Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships

Guidelines for Application

The deadline for the 2016 fellowship is February 13, 2015.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Alaska Sea Grant for up-to-date information and advice as early as possible.

Please see the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) [PDF; 119 KB] announcement for complete details.

Eligibility: This fellowship is available to any student, regardless of citizenship, who, on February 13, 2015, is enrolled toward a degree in a graduate or professional program and who has an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The graduate degree needs to be awarded through a US-accredited institution of higher education in the United States or US Territories.

Deadline: The deadline for the 2016 fellowship is 5:00 p.m. local time on February 13, 2015, at Alaska Sea Grant. Applicant must seek an appointment with Alaska Sea Grant Associate Director Ginny Eckert before submitting the application materials, and preferably 2–4 weeks before the deadline. All application materials can be sent electronically to michele.frandsen@alaska.edu

Terms of appointment: The fellowship will be for a period of one year starting in February 2016. Compensation is in the form of a stipend, per diem, health insurance, and moving expenses. The overall award will be $56,500. Of this amount, $45,000 is provided to each Fellow for stipend and living expenses (per diem); an additional $9,000 is provided to cover mandatory health insurance for the Fellow and moving expenses. Any remaining funds of the $9,000 will be used for the Fellow during the fellowship year, first to satisfy academic degree-related activities, and second for fellowship-related activities. Finally, up to $2,500 from the total $56,500 can be used to cover placement week costs. During the fellowship, the host may provide supplemental funds for work-related travel by the Fellow. Indirect costs are not allowable from any of the federal funds.

Applicants should seek competent advice on income tax status of the stipend for their situation. The Prospective Fellows page at National Sea Grant has details on stipend and expenses.

Qualifications and application: For 2016 fellowships, students are to be enrolled in a graduate or professional program in February 2015. The graduate degree needs to be awarded through a US-accredited institution of higher education in the United States or US Territories. Applicants are judged on academic record, communication skills (written and verbal), ability to work with people, recommendations, prior studies and work experience, and diversity of academic background.

For additional information: Contact Ginny Eckert by email or at (907) 796-5450 or Michele Frandsen by email or at (907) 474-7088. Also see the National Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship website.

Required Elements for Applications

Applications must adhere to the following provisions. Failure to follow these requirements will result in applications being rejected without review.

  1. Two signed letters of recommendation, including one from the student's major professor; if no major professor exists, a faculty person academically knowing the applicant best may be substituted.
  2. A personal education and career goal statement emphasizing the applicant's abilities and the applicant's expectations from the fellowship experience in the way of career development (1000 words or less). Placement preference in the legislative or executive branches of the government may be stated; this preference will be honored to the extent possible.
  3. Personal and academic curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages).
  4. A clear, scanned copy of all official undergraduate and graduate student transcripts.
  5. Listing of classes and/or plans for spring, summer and fall 2015 (not to exceed one page).
  6. For applicants in a state or territory not served by an eligible Sea Grant program, but applying through an eligible Sea Grant program, a written statement from the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program Manager referring the applicant to the most appropriate eligible Sea Grant program must be included as part of that applicant's application package to the Sea Grant program.
  7. Applicants for the 2016 Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship must fulfill the data sharing information plan requirement of section VIII by including the following statement in their application: "Data Sharing Plan: This project will not generate any environmental data." Applicants are not required to provide a NOAA NEPA Questionnaire with their applications.

Knauss Fellowships: Creating an Application has excellent tips for putting together an application, including a listing of some of the key issues the selection panel will focus on.

Applications should be professional in appearance and must be carefully checked for typographic errors, spelling, and grammar.

All applicants will be evaluated only on their application package according to the selection criteria listed in the Full Funding Opportunity announcement. Letters of endorsements from members of Congress, friends, relatives and others will not be accepted.

Prior contacts or arrangements made with possible host offices before placement week will be cause for immediate disqualification from the process.

Evaluation Criteria

A panel composed of three members, all from the eligible Sea Grant program, will individually discuss each application based on the evaluation criteria listed below and in Section V, subsection A of the FFO.

  1. Recommendations and/or endorsements of student (15 percent total): Endorsement/content of the letter from the applicant's major professor, and the second letter of recommendation.
  2. Academic record and statement of career goals and objectives of student (45 percent total): Quality of the applicant's personal education and career goal statement (30 percent); strength of academic performance (15 percent).
  3. Additional relevant experience (40 percent total) related to diversity of education, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, and interpersonal, written, and oral communications skills. For the Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship Program, relevant experience would be in marine or aquatic-related fields.

At the national review, evaluation criteria are identical to those at the state level, except that in criteria (1), the letter of endorsement from the sponsoring Sea Grant program director will also be considered.

What's Next

Following review by the Alaska Sea Grant panel, an individual score will be provided by each panel member. Once all applications have been discussed and scored, an average score will be computed for each application. The top scoring applicants will then be submitted by the eligible Sea Grant program to National Sea Grant for the national review along with a signed letter of endorsement from the Sea Grant program director.

Alaska Sea Grant must submit applications for the 2016 fellowship no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on March 31, 2015. The competitive selection process and subsequent notification to the Sea Grant programs will be completed by June 5, 2015. Interviews with potential hosts and placement are in fall 2015, during a visit to Washington, D.C. Fellowships are expected to begin February 1, 2016.

Timetable for Knauss fellowship applications
February 13, 2015, 5:00 p.m. Application materials for each applicant are due in the Alaska Sea Grant office.
March 2015 Alaska Sea Grant panel reviews and selects applicants for national pool of applicants.
March 31, 2015, 5:00 p.m. EDT Alaska applications due to National Sea Grant Office.
June 5, 2015 Knauss Fellows selected for upcoming year.
Fall 2015 Fellows interview hosts in D.C.
February 1, 2016 Fellowships begin.

The National Sea Grant website has additional information on the Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.