship Completion Timeline

  • Fellowship announcement released: September 1, 2023
  • Registrations are due in eSeaGrant: 11:59 p.m. EST on December 1, 2023
  • Applications are due to VASG: 11:59 p.m. EST on December 8, 2023
  • Stage 1 – Relevancy review: January 2024
  • Stage 2 – Review panel: February 2024
  • Stage 3 – Candidate interviews: March/April 2024
  • Notification of results: Summer 2023
  • Awards begin: September 1, 2024

Award Information

Contingent upon available federal funding, fellowships are available for up to two years, and provide an award of up to $40,000 per year to support the student’s academic expenses. The start date for the fellowship is September 1, 2024. VASG expects to fund up to eight fellowships for the 2024–2026 academic years.

VASG-funded projects require a 50 percent 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 applicant’s primary faculty advisor, who must be listed as the principal investigator (PI) on the fellowship application. 

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