Call for Host Applications: State Fellowship Program 2022

Application Deadline: May 24, 2021
Contact— Nick Sadrpour / /

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

Program Description
Extension Project
Virtual Matching Process
Stipend and Expense
Length of Assignment
Full Timeline

Timeline Highlights: 
Host applications due: May 24, 2021 9AM
Fellowship applications due: July 26
Final host budget commitments due: August 16
Host presentations: August 30-September 3
Finalist presentations: September 15-17
Virtual matching workshop: October 4-6

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 "hands-on" 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, 256 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, remotely and/or on site and with other staff and/or leadership, as appropriate. Hosts and fellows are responsible for agreeing on remote/virtual, on-site, and hybrid arrangements.  

Extension Project Opportunity 

Over the course of the twelve-month fellowship, there will also be an opportunity for the state fellow to work with the California 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. During the Spring Retreat hosted by California Sea Grant, state fellows will interact with extension specialists and choose extension project/s that align with their fellowship assignments or align with their professional and career interests. Fellows are anticipated to contribute no more than two months spread out over the year on these extension projects. As each extension specialist, project, fellowship position, and individual fellow is different California Sea Grant will provide flexibility as best possible to create organic collaborative opportunities through the extension projects for state fellows.

For 2022, California Sea Grant anticipates selecting 20-25  finalists (depending on size of applicant pool and number of host offerings) who will be invited to the matching workshop . Fellowship applications are submitted to California Sea Grant (via the online application system eSeaGrant) and screened for appropriate academic background, employment history, career and education goals, community and extracurricular activities, interest in the fellowship, and for professional skills such as initiative, leadership, adaptability, communication and analytical skills. 

California Sea Grant strongly encourages all prospective hosts to see the complete schedule and place appropriate holds on their calendars early. 

Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed.

Virtual Matching Process

While the 2021 matching workshop was swiftly transitioned to fully virtual due to covid-19, given the continued uncertainty and out of an abundance of caution, the matching workshop for 2022 state fellows will also be 100% virtual. Based on feedback from current and past fellows and host agencies, we have modified aspects of the schedule. Selected hosts will be guided through a matching process with fellowship finalists at a mandatory virtual matching workshop on October 4-6, 2021. A full detailed virtual matching workshop schedule will be finalized in the near future. 


Prior to the matching workshop, each host will give a presentation via an online video platform that provides a background of the organization and scope of the general duties of their position. Each presentation will be set up, moderated, and recorded by California Sea Grant staff in conjunction with the hosts. We encourage all finalists, as able, to attend presentations live to gain a better understanding of the fellowship opportunities and host agencies, and ask any general questions. All presentations will be recorded and distributed to all finalists via a password protected webpage. Host presentations will take place August 30-September 3, 2021. All hosts will be given the full host presentation schedule and be able to view other host presentations. Similarly, prior to the matching workshop each finalist will give a brief presentation via Zoom that demonstrates their personality and interests, what they hope to get out of the fellowship experience, and what skills and experiences they will bring to this opportunity. Hosts will be encouraged, as able, to attend finalist presentations live and given access to the finalist presentation recordings. Finalist presentations will take place September 15-17, 2021. 

California Sea Grant cannot guarantee that a host will have an interview with a particular finalist. Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed. Finalists invited to the matching workshop are not guaranteed a fellowship. 

Additional details on the matching process will be made available once finalists and hosts are confirmed.

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 (calculated at 10% of the full direct cost per fellow) plus applicable indirect costs (IDC).  Hosts will contribute 100% of the total direct costs of any additional fellowships, plus administrative support and applicable IDC.  If you have any questions about the IDC, please contact the California Sea Grant fiscal office.  A summary of costs to potential hosts is as follows:

  1. Direct annual cost of fellowship award (stipend [$48,264], health insurance [$3,240], travel [$2,472]) = $53,976
  2. California Sea Grant Administrative Support = $5,398 
  3. Indirect Cost Rate = Varies by Prime Funding Source (If Federal, then it is the Institution’s F&A rate agreement and applied only to the administrative support costs, if State of California, then it will be 25% MTDC unless the Institution has a California IDC rate agreement). 

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 2022.  Fellows are NOT ALLOWED to start work until the funding agreement is completed.

* 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 (short extensions may be possible). The fellowship, for this year’s competition, will begin in the winter of 2021 (January to March). 

Start Date

To ease logistical burdens and prevent delays for stipend payments,  2022 fellows are strongly encouraged to start the first week of the month either in January, February, or March 2022: January 3-7; January 31-February 4; or February 28-March 4, with the exact start date 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). 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 May 24, 2021 9AM.

Because of timing with the state fiscal year and when host applications are due, hosts may submit information of their intent to support a certain number of fellows by the May 24, 2021 deadline. However, final budget commitment letters are due by July 12, 2021.


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 and professional benefit for the fellow.
  3. The host office’s previous experience working with interns, fellows (including Sea Grant 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).


California Sea Grant staff will review host applications against the above criteria, priorities of the State Fellowship Program, and administrative capacity to determine final host fellowship opportunities. California Sea Grant has the right to decline host applications.



March: Host applications opened
May: Request for fellowship applications opened
May 24 9AM: Host applications due
June 11 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website
June 23 12-1:30: State Fellow Informational Webinar
July 12: Deadline for host budget commitment letters
July 14 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website
July 26 9AM: Fellowship applications due
July 26-August 20 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists 
August 16: Due to budget uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, hosts will have the opportunity to submit their preliminary budget commitments by July 12, and their final budget commitments due August 16.
August 23 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts
August 25: California Sea Grant informational webinar for invited finalists
August 30-September 3: Host presentations 
September 7: Finalists provide binned preference of hosts for matching workshop interviews
September 10 (approximate): Draft interview schedule sent to hosts
September 15-17: Finalist presentations 
September 30: Finalists only welcome reception 
October 4-6: MANDATORY virtual matching workshop 
    Full schedule details will be shared. 
October 18-22 (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
January 2021- March 2021: Fellowships begin






Nick Sadrpour
Program Coordinator
(858) 246-5269
Catherine Courtier
Research & Extension Analyst
(858) 822-2167
Budget Questions
(858) 534-4442