2025 Delta Science Fellowship

Funding Category
Application Deadline
Proposal Budget Help: sgbudget@ucsd.edu
Proposal Contact: sgproposal@ucsd.edu


Notices of Intent to submit are due by 5:00PM PT, June 24, 2024.
Applications are due by 5:00PM PT, August 26, 2024



  • Delta Stewardship Council
  • Delta Science Program
  • The Science Action Agenda
  • California Sea Grant
  • Delta Science Fellows Program
  • Goals
  • Fellowship Opportunities

Fellowship Program

  • Award
  • Mentoring Plan
  • 2025 Priority Topic Areas
  • Guiding Documents
  • Research Mentors
  • Community Mentors
  • Communication of Information

Fellowship Selection and Application Process

  • Eligibility
  • Evaluation Process
  • Selection Process
  • Permits
  • Timetable
  • Application Process and Contents
  • Information Contact


Appendix A: Sample Fellow Mentoring Plan
Appendix B: Map of the Delta

Please read this solicitation carefully as there have been changes from previous announcements. 


Informational Webinar


The Delta Science Program and California Sea Grant are excited to announce the 14th round of Delta Science Fellowships, with support for the 2025-2026 academic years. This fellowship funds research projects of up to two years in duration that will advance the state of knowledge underlying high priority science issues that affect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and its management as an integrated socio-ecological system. Eligible applicants include postdoctoral researchers, Ph.D. students, and master’s students. Priority topic areas are identified below, and include research in both the biophysical and social sciences. For the purposes of this request for applications (RFA), biophysical science refers to biological, chemical, and/or physical science. The Fellows award includes a monthly stipend along with research and/or education-related expenses (including tuition and/or health benefits) up to $110,522/year for postdoctoral fellows and $94,500/year for Ph.D. and master’s fellows, including indirect costs. Fellowships include up to two years of support. Notices of Intent to submit are due by 5:00PM PT, June 24, 2024. Applications are due by 5:00PM PT, August 26, 2024.

Delta Stewardship Council
On February 3, 2010, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 took effect, creating the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) as an independent state agency. The Council’s mission is to advance the state’s coequal goals for the Delta as described in the 2009 Delta Reform Act: achievement of a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem, both in a manner that protects and enhances the unique characteristics of the Delta as an evolving place. Under the same legislation, the Delta Science Program within the Council became the successor to the CALFED Science Program, which previously sponsored the CALFED (now “Delta”) Science Fellowship.  

Delta Science Program
The mission of the Delta Science Program is to provide the best possible unbiased scientific information to inform water and environmental decision-making in the Delta. The Delta Science Program carries out its mission by funding research, synthesizing and communicating scientific information to policy and decision makers, promoting independent scientific peer review, and coordinating with Delta agencies to promote science-based adaptive management (Delta Reform Act 2009, Water Code section 85280(b)(4)). 

The Science Action Agenda
The 2022-2026 Science Action Agenda (SAA) is a four-year multidisciplinary science agenda for the Delta that prioritizes and aligns science actions to respond to relevant management questions and inform management decisions. The SAA was developed through a collaborative process and provides a list of high priority science actions (e.g. research, synthesis, science communication activities) that complement goals in the 2019 Delta Science Plan, which generally seeks to achieve the vision ‘One Delta, One Science’ – an open Delta science community that works collaboratively to build a shared body of scientific knowledge with the capacity to adapt and inform future water and environmental decisions. The 2025 Delta Science Fellowship priority topic areas are based on the 2022-2026 Science Action Agenda.

People are an influential and inextricable component of the Delta environment. The Council recognizes the important role of social science in advancing Delta management and restoration. However, social science in the Delta has received significantly less research attention than the biophysical sciences. To that end, a specific area of emphasis for the 2025 Delta Science Fellows Program is investigations that aim to better understand the human and social components of the Delta system. Proposals will be evaluated by two separate review panels: one for social science applications and one for biophysical science applications. For more context on the growing effort to integrate social science research and management in the Delta, please see the Council's Social Science Integration Webpage and the Social Science Task Force Report.

California Sea Grant
California Sea Grant’s mission is to provide the information, tools, training and relationships needed to help California conserve and sustainably prosper from our coastal and marine environments. We accomplish this by collaborating with a range of local, state, regional, national, and international partners to further the acquisition and application of relevant scientific knowledge.

In partnership with agency partners, industry and other academic partners, California Sea Grant is committed to contributing to a diverse, skilled and environmentally literate workforce that can address critical local, regional and national challenges. Our long-standing collaboration with the Delta Science Program helps California Sea Grant provide training opportunities that advance education and career development in diverse facets of coastal and ocean sciences.

Delta Science Fellows Program
The purpose of the Delta Science Fellows Program is to train the next generation of science leaders in the Delta by bringing together fellows with research mentors and community mentors in collaborative research, data analysis, and synthesis projects relevant to Delta policy and management. California Sea Grant will administer and manage the fellowship program on behalf of the Delta Science Program. Fellowships will be awarded based on the intellectual merit and broader impacts articulated in the application and the expected contribution of the work to the priority issues identified in the 2022-2026 SAA. Additionally, proposals will be assessed for the degree to which the proposed activity will promote high quality mentorship of the fellow by research and community mentor(s), as well as contribute to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and other beneficial, broader societally-relevant impacts in the sciences.

The goals of the Delta Science Fellows Program are to:

  1. Engage highly qualified scientific talent to help advance the state of knowledge in social and biophysical science on high priority Management Needs and Science Actions identified by the SAA. 
  2. Provide support for the training and development of social and biophysical scientists to work on research projects that support resource management in the Delta and contribute to DEI in Delta science; and 
  3. Promote scientific partnerships across research institutions, agencies, non-profit organizations, Delta communities, and multiple disciplines.

Summary of Eligibility and Requirements
To be eligible, applicants must identify at least one community mentor (more than one is acceptable) and a research mentor. A community mentor is a subject matter expert who conducts science or uses scientific information to further scientific understanding, management, or decision making in the Delta. Community mentors may work for tribal governments; state, federal, or local agencies; nonprofit or private organizations; or possibly universities. The community mentor(s) will provide guidance for the fellow's project with respect to outreach and communications, relevance to management, and the timeliness of the research questions and approach.

The research mentor, typically the fellow’s advisor or committee chair, will serve as the lead mentor for the fellow, providing broad oversight and review of the fellow’s research and products. During the fellowship, the fellow, community mentor(s), and research mentor will collaborate on the approved project, and together they will provide regular progress updates to the Delta Science Program that include information about outreach products, conference abstracts, and draft or published scholarly manuscripts. A mentoring plan between the fellow, the research mentor, and the community mentor(s) will be required within one month after the fellowship is initiated (see Appendix A). 

Applicants are encouraged to use existing data sets to the maximum extent feasible. If collection of new data is part of the proposed research, the prospective fellow should clearly explain how these new data will supplement available data and what existing data will be used as part of the project. 

Proposed fellowship projects must either be physically located in the Delta or provide a demonstrable link to the Delta and address the priority research topics identified in the 2022-2026 SAA. A link to the Delta could include hydrologic connection, tribal ancestral/spiritual connection, social/cultural connection, etc. The “Delta” means the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (see Appendix B) as defined in Water Code Section 12220 and the Suisun Marsh as defined in Public Resources Code Section 29101 (Water Code Section 79702[e]).

Expected Awards
The Delta Science Program and partner organizations are expected to sponsor a total of approximately 5 fellows across multiple disciplinary areas. 

Fellowship Program

The fellowship will provide up to two (2) years of support based on scope/type of projects and contingent upon the availability of funds, for postdoctoral, Ph.D., and master’s fellows. The award includes funds for a monthly stipend and for research- and/or education-related expenses including tuition and/or health benefits. Once the successful fellows are selected, California Sea Grant will issue the award (including stipend and research-related expenses) to the university, college, or research institution that is the affiliation of the fellow and research mentor. 

Postdoctoral fellows will receive a stipend up to $66,868 per year. Ph.D. and master’s fellows will receive a stipend of up to $45,000 per year, for a maximum duration of two years. In addition, each fellow may request funds (up to $15,000 per year for postdoctoral fellows or $25,000 per year for Ph.D. and master’s fellows) for research supplies/equipment, travel, and other expenses necessary for carrying out the proposed research, as well as education-related expenses including tuition and/or health benefits. Travel may include attendance at scientific meetings either virtually or in person, including the Bay-Delta Science Conference or State of the Estuary Conference (see “Communication of Information”). 

The funds for research-related costs and benefits are subject to a maximum indirect cost rate limit of 35%, in accordance with rates determined/set by the cooperative agreement between the Delta Science Program and California Sea Grant. The maximum amount requested for the stipend plus research and/or education-related expenses (including tuition or health benefits) should not exceed $110,522/year for postdoctoral fellows and $94,500/year for Ph.D. and master’s fellows, including indirect costs.

For Ph.D. and master’s fellows, the portion of the award provided to each fellow for tuition (unless waived), health insurance, and other university fees will be determined by each university in accordance with its guidelines. The portion of the award for living expenses will be distributed as a monthly stipend, not as salaries, wages, and benefits, by the academic or research institution affiliated with the fellow. 

Continued support after the first year will be contingent on satisfactory performance and on the availability of funds. 

Mentoring Plan
A formal mentoring plan must be submitted within one month after funds are awarded and the fellowship is initiated. The purpose of the mentoring plan is to ensure a quality experience for the fellow that provides a springboard to a career in scientific research or program implementation.

A sample mentoring plan is provided in Appendix A.

2025 Priority Topic Areas
For 2025, the Delta Science Fellows Program is requesting research proposals that are responsive to one or more of the priority Management Needs and associated Science Action(s) identified in the draft 2022-2026 Science Action Agenda (SAA).

2022-2026 Science Action Agenda Management Needs:

  1. Improve coordination and integration of large-scale experiments, data collection, and evaluation across regions and institutions

  2. Enhance monitoring and model interoperability, integration, and forecasting

  3. Expand multi-benefit approaches to managing the Delta as a social-ecological system

  4. Build and integrate knowledge on social process and behavior of Delta communities and residents to support effective and equitable management

  5. Acquire new knowledge and synthesize existing knowledge of interacting stressors to support species recovery

  6. Assess and anticipate climate change impacts to support successful adaptation strategies

Guiding Documents

Research Mentors
Fellowship applicants must include a letter of support from the research mentor they plan to work with on the proposed effort. Research mentors must be scholars actively engaged in biophysical sciences or social sciences as the primary focus of their position, with a publication record in peer-reviewed journals. Research mentors working at academic institutions must be employed at the tenure-track level of Assistant Professor or higher (academics holding non-teaching, research faculty or extension positions are also eligible to be research mentors).

Applicants for the Ph.D. and master’s fellowships should be working with a research mentor from the academic institution at which they are enrolled. Applicants for the postdoctoral fellowship may work with mentors from any academic or research institution.

Community Mentors
In addition to working with research mentors, fellows are required to collaborate with at least one community mentor. The role of this mentor is to help guide research relevance, participate in the co-production of research, and help translate and communicate findings for non-academic audiences. Community mentors must have relevant subject matter expertise and be familiar with existing data and resource issues central to the proposed research. Current involvement with Delta programs or agencies working on Delta issues is preferred. Community mentors may be scientists, managers, engineers, scientific/technical staff, or other subject matter experts in agencies, environmental organizations, community-based groups, tribes, or stakeholder associations. 

Fellows will work closely with community mentors, sharing ideas and progress throughout the project. Fellows may also communicate their findings and request feedback from appropriate scientific/technical groups focused on the Delta system, e.g., the Interagency Ecological Program project work teams.

As part of the application, applicants must identify at least one community mentor and include a letter of support from that community mentor. Applicants need to enlist the community mentor during the proposal development stage in order to develop the collaboration and receive the community mentor’s feedback on the proposed work. Applicants may have more than one community mentor.

When submitting the NOI form, applicants should identify if they need help identifying a community mentor, and if so, provide sufficient information in their project description to help the Delta Science Program provide resources on finding a community mentor. 

Communication of Information
Fellows will be required to present the results of their research at the Bay-Delta Science Conference or the State of the Estuary Conference, either as a poster or oral presentation. The conferences are held either virtually or in-person in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, respectively. Fellows should budget for travel to at least one conference in their application. Fellows are also strongly encouraged to present their research at other national and international professional meetings.

Fellows are required to publish results from this fellowship in peer-reviewed, open-access journals. Fellows may choose to publish their work in any such journal, but an example of a regionally focused, open access peer-reviewed journal is San Francisco Estuary & Watershed Science.

Fellows may be asked to give a limited number of presentations or briefings to the Delta Stewardship Council, technical groups, or agency managers virtually or in person in Sacramento, California. In these cases, California Sea Grant will fund additional travel costs, if needed.

If offered during the fellowship, fellows will be expected to attend a two-to-three-day Early Career Leadership Workshop, which may include a Delta Stewardship Council meeting, during their fellowship. This workshop helps to put research in the context of management challenges, provides training in communicating science, provides advice on how to build a successful science career, and provides advice on career opportunities. Fellows are required to budget for travel to the Early Career Leadership Workshop in their application.

All fellows must prepare annual progress reports to be submitted to the California Sea Grant Office, who will deliver them to the Delta Science Program. The progress report will detail the fellow’s research activities, provide retrospective and prospective revision of the research plan, and report expenditures. Additionally, a copy (may be electronic) of any poster/other professional submissions to that year’s science conference(s) or scientific journals will be required at the end of each year, as well as any available citations of research products, complete with Document Object Identifier (DOI) numbers. Additional metrics specified in the mentoring plan should be reported.

Each fellow must produce and submit to the California Sea Grant Office a final research report, which will be delivered to the Delta Science Program at the end of the respective fellowship agreement period. The final report will summarize results and accomplishments of the research project, including all publications since the fellowship’s inception. Additional metrics specified in the mentoring plan should be reported.

All data generated by this project is due with the Final Completion Report, and data will be posted online in an open access data portal or delivered to the California Sea Grant Office, who will deliver them to the Delta Science Program. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use reproducible workflows (e.g., script-based analyses in R; documentation of coding or QA procedures), follow FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data principles, publish model code, and publish journal articles using open-access services.

Data management should be consistent with the following principles:

  • Datasets are clearly labeled in a way that is understandable to general users.
  • Data are interoperable (machine readable).
  • Standard data and metadata formats are used for similar data types.
  • Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) procedures are documented and followed.
  • Appropriate steps have been taken to protect human subjects data (e.g., IRB review).
  • Open and transparent data and metadata are accessible to the public in a reasonable time frame. All data generated and all models produced from awarded projects are required to be made publicly accessible no later than two years after the end date of the project, except where prohibited by law, regulation, or policy or security requirements, for example with human subjects data.

The DSP respects the sovereignty of Tribes and will not require disclosure of sensitive or confidential information, to the extent allowed by law. For projects based on traditional and tribal knowledges, the project team will be expected to work with the Council and/or Sea Grant to prepare and enter into a data sharing agreement that defines how project results and deliverables will be used, in alignment with the CARE (collective benefit, authority to control, responsibility, and ethics) data principles.

In addition, the fellow will be required to enter project information to the Delta Science Tracker, a comprehensive tracking tool for science activities conducted in the Delta. The tool provides summaries and visualizations of science funding streams, collaborations, science and management topics, and many other project attributes.

This is a prestigious fellowship program, and past recipients have gone on to successful careers in agencies, universities, and other organizations. Fellows are encouraged to maintain contact with Sea Grant and the Delta Science Program during and after their fellowship so they can remain abreast of opportunities to communicate their research, participate on review panels, and participate in other activities. 

Fellowship Selection and Application Process


Prospective postdoctoral science fellows must have completed a Ph.D. before the starting date of the fellowship. The degree must be from a program in the environmental sciences, engineering, social sciences, human dimensions or in a related field appropriate for disciplines identified under “Fellowship Opportunities.” Any postdoctoral researcher associated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning for the duration of the grant may apply. Postdoctoral fellowships will not be awarded unless and until the prospective fellow has fully completed the Ph.D. degree.

Prospective Ph.D. science fellows must, at the time of application, be in or have recently been admitted to a Ph.D. degree program in natural resources, environmental sciences, environmental policy and management, engineering, social sciences, human dimensions, or coastal, aquatic, or related sciences at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Applicants who have not yet received notice of admission agree to notify California Sea Grant of the admissions outcome at the earliest possible date, or risk non-review of their application. Candidates must remain associated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning for the duration of the award.

Prospective master’s science fellows must, at the time of application, be actively enrolled or recently been admitted to a master’s degree program in natural resources, environmental sciences, environmental policy and management, engineering, social sciences, human dimensions, or coastal, aquatic or related sciences at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Applicants who have not yet received notice of admission agree to notify California Sea Grant of the admissions outcome at the earliest possible date, or risk non-review of their application. Candidates must remain associated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning for the duration of the award.

Sea Grant and the Delta Science Program are committed to increasing the diversity of the workforce we fund and of the communities we serve. We embrace individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, as well as income and socioeconomic status types. Sea Grant and the Delta Science Program are committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication, and education programs that serve people with unique knowledge, backgrounds, life experiences, needs, perspectives, and ways of thinking.

Evaluation Process

Applications must be submitted to the California Sea Grant College Program Office no later than 5:00 pm Pacific Time, August 26, 2024. Applications will only be accepted from individuals who submitted a Notice of Intent by the June 24th deadline. A review panel consisting of outside, independent expert reviewers from relevant disciplines, facilitated by Delta Science Program leadership, and California Sea Grant leadership will be convened for each track (biophysical science and social science) to review and recommend finalists to the Delta Science Program Lead Scientist, using the criteria outlined below.

Applicants will be asked to indicate in their Notice of Intent form which panel they would like to review their application. Proposals which are biological, chemical, and/or physical in discipline are appropriate for the biophysical science track. Projects that are interdisciplinary in nature (incorporating elements of both biophysical and social science) may request to be co-reviewed by the Biophysical and Social Science Technical Review Panels.

The evaluation criteria include:

  • The quality of the research proposal, including appropriateness of the approach to be used (25%). 
  • The strength of academic performance and relevant academic achievement, experience, and the quality of applicant’s career goal statement (20%).
  • The importance of the proposed research to the priority topics identified (25%). 
  • The research mentor’s demonstrated abilities in the general area of methodology and/or questions addressed by the proposal (10%).
  • The expected quality and strength of interaction that will be developed between the fellow and their research and community mentor(s) (10%). 
  • The degree to which the proposed activity will achieve beneficial, broader societally-relevant impacts. Societally-relevant outcomes that the Delta Science Program and California Sea Grant value include, but are not limited to the following: advanced diversity, equity, and inclusion in Delta science; curriculum enhancement and educator training at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science; enhanced equitability of public access to information and resources; increased partnerships between academia, communities, industry, and others; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education (10%). 

Selection Process
We anticipate awarding a total of approximately 5 fellowships for 2025. All applicants will likely be notified of the selection decision by November 2024.

Delta Stewardship Council and California Sea Grant shall award in the rank order based on the evaluation criteria above unless the proposal is justified to be selected out of rank order based on one or more of the following factors:

  1. Availability of funding.
  2. Balance/distribution of funds:
    1. Geographically
    2. By type of institution 
    3. By type of partners 
    4. By solicitation priorities 
    5. By project types
    6. By application education level
  3. Duplication of other projects funded or considered for funding by Delta Stewardship Council and California Sea Grant.
  4. Program priorities and policy factors.
  5. Applicant’s prior award performance.
  6. Partnerships with/participation of diverse groups, mentors and underrepresented communities.

For scientists proposing the collection of new samples or data: The proposer must provide documentation in the proposal project narrative that any permit(s) or permissions required for the collection of those data are (or will be) in hand by the start date of the project. Permits needed may include, but are not limited to, take permits for threatened or endangered species under the federal or State Endangered Species Acts, a geophysical survey permit from the California State Lands Commission if proposing the use of acoustic generating equipment in waters of the Delta, and ethical review for human subjects research (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations) by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). If applicable, please contact the IRB associated with your institution for more information. If no such permits are required, we ask that this be stated in the proposal text. Ensuring that all permits are properly obtained before research commences is the responsibility of the applicant. 

May 22, 2024 (10:30AM - 12:00PM PT) - RFA Informational Webinar
June 24, 2024 (5:00PM PT) - Notice of Intent form due
August 26, 2024 (5:00PM PT) - Applications due to California Sea Grant College Program via eSeaGrant online submission portal
November 2024 (approximate) - Applicants notified of selection results
Feb 2025 (approximate) – Start date: Funds awarded to the selected Delta Science Masters, Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellows
Jan 2027 (approximate) – 2-year fellowship awards end. 1-year fellowships will also be considered (ending Jan 2026).  

Please note that due to the constraints inherent to the funding source, no time extensions beyond dates specified in the award will be possible.

Application Process and Contents

Notice of Intent to Submit (NOI) 

NOIs are due by June 24, 2024, at 5pm PT.

Applicants are required to fill out an online form signifying their Notice of Intent to submit an application for this opportunity in order for their application to be accepted and reviewed. The NOI is not evaluated and is used to help connect applicants with community members as well as identify appropriate reviewers for the review process. For the NOI, applicants need to provide their names, contact information, tentative project title and description, research mentor name and affiliation, and community mentor(s) (if identified). Applicants should identify if they need help identifying a community mentor, and if so, provide sufficient information in their project description, including five keywords describing their proposed project, to help the Delta Science Program provide resources on finding a community mentor. Applicants also need to select whether they prefer their applications be reviewed by the social science panel, biophysical science panel or both. 

If you will need assistance in identifying community mentors, please fill out your Notice of Intent as soon as possible to provide The Delta Stewardship Council ample time in assisting you with resources.

Link to NOI Form

Full Proposal Electronic Submission 

Proposals are required to be submitted using eSeaGrant by 5:00pm PT on August 26, 2024 PDT: http://eseagrant2.ucsd.edu. Only applicants who submitted an NOI by June 24th will be eligible to submit a full application. The contact email provided by the applicant in the NOI form will be used to provide the applicant access to eSeaGrant. 

You will 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 start an application in eSeaGrant, or revisit/edit an existing application, click on “Current Tasks” in your eSeaGrant dashboard. To start a new application, click on “Add Fellowship Application” under “Fellowship Applications: “2025 Delta Science Fellowship”. If you have already started an application and wish to edit it, click on the hyperlink for that application instead.

In order to submit a proposal, you must work through sections in order (“Title Page” through “Submission Preview”) listed on the left side of the proposal window. eSeaGrant provides sections to upload required forms. 

We advise not to wait until the last minute to submit your application; when eSeaGrant experiences high user traffic, you may experience page loading delays. It is the applicant’s responsibility to get all required materials submitted before the deadline, and the submission deadline will not be extended.

For questions regarding use of eSeaGrant, please contact California Sea Grant Fellowship Programs Coordinator, Delanie Medina; email: sgproposal@ucsd.edu

Contents of a Complete Application
Listed below are the requirements for a complete application package. Please use this checklist to aid you in preparing the application. Note: Only applicants who submitted an NOI by the deadline will be eligible to submit a full application.

1) Title or Cover Page 
A signed title page must be included with the proposal. A blank copy downloadable in Excel format, labeled “DSF-2025.Cover-Page”, can be found on eSeaGrant. Please provide all requested information and obtain the required signatures. If you are applying from an academic institution, send your original proposal to your campus research office for local campus approval. The completed and signed title page must be converted to a PDF and uploaded. 

2) Project Summary (1-page limit, using 12-pt font and 1” margins)
The Project Summary is fillable on-line in eSeaGrant. Applicants will need to prepare separate, brief sections for objectives, methodology and rationale (referring to relevance to high priority Delta Science Actions) to complete the Project Summary form. The project summary presents a concise description of the proposed research in a form useful for a variety of purposes such as informational websites and outreach products. The project summary is the most widely consulted description of your project. 

3) Project Narrative
The Project Narrative will be a single PDF file including multiple components. The format may vary; however, applications should include the information listed below. The Proposed Research section (3a) of the Project Narrative file MUST not exceed 12 pages (INCLUDING illustrations, charts, tables, and figures, BUT NOT including literature citations). The other components of the Project Narrative listed below as 3b, 3c, and 3d do not count towards your 12-page limit. 

3a) Proposed Research (12-page limit, not including literature citations, using 12-pt font and 1” margins). 
The format is flexible but please address the following:

  1. Introduction/Question/Objectives: What is the question/problem being addressed? What are the goals and objectives of the proposed research? These should be well-defined and clearly stated.
  2. Approach/Plan of Work: What is the anticipated approach to the proposed research? The application should present evidence that there has been thoughtful consideration of the approach to the question(s) under study, with a timeline for meeting objectives during the requested period of support. Sufficient detail of the methodologies should be provided to facilitate an assessment of the adequacy of the approach to achieve the stated objectives.
  3. Benefits and Broader Impacts: What are the anticipated benefits of this fellowship to the fellow, research mentor, and community mentor(s)? What is the relevance of the research to Delta communities, policy, or management of the Delta? Discuss how the project team and proposed work will advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in Delta science and work to achieve other beneficial, broader societally-relevant impacts as described in selection criterion F.
  4. Anticipated Outputs and Products: What outputs and products can be expected after year 1, and after year 2? Please describe anticipated outputs/products per year.
  5. Literature Citations: Should be included but will not be counted toward the 12-page limit for the proposed research.

3b) Explain which overarching Management Need and specific Science Action within it are most related to the project and how the proposed work will address them. If applicable, discuss how the work relates to up to two additional Science Actions. Please be specific, as relevance to the 2022-2026 SAA is one of the criteria used to evaluate projects (1-page limit). 

3c) Personal Statement from the fellowship candidate that describes how this project fits into the fellow’s career plans and summarizes experiences that specifically prepared the applicant for this project. Please address how this project will promote interactions with your research and community mentors that will benefit your professional development (2-page limit). 

3d) CVs from the fellowship applicant, research mentor(s), and community mentor(s) (2-page limit for each CV). This does not count towards the Project Narrative 12-page limit.

4) Budget and Budget Justification 
Pay careful attention to the annual budget limits noted above (see section titled Fellowship Program – Award). Budget worksheets will need to be created in eSeaGrant. A budget workbook available to download in eSeaGrant (called DSF-2025.Budget) may help in planning your budget. However, please remember that your budget submission and justification must be completed using the online form in eSeaGrant. Do not submit the Excel file as your final budget. In eSeaGrant, the fellow’s stipend should be listed under “Section G-Other costs” and not under salaries and wages. Also, as applicable, indicate expected costs for expendable supplies, publication costs, and travel (please clearly identify any travel proposed outside of California or international travel). Fellows are required to include travel funds in their budget for the 3-day Early Career Leadership Workshop jointly-hosted by California Sea Grant and The Delta Stewardship Council in Sacramento. Delta Science Fellows will abide by their campus and/or the award travel policy, whichever is more strict.  This fellowship does not require matching funds so “Grantee Mos. Effort” and “Grantee Share” should be left blank. The funds for research-related costs and benefits are subject to a maximum indirect cost rate of 35%, in accordance with rates determined/set by the cooperative agreement between Delta Science Program and California Sea Grant. All budget sections will require justification. The budget justification should explain all budget items in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the research-related funds being requested. 

For any questions regarding your budget, please contact Chief Administrative Officer Christine Griffin at California Sea Grant at sgbudget@ucsd.edu.

5) Letters of Support
The fellowship application requires that letters of support be included from each community and research mentor. These should be collected, converted to a PDF, and uploaded to eSeaGrant. 

5a) Letter of support from prospective community mentor(s) (1-2 pages): A community mentor must be identified and contacted early in the project development phase and a letter of support from the community mentor(s) must be included. In the letter, the community mentor(s) should briefly address their plan for mentorship and professional development of the prospective fellow. For questions regarding community mentors, please contact California Sea Grant at sgproposal@ucsd.edu and/or indicate in the NOI that you would like assistance in identifying community mentors. 

5b) Letter of support from the research mentor: The application must include a letter from the research mentor indicating a willingness to be a mentor for the applicant and expressing support of the proposed research project (2-page limit). In the letter, the research mentor should briefly address their plan for mentorship and professional development of the prospective fellow. If the fellow is selected, a formal mentoring plan similar to the sample in Appendix A will be required within a month of starting the fellowship. 

6) Two letters of academic recommendation (in addition to the letters of support described above): It is the responsibility of the prospective fellow to arrange to have two letters of recommendation sent directly to Sea Grant by the application deadline. Referees should address the academic qualifications and performance of the candidate. A letter of academic recommendation can come from your research mentor; however, the content should address the candidate’s academic qualifications and not duplicate material from the letter of support committing to serve as a research mentor. Please identify the two referees that will be submitting a letter of academic recommendation in eSeaGrant. Letters should be sent via eSeaGrant using the link applicants will send to their referees.

IMPORTANT: To maintain confidentiality, letters of recommendation should be submitted directly from the referee to eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered. 

7) Copies of graduate and undergraduate transcripts (undergraduate transcripts are required from Ph.D. and master’s fellowship applicants only): Transcripts are required and should be uploaded as PDFs into eSeaGrant. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. 

Information Contact

Additional information about the fellowship or eSeaGrant may be obtained from:

Delanie Medina
Fellowship Programs Coordinator
California Sea Grant


Application Resources