2021 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship
Research fellowship support for PhD students in
Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics


Federal Agency Name(s): Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce

Funding Opportunity Title: Fiscal Year 2021 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics

Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-OAR-SG-2021-2006728

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 11.417, Sea Grant Support

Funding Availability: $53,000 per year for up to three years.

Dates: Applications are due to Pennsylvania Sea Grant by 5:00 pm EST, January 26, 2021.

The National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) support a Ph.D. graduate fellowship in two specific areas (1) population and ecosystem dynamics (PED) and (2) marine resource economics (MRE). The intent of this opportunity is to award a limited number of fellowships each year to students who are interested in careers related to population and ecosystem dynamics and marine resource economics with applications to living marine resources.

Candidate projects will focus on at least one of the following: 1) the population dynamics of living marine resources; 2) stock assessment methodologies and management applications; 3) marine ecosystem modeling; 4) integrated ecosystem assessments; 5) ecosystem-based management of marine ecosystems; 6) quantitative survey methodologies, and 7) economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources.

The fellowship 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, simulation modeling, marine resource economics, natural resource economics, or environmental economics.

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/or host an annual summer internship at the participating NMFS facility. Mentors will be from participating NMFS Science Centers or offices.

Non-federal matching funds equal to at least 20 percent (20%) of the federal funding request must be provided unless a waiver justified by statute is granted. See the Sea Grant General Application Guidance Document for more information. Details and more information available
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Eligibility

Prospective fellows must be United States citizens who, at the time of application, have been admitted to a Ph.D. degree program at a U.S. accredited university in the U.S. in population dynamics, ecosystem dynamics, resource or environmental economics, 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.

Alternatively, an applicant may submit a signed letter from the institution indicating provisional acceptance to a Ph.D. degree program conditional on obtaining financial support such as this fellowship. Applications must come from Sea Grant programs and must be submitted through Grants.gov. Applicants enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program in a state or territory served by a Sea Grant program must submit to that program.

Applicants in states or territories without a Sea Grant program must submit their applications to the Sea Grant program to which they were referred to by the NMFS Fellowship Program Manager whose contact info can be found in section VII.

Sea Grant champions diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), working to create a marine science workforce that reflects the communities we serve. We are recruiting, retaining and preparing a diverse workforce, and proactively engaging and serving the diverse populations of coastal communities. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking. We encourage applicants of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, marital statuses, education levels, job classifications, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types to apply for this opportunity.

Population and Ecosystem Dynamics
Sea Grant anticipates funding at least four new Ph.D. fellowships in 2021 to 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.

Marine Resource Economics
Sea Grant anticipates funding at least one new Ph.D. fellowship in 2021 to students who are interested in careers related to the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing the economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources. Fellows will work on thesis problems of public interest and relevance to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under the guidance of NMFS mentors at participating NMFS Science Centers or Offices. The NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics meets NOAA's healthy oceans goal of "marine fisheries, habitats, biodiversity sustained with healthy and productive ecosystems."

Application Components
*Note: While there are two separate opportunities (Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics) there is only one application, so applicants must indicate which concentration they are applying for on their cover sheet

I. Project Narrative
1. Title Page - Not exceed one page and must include the name and contact information of the prospective fellow, the title of the proposal, a brief project abstract, and should specify your project’s focus area (either PED or MRE). Depending on the student’s research concentration, the proposal title should read either "Last name_PED” or “Last name_MRE” as a prefix.

2. Project proposal - The project proposal is intended to describe the proposed dissertation or the general intended area of study. It must be written by the prospective fellow and include a brief summary of the work to be completed, a rationale for the proposed activity, scientific or technical objectives and/or hypotheses to be tested, appropriate details on methodology, and relevance of results. The proposal itself must not exceed five pages. If a proposal is longer than five pages, only the first five will be shared with reviewers. References and figures do not count towards the five page limit.

3. CVs - Curriculum vitae (CV) of the student, the faculty advisor, and the NMFS mentor. Individual CVs must not exceed 2 pages. If a CV is longer than two pages, only the first two pages will be shared with reviewers.

4. Transcripts - Clear, scanned copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts. These copies may be either official or unofficial transcripts. For students who have been accepted but not yet enrolled in a current Ph.D. program, the program’s acceptance letter is adequate to fill the requirement of Ph.D. transcripts.

5. Summary of academic training in quantative methods - Provide a one-page maximum summary describing your academic training in quantitative methods; a listing of your top five classes in quantitative methods already taken; and classes you intend to take over the spring 2021 semester. Class listings should include course name (though course number e.g., MA 551 can be excluded) and a short description of content covered in course.

6. Education and career goal statement - Not to exceed two pages, indicating the number of years for which fellowship support is being sought and the student's interest in the economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources, or quantitative marine ecology, with a focus on one or more of the following: modeling and managing systems of living marine resources; development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing marine ecosystems; ecosystem-based management; marine population dynamics; or the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing stock status of living marine resources. If a career goal statement is longer than two pages, only the first two pages will be shared with reviewers.

7. Letters of recommendation - A minimum of two signed letters of recommendation: one from the student's faculty advisor and one from the student’s NMFS mentor. If multiple advisors or mentors are contributing, each one should provide a separate letter. In addition to noting the NMFS staff member’s commitment to serve as a mentor, letters from NMFS mentors should: (a) briefly address the relevance of the research to NMFS; (b) provide a statement of broader impacts of the proposal; and (c) commit to providing the student an introduction to NMFS programs and opportunities. Engagement of the mentor on the student’s Ph.D. committee is recommended.

8. Abbreviated environmental compliance questionnaire - The Abbreviated Environmental Compliance Questionnaire, guidance on how to complete the questionnaire, as well as examples of completed questionnaires, can be found here. 

9.Applicants must ensure that the questionnaires are completed in full and include detailed information regarding project location, methodology, and permits. Copies of all permits required for project activities should be included with application materials. If a permit is pending or planned, please provide this information. If detailed information is not provided, NOAA via the federal program officer, may request additional information or place a specific award condition on the fellowship award prohibiting specific activities, if permits or other environmental compliance documentation is not currently available.

10. Data management plan - A data sharing plan not to exceed two pages is required. If your research will not generate any environmental data, an acceptable data sharing plan is the sentence, "This project will not generate any environmental data." For more information, see Section VI.B.(9) of the full opportunity.

II. Budget narrative 
Each individual project included within the application must include the following budget documents (Sea Grant 90-4 form and budget justification narratives) in the following order and format.

1. Sea Grant 90-4 Form - (OMB Control No. 0648-0362) A required form used to provide budget breakdowns and budget justifications by year and object class for the project in this application. Please download the most up-to-date Excel version of the 90-4 form when preparing an application. The Excel version should be used in the creation of the 90-4 and should then be turned into a PDF to include with the budget narrative package. Guidance on filling out the form is located in the Sea Grant General Application Guidance Document. Please ensure that the Sea Grant 90-4 form describes the yearly and total budget of the project (i.e., Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, and Years 1-3).

2. Budget Justification - A budget justification for each year of the project in the application that explains budget items in sufficient detail to enable review of the appropriateness of the funding requested. This document should be attached as a PDF to each Sea Grant 90-4 Form, as appropriate. The budget must include funds for travel to the annual Fellows Symposium and may include funds for stipend, tuition, fees, equipment, supplies, discretionary travel, and other reasonable and appropriate project costs (see Section II, "Award Information"). Subcontracts, if any, should have a separate budget page. All required forms are available here

Submission Information
If you are enrolled towards a degree in a graduate or professional program in California, then your application must come through Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

If you are enrolled towards a degree in a graduate or professional program in a state or territory not served by a Sea Grant program you must first contact the agency contact listed below to obtain a written referral to an eligible Sea Grant program. This referral must be included in the application package.

Application Deadline: January 26, 2021

Please upload an electronic copy of all application items, with required signatures. The electronic version of your application must be submitted as PDFs to Sean Rafferty, Ph.D., Director of Pennsylvania Sea Grant’s research program. 

PA Sea Grant Contact:
Sean Rafferty, Ph.D.
PA Sea Grant Research Director and Associate Director,
srafferty@psu.edu, 814.898.7082

Agency Contact:
NMFS-SG Sea Grant Fellowship Program Manager
National Sea Grant College Program
(240) 507-3721
oar.sg.fellows@noaa.gov

 

Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011