Call for Host Applications: State Fellowship Program 2020

Application Deadline: July 31, 2019
Contact— Miho Ligare / / (858) 534-1160

Class of 2018 State Fellows
Interested in becoming a Host Office?

Program Description
Stipend and Expense
Length of Assignment


Program Description

The California Sea Grant State Fellows Program provides a unique educational and professional opportunity for graduate students who are interested in coastal and marine resources in California, and the policy decisions affecting those resources. Modeled after the highly successful national Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, the State Fellowship Program is designed to provide recent graduates an opportunity to acquire "on the job" experience in the planning and implementation of coastal and marine resource policies and programs in the state of California. The program matches highly motivated and outstanding graduate students (near completion of degree or recently completed) with "hosts" in municipal, state or federal agencies in California. The fellowship program serves to both increase the capacity of ocean and coastal management agencies in California with highly motivated and talented graduate students, and to facilitate the training and development of the next generation of ocean and coastal leaders.

Since the inception of this program in 1987, 206 graduate students and recent graduates have been successfully placed in a variety of local, state, and federal agencies that address California coastal and marine resource issues. This fellowship program has helped jump-start the careers of coastal and marine policy professionals.  You can read about current and past State Fellows at

Prospective hosts will provide an educational opportunity to fellows who will, in turn, provide substantial professional contributions to the office. Hosts are expected to supervise, mentor and provide opportunities for fellows to be involved in substantive issues that support the fellow’s professional and educational goals. The fellow will be expected to engage with the host office and work full-time, on site and with other staff and/or leadership, as appropriate.  

There will also be an opportunity for the state fellow to work with the Sea Grant Extension program. California Sea Grant extension specialists work with state and federal agencies, 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. Fellows will choose extension project/s that align with their fellowship assignments and is anticipated to contribute no more than two months spread out over the year. 

For 2020, California Sea Grant plans to select up to 18 - 25 finalists (depending on size of applicant pool and number of host offerings) who will be awarded fellowships. Fellowship applications are submitted to California Sea Grant and screened for appropriate academic background, employment history, career and education goals, community and extracurricular activities, interest in the fellowship, and for personal characteristics such as initiative, leadership, adaptability, communication and analytical skills. 

Based on feedback from current and past fellows and host agencies, significant changes will be made to this year’s matching workshop. Selected hosts will be guided through a matching process with fellowship finalists at a workshop on October 29 - 30, 2019 in Sacramento, and remote (encouraged) or in-person interviews the week of November 4 - 8, 2019. Additional details on the matching process will be made available once hosts are confirmed. Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed.

Stipend and Expenses

Prospective hosts are expected to contribute at least 75% of the costs to support a fellow. If a host is requesting more than one fellow, the host will pay 100% of the costs associated with any additional fellowships. California Sea Grant will administer the monthly stipend payments, health insurance and travel reimbursements for each fellow.

Hosts are expected to contribute at least 75% of the total direct costs of their first fellowship award (includes stipend, health insurance reimbursement, and travel costs) plus administrative support equal to 10% of total direct costs.  Hosts will contribute 100% of the total direct costs of any additional fellowships, plus administrative support. An indirect cost (IDC) rate of 25%* applies to all costs. If you have any questions about the IDC, please contact the California Sea Grant office.  A summary of costs to potential hosts is as follows:

  1. Direct cost of fellowship award (stipend [$46,860], insurance [$3,120], travel [$2,400]) = $52,380
  2. California Sea Grant Administrative Support (10% of total agency contribution)
  3. Indirect Cost Rate (off-campus) = 25%*

Cost to Hosts:

First fellowship = 1.25*[(75% of $52,380) +$3,929] = $54,018

Additional fellowship(s) = 1.25*[(100% of $52,380) +$5,238] = $72,023 * *  

Once hosts are confirmed, they are expected to work with California Sea Grant and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Office of Contract and Grant Administration to put into place a cooperative or interagency agreement for each fellowship award prior to the start of fellowships in winter 2020.  Fellows are NOT ALLOWED to start work until the funding agreement is completed.

*The 25% IDC rate applies to fellows working at a state agency, unless the host agency has negotiated an alternate rate with the University of California that has been approved by the UC Office of the President. Necessary documentation will be required prior to acceptance of the contract.  Please contact the California Sea Grant office if you believe another IDC rate may apply.

* * If a host has more than one fellow, California Sea Grant’s contribution of 25% may be applied evenly among the fellows for contracting purposes

Length of Assignment

The length of a fellowship assignment is 12 months (non-renewable). The fellowship, for this year’s competition, will begin in the winter (January to March 2020), and the start date is negotiable between an individual host and fellow.


The California Sea Grant State Fellowship program is open for participation by municipal, state and federal agencies in California with mandates in coastal or marine research, policy, or management.

A host application will include the following: 

  1. Host location and contact information.
  2. Names of fellowship supervisor(s). 
  3. Point(s) of contact for California Sea Grant, prospective fellows, and finalists
  4. Position description (not to exceed two pages, single spaced). (Optional) Potential projects for a fellow/s and extension specialist/s to work on. See list of extension projects here. This section does not count towards your two page limit.   If selected as a participating host, this description will be made available as submitted to prospective fellowship applicants.
  5. Amount of proposed financial contribution.

Please submit the above information to by COB July 31, 2019.


Acceptance of a host application will be based on the following criteria: 

  1. The perceived quality of the fellowship opportunity.
  2. The level of educational benefit for the fellow.
  3. The host office’s previous experience working with interns, fellows or other mentoring/educational programs.
  4. The level of financial commitment. Hosts are required to provide at least 75% of the entire cost of the (first) 12-month fellowship (including stipend, health insurance reimbursement, travel costs, administrative support and applicable IDC).  Hosts must pay 100% of the costs for any additional fellowship(s).

Based on feedback from current and past fellows and host agencies, significant changes will be made to the matching workshop this year. Selected hosts will be guided through a matching process with fellowship finalists at a workshop on October 29 - 30, 2019 in Sacramento, and remote (encouraged) or in-person interviews the week of November 4 - 8, 2019.  Placement of fellows cannot be guaranteed.


July 31: Host applications due
August 2 (approximate): Participating hosts selected and host applicants notified; request for fellowship applications issued
August 31: Fellowship applications due
September 4–  27 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists
September 28 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts
October 29 - 30: MANDATORY matching workshop in Sacramento
November 4 - 8: Finalist Interviews (remote encouraged or in-person)
November 13  (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
January 2020–March 2020: Fellowships begin


Miho Ligare
Research & Fellowship Coordinator
(858) 534-1160
Catherine Courtier
Extension Program Analyst
(858) 822-2167
Budget Questions
(858) 534-7855