California Sea Grant Extension Ocean Resources Fellowship Request for Applications

happy aquafarmers measuring baby oysters
Application Deadline: May 27, 2021

With 800 miles of coastline and over 39 million people, ocean resources are of paramount importance for California yet the public is generally disconnected from resource management decisions. In particular, more information about the human dimensions surrounding both fisheries enhancement and aquaculture activities in the state is needed to inform management decisions and bolster public awareness of our state’s resources.

In response, this 24-month funded fellowship opportunity will provide assistance and leadership in the: 1. Development of a publicly participatory process for informing California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) decisions about the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP); 2. Development of food nutrition and safety information that will aid the marketing of and consumer confidence in California grown aquaculture products, and 3. Development of ecosystem services information that will aid aquaculture growth in California. 

This position will be based at California Sea Grant, whose mission is to create knowledge, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of California. The extension fellow will be mentored by two members of the dynamic team of California Sea Grant Extension Specialists and one interdisciplinary fisheries scientist based at the University of Florida and Florida Sea Grant, in close consultation with California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Sea Grant extension specialists work with state and federal agencies, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and members of the California coastal community to identify emerging marine resource problems and opportunities, conduct applied scientific research, and share findings with stakeholder groups. The extension team has the expertise and resources to work with, support, and connect the extension fellow to appropriate stakeholders based on the project (i.e. aquaculture and fishing industries, researchers, government agencies).


Fellowship Objectives
Eligibility
Stipend and Expenses
Length and Location of Assignment
Application
How to Submit an Application
Selection
Timeline
Contact


Fellowship Objectives

The extension fellow will assist in making tangible and quantifiable progress towards:

  1. Development of a publicly participatory process that will foster a shared understanding among stakeholders of OREHP outcomes, strategic goals and options in order to generate well-informed stakeholder feedback that can more effectively guide California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) decisions about the program. This goal will be met in two phases: 1. performing an initial situation assessment, and 2. using that information to develop a reform process. Specific tasks will include the planning and hosting of virtual public workshops (with a possibility of in-person workshops in Southern California), development and administering of stakeholder surveys, reviewing and compiling information from the literature, conducting scientific analyses, defining a structured planning and decision process, and assembly of an advisory committee of stakeholders, managers and technical experts to provide continuous input to the process and vetting of outputs (Years 1 &2 of fellowship.)
  2. Development of food nutrition and safety information that will aid the marketing of and consumer confidence in California grown aquaculture products. In particular, nutrition and food safety information for many new and emerging seaweed and shellfish products is lacking. Specific tasks may include compilation and synthesis of seaweed and shellfish nutrition and safety information, and field collections of specimens for analyses and subsequent data analyses (Year 1 of fellowship). 
  3. Development of ecosystem services information for aquaculture in California. Barriers to the growth of aquaculture in the state includes a paucity of information about the environmental trade-offs of facilities and practices, in particular the ecosystem services that are conferred by aquaculture, such as wildlife and fisheries habitat, and climate resilience (e.g., carbon sequestration). Tasks will include review and synthesis of climate resilience services, as well as hosting a resulting ecosystem services workshop attended by a diverse, cross-sector groups surrounding aquaculture in the state (Year 2 of fellowship). 

Accomplishment of these objectives and outreach of findings and final products will require the  fellow to interface with relevant industry and government partners (e.g., California Department of Public Health, Oceans Protection Council) and Sea Grant colleagues across the network working on similar projects. 

Some tasks will be self-guided, others will be performed in close coordination with California and Florida Sea Grant staff. The fellowship will start off in a remote work setting, with the potential to participate in-person in San Diego or Monterey once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Growth in social science and applied natural science concepts and skills can be expected through orchestration of a publicly participatory process, human survey data collections, compilation and synthesis of information from literature reviews and informal interviews (stakeholder meetings), workshop planning and facilitation, project management, and interfacing with multiple partners across various sectors.

Eligibility

Applications may be submitted by a graduate student close to completing their degree (Masters, Ph.D., or J.D) in a cross-cutting social and natural science field such as marine resource management, environmental science and/or conservation, human ecology, socio-ecology, or the human dimensions of fisheries and/or aquaculture at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Graduate students who recently completed their degree at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education with a graduation date [i.e. the date the degree was awarded by the university] after May 1, 2020 are also eligible to apply. The Fellow must complete all degree requirements before starting the fellowship.

Sea Grant is committed to increasing the diversity of the Sea Grant workforce and of the communities we serve.  Sea Grant embraces individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types. 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.

Stipend and Expenses

The fellow will receive a monthly stipend of $4,292 ($51,504 per year) over the 24-month assignment. Additional funds will be available to cover fellowship-related travel ($3,000/year). The fellow must provide proof of health insurance.

Length and Location of Assignment

The length of the assignment is 24 months (non-renewable) beginning on or shortly after July 1, 2021 (no later than August 15, 2021). The fellowship will eventually be based in San Diego or Monterey, California but will start off under a remote work arrangement. 

Application

A complete application will include:

  1. Resume/curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12-point font)*
  2. A personal education and career goal statement that emphasizes the applicant's abilities and interest in integrated social and natural science approaches to inform marine resource use, management, and/or decision making processes, in particular for fisheries and/or aquaculture (1,000 words or less)
  3. Two letters of professional recommendation, including one from the student's major professor. If no major professor exists, the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant academically may be substituted
  4. Copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts; unofficial copies will be accepted*

*Personal information (birth dates, addresses, student ID numbers, social security numbers, etc.) should be redacted from all application materials before it is submitted through eSeaGrant. 

How to Submit an Application

The electronic files comprising your application must be submitted as PDFs using eSeaGrant, California Sea Grant’s online submission portal.

You may need to register for an account (click on the banner labeled “Register”) in eSeaGrant if you have not done so in the past year. You can change the randomly generated password once you log in successfully into the website. To apply for this fellowship, follow eSeaGrant instructions specific for this opportunity.

Please make sure to include your last name in the file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., Smith_statement.pdf or Smith_cv.pdf). When naming the document please do not use apostrophes. Once submitted through the website, PDFs may not be edited. To change a PDF, it must be deleted and resubmitted.

IMPORTANT: To maintain confidentiality, letters of recommendation must be submitted directly from the referee to California Sea Grant through eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered. Please address letters to Dr. Theresa S Talley, Extension Director, California Sea Grant. Late submissions may lead to the rejection of incomplete applications. Candidates are encouraged to work with referees to meet the deadline.

Only Acrobat documents (pdf) are accepted.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant please contact Catherine Courtier at sgproposal@ucsd.edu or (858) 822-2167‬.

Application Deadline: 5:00 PM PDT Thursday, May 27, 2021. 

NOTE: the eSeaGrant proposal portal will automatically close at the date and time stated above, and late applications (even 1 minute late) cannot be accepted. It is your responsibility to get materials submitted before the deadline.

Selection

Selection of the finalists is made by staff of the California Sea Grant College Program and the University of Florida/Florida Sea Grant based upon review of written application materials and interviews (Zoom or phone) of a subset of applicants. Selection criteria used by California Sea Grant include: academic ability, writing and communication skills, diversity and appropriateness of academic background and experience, career goals, additional qualifying experience, and support of referees. 

Please note that California Sea Grant will not cover expenses incurred during interviews since traveling is not required to interview.

Timeline

  • May 27, 2021: Fellowship applications due
  • Early-Mid June (before 6/11): Screening of fellowship applications
  • Mid-Late June (after 6/16): Interviews
  • Early July: Candidate notified
  • July 15, 2021: Fellowship begins

Contact

For additional information about the California Sea Grant Ocean Resources Extension Fellowship, please contact:

Catherine Courtier
Research Coordinator - Science Integration Team
sgproposal@ucsd.edu