2022 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics

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Application Deadline: January 27, 2022

Deadlines 

For applying students:

January 27, 2022, 5:00PM PST - Application materials submitted by student to California Sea Grant via eSeaGrant

For California Sea Grant:

February 10, 2022, 2:00PM PST - Letters of Intent submitted by California Sea Grant via email to National Sea Grant Office Fellowship Program Managers

February 24, 2022, 8:59PM PST - Selected applications submitted by California Sea Grant via Grants.gov to National Sea Grant Office Fellowship Program Managers


Program Overview

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

Funding Opportunity Title: Fiscal Year 2022 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics

Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-OAR-SG-2022-2007042

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

Funding Availability: $54,166 per year for up to three years. Anticipated start date is August 1, 2022, with projects to be completed by July 31, 2025. The award for each fellowship will be a multi-year cooperative agreement in an amount not to exceed $54,166 in federal funds per year for up to three years. Matching funds of 20% of the total federal request are required.

Dates: Applications are due to California Sea Grant by 5:00 pm PST, January 27, 2022.

The National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) support Ph.D. graduate fellowships 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.

The goals of the program are to 1) encourage qualified students to pursue careers in population and ecosystem dynamics related to living marine resources; 2) encourage qualified students to pursue careers in marine resource economics; 3) increase available expertise related to quantitative ecology for systems of living marine resources; 4) increase available expertise related to the economic analysis of living marine resource conservation and management decisions; 5) foster closer relationships between academic scientists and NMFS; 6) provide real-world experience to graduate students and accelerate their career development; and 7) support graduate students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in population dynamics or marine resource economics.

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

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.

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." If selected, 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 and may be a source of matching funds.

For more information on this opportunity, please consult the resources developed by National Sea Grant below.

2022 Application Resources:

Fellowship Factsheet

Student Guide


Eligibility
Population and Ecosystem Dynamics
Marine Resource Economics
Application Components
Submission Information
Evaluation Criteria
Reporting Requirements
Deadlines
Contacts


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 (oar.sg.fellows@noaa.gov). 

Sea Grant champions diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), while 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, income, and socioeconomic status types to apply for this opportunity.

Population and Ecosystem Dynamics

National Sea Grant anticipates funding at least four new Ph.D. fellowships in 2022 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

National Sea Grant anticipates funding at least one new Ph.D. fellowship in 2022 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. 

Application Components

Note: While there are two seperate 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 - The title page must not exceed one page. The title page should 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). Summarize the financial information for the project, permit information, and include approval signatures from the fellow, faculty advisor, and institutional representative. 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 the following:
    1. the number of years for which fellowship support is being sought;
    2. a brief summary of the work to be completed;
    3. a rationale for the proposed activity;
    4. scientific or technical objectives and/or hypotheses to be tested;
    5. appropriate details on methodology, and relevance of results.

      Candidate projects will focus on at least one of the following: 1) the population dynamics of living marine resources; 2) stock assessment and survey methodologies; 3) marine ecosystem modeling; 4) integrated ecosystem assessments; 5) ecosystem-based management of marine ecosystems; and 6) economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources. Interdisciplinary topics are encouraged.
      The proposal itself must not exceed five pages single spaced. If a proposal is longer than five pages, only the first five will be shared with reviewers. References and figures should be included as an appendix and do not count towards the five page limit.
       

  3. Education and career goal statement - The statement should discuss the student's interest: a) in the economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources, and/or b) quantitative marine ecology, with a focus on one or more of the following:
    1. development and implementation of methods for assessing marine ecosystems and/or stock status of living marine resources; 
    2. ecosystem-based management; 
    3. population dynamics of managed aquatic animals; 
    4. quantitative survey methodologies; 
    5. commitment to apply scientific expertise to serve society equitably (consider academics, volunteer activities, professional activities or personal experiences).

      The statement must not exceed two pages single spaced. If a career goal statement is longer than two pages, only the first two pages will be shared with reviewers.
       

  4. CVs - Curriculum vitae (CV) of the student, the faculty advisor, and the NMFS mentor. Individual CVs must not exceed 2 pages. The CVs should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g., LinkedIn, articles, blogs, etc.). If a CV is longer than two pages, only the first two pages will be shared with reviewers.
     
  5. Summary of academic training in quantative methods - Provide a one-page single spaced 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 2022 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 the course.
     
  6. Transcripts - Clear 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.
     
  7. Letters of recommendation - A minimum of two signed letters of recommendation from: 
    1. The student's faculty advisor. The letters should discuss the following attributes of the student: quantitative skills, self-motivation, response to setbacks, skills and involvement in teamwork, academic and performance and/or potential.
    2. The student’s NMFS mentor. In addition to noting the NMFS staff member’s commitment to serve as a mentor, letters from NMFS mentors should briefly address the relevance of the research to NMFS, as well as a statement of broader impacts of the proposal.

      If multiple advisors or mentors are contributing, each one should provide a separate letter.
       

  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. 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.
     
  9. 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 guidance, see the Sea Grant General Application Guide, pages 8 and 9.

II. Budget narrative  

Each application submitted in eSeaGrant must include the following budget documents (budget worksheets and budget justification narratives). 

  1. Sea Grant Budget Worksheets - Use the “Budgets” tab in eSeagrant to fill in and complete each yearly budget. Guidance on filling out the form is located in the Sea Grant General Application Guidance Document. Please ensure that a budget worksheet is completed for each yearly budget of the project (i.e., Year 1, Year 2, Year 3).
         The budget should 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.  Sub-contracts, if any, should have a separate budget page. Indirect costs are not allowed for either the fellowship or for any costs associated with the fellowship including waived indirect costs as match (15 C.F.R. § 917.11(e), "Guidelines for Sea Grant Fellowships").
         Non-federal matching funds equal to at least 20 percent (20%) of the federal funding request must be provided. The cumulative match at the end of each year of the grant must not fall below 20% of the cumulative federal request up to that point. For example, if $54,166 in federal funds is requested (the maximum allowable annual request), matching funds must be at least $10,834. In other words, applicants may not ‘under’ match in year one and ‘over’ match in year two. In-kind contributions directly supporting this application may count towards this matching requirement. 

  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. Justifications should be added when filling out the “Budgets” tab in eSeaGrant. 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. Subcontracts, if any, should have a separate budget page.

  3. Sea Grant 90-4 Form - (OMB Control No. 0648-0362). In addition to completing the Sea Grant Budget Worksheets, please complete the Excel 90-4 Budget Form and upload to eSeaGrant. The Sea Grant 90-4 Form can be found here.

    Overall application forms as referenced in the Sea Grant General Application guide, such as the SF-424, SF424A, etc., will be completed by California Sea Grant.

Submission Information

If you are enrolled towards a degree in a graduate or professional program in California, then your application must come through California 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 27, 2022

The electronic version of your application, with required signatures, must be submitted as PDFs via eSeaGrant (California Sea Grant's online submission portal):

Apply Now!

If you have never used this website, you will need to register for an account. You can change the randomly-generated password once you log in successfully into the website.

Please make sure to include your last name in the file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., Smith_budget.pdf or Smith_cv.pdf). 

Evaluation Criteria

For the NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics the evaluation criteria are as follows:

  1. Quality of project and applicability to program priorities. For the NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship, the project summary should provide evidence of important and innovative research and relate that research to relevant agency priorities (30 points). 
  2. Relevant experience related to diversity of education; extra-curricular activities; honors and awards; and interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills (20 Points). 
  3. Academic record as it relates to quantitative coursework and related fields. For the NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship the academic record is evaluated using student transcripts (undergraduate and graduate), the summary of academic training in quantitative methods, and the curriculum vitae (CV) (20 Points). 
  4. Recommendations and/or endorsements of the student. For the NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics, the expertise of the major professor and proposed NMFS mentor will be taken into account (20 points). 
  5. Overall application cohesion (10 points). For the NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowship program, consider all aspects of the application materials (CV, summary of academic training in quantitative methods, project summary, education and career goal statement from the student, letters of recommendation).

Reporting Requirements

If awarded a fellowship, a Progress Report and Cost Share Report will be required at the end of each award year. The Final Expense report is due at the termination of the award. The project leader or administrative contact should submit the reports of expense through their institution’s grants management or extramural funds office. That office should then submit these reports to: California Sea Grant College Program at sgfiscal@ucsd.edu.  

Research reports will be submitted to eSeaGrant. The first Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) will cover a period of nine months from the start date of award. Following reports are due annually. All interim Research Performance Progress Reports are due 30 days after the reporting period end date. A final Research Performance Progress Report will be due no later than 30 days after the award expiration. 

Deadlines

For applying students:

January 27, 2022, 5:00PM PST - Application materials submitted by student to California Sea Grant via eSeaGrant

For California Sea Grant:

February 10, 2022, 2:00PM PST - Letters of Intent submitted by California Sea Grant via email to National Sea Grant Office Fellowship Program Managers

February 24, 2022, 8:59PM PST - Selected applications submitted by California Sea Grant via Grants.gov to National Sea Grant Office Fellowship Program Managers

Contacts

Proposal Format & eSeaGrant Questions:

Lian Guo, Research Coordinator
sgproposal@ucsd.edu

Budget Questions:

Carol Bailey-Sumber, Grants Analyst
sgbudget@ucsd.edu

Agency Contacts:

NMFS-SG Sea Grant Fellowship Program Manager
National Sea Grant College Program
oar.sg.fellows@noaa.gov