Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships

Guidelines for Application

Applications to Alaska Sea Grant for the 2019 fellowship are due February 23, 2018.

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

Please see the 2019 Knauss Federal Funding Opportunity announcement [28 KB PDF] for complete details.

Eligibility: This fellowship is available to any student, regardless of citizenship, who, in February of the application year, is enrolled toward a degree in a graduate 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 2019 fellowship is 5:00 p.m. local time on February 23, 2018, at Alaska Sea Grant. Applicants are encouraged to direct questions to and seek application advice from Alaska Sea Grant Associate Director Ginny Eckert. All application materials should be sent electronically to

Terms of appointment: The fellowship will be for a period of one year starting in February 2019. Compensation is in the form of a stipend, per diem, health insurance, and moving expenses. The overall award will be $61,500. Of this amount, $47,500 is provided to each Fellow for salary/stipend. Other allowable expenses are: fringe benefits, travel expenses for placement week, health insurance, and academic- and fellowship-related travel expenses. 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 2019 fellowships, students are to be enrolled in a graduate program in February 2018. 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 include the following documents, and must follow the requirements for each. Failure to follow these requirements will result in applications being rejected without review.

Email your application documents to Michele Frandsen. Letters of recommendation can be sent directly to Michele.

  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 2018 (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.

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 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 (45 percent total): Quality of the applicant's 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 2019 fellowship no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 6, 2018. The competitive selection process and subsequent notification to the Sea Grant programs will be completed in June 2018. Interviews with potential hosts and placement are in fall 2018, during a visit to Washington, DC. Fellowships are expected to begin February 1, 2019.

Timetable for 2018 Knauss fellowship applications
February 23, 2018, 5:00 p.m. Application materials for each applicant due in the Alaska Sea Grant office.
March 2018 Alaska Sea Grant panel reviews and selects applicants for national pool of applicants.
April 6, 2018, 5:00 p.m. EDT Alaska applications due to National Sea Grant Office.
June 2018 Knauss Fellows selected for upcoming year.
Fall 2018 Fellows interview hosts in D.C.
February 1, 2019 Fellowships begin.

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