Call for Host Applications: State Fellowship Program 2023

Funding Category
Application Deadline
Class of 2018 State Fellows

Interested in becoming a Host Office?

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

Timeline Highlights: 

Host applications due: June 17, 2022 9AM
Final host budget commitments due July 11
Fellowship applications due: July 20
Finalist presentations:September 20-21
Host presentations: September 27-29
SAVE THE DATE Virtual matching workshop: October 11-13 (see full schedule below)

Program Description

The California Sea Grant State Fellowship 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, 281 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 at a full-time equivalent, 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.  

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.

Extension Project Opportunity 

Starting in 2020, California Sea Grant State Fellows have participated in Extension Projects with California Sea Grant Extension Specialists. These projects are meant to be collaborative opportunities offered to enhance the fellowship experience. Over the course of the twelve-month fellowship, there will also be an opportunity for the state fellow to engage 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 a joint meeting 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. California Sea Grant will encourage fellow participation in Extension Projects, but these are not mandatory for a fellow. 

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. 

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 for 2023) 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 (10% of Direct Costs for 2023) = $5,398 
  3. Indirect Cost Rate = Varies by Prime Funding Source 

Future Budget Considerations 

For 2024 fellowships costs will be increased as follows: stipend $51,000, health insurance $3,300, and travel $2,500, for a total direct annual cost of $56,800 for a fellowship. Beginning in 2024, California Sea Grant plans to increase the fellowship stipend and health insurance costs by 1.5% each year, which will subsequently increase direct costs per fellowship award. Additionally, starting in 2024 administrative support costs will be increased to 12% of the full direct cost per fellow.

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 2023.  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 at California Sea Grant's discretion.

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 2023 (January to March). 

Start Date

To ease logistical burdens and prevent delays for stipend payments,  2023 fellows are strongly encouraged to start the first 10 days of the month either in January, February, or March 2023; with the exact start date negotiable between an individual host and fellow.

Host Application

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.Fiscal point(s) of contact for California Sea Grant. Please note if same as fellowship supervisor(s)
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.Statement of proposed financial contribution.
a.The statement should include the total dollar amount of proposed financial commitment, as well as the source of proposed funding. For example, federal, state, private, NGO, etc.
b.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) and/or extensions.
i. California Sea Grant reserves the right to determine a host. For example, host agencies with multiple departments, districts, divisions, offices, etc. will be viewed as 1 host by California Sea Grant.

Please submit the above information as a single word doc to by June 17, 2022 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 June 17, 2022 deadline. However, final budget commitment letters are due by July 11, 2022.

Host Selection

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 evaluate host applications against the above criteria, priorities of the State Fellowship Program, and California Sea Grant's administrative and financial capacity to determine final host fellowship opportunities.

California Sea Grant has the right to decline host applications. Selected hosts will be contacted by California Sea Grant staff by June 23 (approximately).

Virtual Matching Process

Once a host organization has been selected by California Sea Grant to participate in the State Fellowship Program, there are several items that will be required by hosts to submit: 

  1. “Get to Know You” video 
  2. Host Presentation Availability
  3. Matching Workshop Interview Availability 

‘Get to Know You’ Videos

Each host will record a short video with the goal of demonstrating the personality and character of the host offices and mentors. The goal is to help provide common ground for discussion as well as stand in the place of the traditional networking events. These videos will be available to finalists prior to and during the matching workshop. California Sea Grant will provide general prompts to each host to record a short, ~5 min video for each host. Along with the prompts, we encourage hosts to bring a bit of their own personality to the videos. Think creatively, you may want (but don't feel pressured) to bring a pet (furry, slimy or flappy), a piece of art, a cool background, a song, a special skill, etc. While these videos are meant to be casual and fun, we ask that you remain professional. For hosts with multiple staff personnel, please aim for concise responses as these videos are meant to be brief. We also ask you to consider who will be participating, as it may be beneficial to have only one or two folks participate (i.e. those who will be the main fellowship mentor(s) or those who will be directly interacting with the fellow). More information on these videos will be provided once hosts are selected.

Host Presentation Availability

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 between September 27-29. Once a host organization has been selected by California Sea Grant to participate in the State Fellowship Program they will be contacted to schedule their presentation. 

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 20-21. 

Matching Workshop Availability 

Given the continued uncertainty and out of an abundance of caution, the matching workshop for 2023 State Fellows will also be 100% virtual. Selected hosts will be guided through a matching process with fellowship finalists at a mandatory virtual matching workshop. Based on feedback from current and past fellows and host agencies, we have modified aspects of the schedule. Once a host organization has been selected by California Sea Grant to participate in the State Fellowship Program they will be contacted to submit their interview schedule availability for the matching workshop. Each host must have a minimum of 12 interview slots open during the matching workshop window. However, each host can determine for themselves the maximum number of interviews and corresponding time slots they will be available for. The virtual matching workshop will take place over October 11-13, 2022.

A full detailed virtual matching workshop schedule will be finalized in the near future. An outline of the schedule can be found here. 

Interview Scheduling

Utilizing the interview availability submitted by hosts, California Sea Grant will work with finalists in a  round robin series for finalists to select their own interview schedules. Each finalist will be required to select a minimum of 10 interviews. The round robin activity will result in each finalist and each host having their own schedule sheet. California Sea Grant will send each host their schedule sheet. Each host will then provide their own calendar invite for each interview to the appropriate finalist and include a link to a virtual conference platform for holding interviews. 


The matching workshop interviews will take place over the course of the 2.5 days (October 11-13) based on each host’s and finalist’s respective schedule. After the interviews take place, each finalist will submit their top 5 hosts to California Sea Grant in an unranked list. 

Office Hours

During the final day of the interviews, October 13, each host will set up and hold a one hour block of office hours between 4-6pm. These one hour blocks are informal and unstructured to allow all finalists access for additional questions and discussion with any host. Immediately following the office hours, California Sea Grant will send each host a list of finalists that included that host in their top 5.

Follow Ups

Hosts submit by Friday October 14 at 11am to California Sea Grant a list of no more than 5 finalists they wish to follow up with on Monday October 17 from 12-3pm. California Sea Grant will send each host their schedule for follow ups. Each host will then provide their own calendar invite to the appropriate finalist and include a link to a virtual conference platform for holding follow up conversations. These short, 15 min discussions should not be structured or utilized as an additional interview. They should not be used as an opportunity to discuss ranking (i.e. offering your rank or asking about the rank of someone else). More details and guidance will be shared with selected hosts and invited finalists.


Both hosts and finalists will submit a numerically ranked list by 6pm on Monday October 14. California Sea Grant will use a matching algorithm to match each host and finalist

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.


April: Host applications opened
May: Request for fellowship applications opened
June 17 9AM: Host applications due
June 23 (approximate): Accepted host agencies notified; tentative host positions posted on California Sea Grant website. Accepted hosts are sent additional information on ‘Get to Know You’ videos, host presentation availability, and matching workshop interview availability. 
June 29 12-1:30: State Fellow Informational Webinar
July 11: Deadline for host budget commitment letters
July 14 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website
July 20 5PM: Fellowship applications due
July 25-August 26 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists 
August 1: Host ‘Get to Know You’ videos, Host presentation availability, and matching workshop interview availability due.
August 29 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts
September 7: California Sea Grant informational session for invited finalists
September 20-21: Finalist presentations 
September 27-29: Host presentations
October 4, 1-4:30pm: (Finalists only) Interview scheduling round robin and welcome reception 
October 5-6: California Sea Grant and Hosts finalize and distribute interview schedule
October 11-13: MANDATORY virtual matching workshop.  An outline of the schedule can be found here.
     October 11-13: Interviews
     October 13, 4-6pm Host Office Hours
     Full schedule details will be shared. 
October 17, 12-3pm Follow Ups
October 17, 6pm Rankings Due
October 20 (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
January 2023- March 2023: Fellowships begin



Nick Sadrpour
Program Coordinator
Budget Questions
(858) 534-4442