John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship and Application Information

The 2019 National Sea Grant College Program John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship opportunity is CLOSED.

Please visit our website again during October - November of 2018 to look for the next competition information for January 2019 applications.


Texas Sea Grant held a webinar for tips on developing a competitive application on January 19, 2018. Please utilize the following webinar reference documents:

KnaussWebinarPowerpoint;  Former Fellow Goal Statement Examples;


The Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program was established by Congress in 1979 and is named in honor of one of Sea Grant’s founders, former NOAA Administrator John A. Knauss. The Fellowship offers a unique educational experience to graduate and professional students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The program matches the students with hosts in the legislative or executive branch of the federal government for a one-year paid fellowship (13 month award term) in the Washington, D.C. area.

Applications are due to Texas Sea Grant in February for the fellowships beginning in February of the following year. The final decision is made by a review panel convened by the National Sea Grant Office. While the number of fellowships offered varies with the availability of positions, Texas Sea Grant has had at least one accepted almost every year.

Fellows from Texas have served their fellowship year in legislative offices or at agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The majority have gone on to careers in federal agencies, higher education or non-governmental organizations related to coastal or marine resources or policies.

Please consult the Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement (FFO) # NOAA-OAR-SG-2019-2005447, which contains the guidelines/requirements for documents and content (summarized below), selection critera, as well as the review and selection process.


An eligible applicant is any student, regardless of citizenship, who, on February 21, 2018, is enrolled towards a degree in a graduate or professional program (may graduate any time therafter) and has an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions that affect those resources. The graduate degree needs to be awarded through a United States-accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories. Applicants from states not served by a Sea Grant program should obtain further information by contacting the Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship Program Manager at the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO). Other Criteria that Affect Eligibility: Foreign nationals please note, while this fellowship is open to all eligible students regardless of nationality, a significant number of participating Federal host offices are unable to accept foreign nationals as fellows in their offices. Non-US citizens are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa to allow them to work in the Washington, DC area during the fellowship period.

Length of Assignment

The length of assignment is one year (non-renewable). The inclusive dates of the award are February 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020; however, these dates can be slightly adjusted to accommodate academic semester needs. The award runs for 13 months with the 13th month for relocation only, (not intended for fellows to carry out host office activities or any other fellowship-salaried activities).

How to Apply

  • First, see Creating an Application - important for developing a strong application based on the evaluation criteria;
  • Additional resource for a successful application: Knauss Fellowship - Applications and Selection;
  • Additional Fellowship and application information can be found on the National Sea Grant website at this link: Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship website;
  • See what other Knauss Fellows say about their experiences during their Fellowship at the link: Texas Sea Grant Knauss Fellows Blog;
  • News Article: Sea Grant Knauss Fellows reflect on year-long marine policy experience From the Coast to the Capital;
  • Interested students may discuss this fellowship with their State Sea Grant Program or Project Director, by contacting the Texas Sea Grant Research Coordinator, Mia Zwolinski, at;
  • Students should submit an application consisting of one pdf file containing the 6 elements listed below to the Texas Sea Grant College Program by Friday, February 23, 2018 5:00 PM CST (no exceptions);
  • Submit to the Texas Sea Grant Research Coordinator, Mia Zwolinski at;
  • Do not complete the application file nor submit information directly into;
  • Texas Sea Grant - Texas A&M Sponsored Research Services will complete the application file and submit the selected applications via by 5:00 p.m. EST on April 6, 2018;
  • Up to six applicants may be selected by the Sea Grant Program according to criteria used by the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO), as detailed in the guidelines; plus up to an additional 6 from applicants from states not served by an eligible Sea Grant Program, but approved to apply through an eligible Sea Grant Program;
  • The competitive selection process and subsequent notification to the eligible Sea Grant Programs and notification to the applicants will be made in June, 2018.

Application Document Required - Submit ONE pdf file consisting of the following 6 elements in the following order:

  1. Maximum of two signed letters of recommendation, including one from the student's major professor; if no major professor exists, a faculty member who knows the applicant well academically, may be substituted. Letters beyond these two required, will not be accepted, such as letters of support from members of Congress, friends, relatives; (include letters in this file - do not send separately; those referees desiring confidentiality may send letters to;
  2. A Personal Education and Career Goal Statement emphasizing the applicant's abilities and the applicant's expectations from the Fellowship experience in the way of career development (1000 words or less; 12 pt font). Reviewers want to know how the student's abilities, education and career goals will benefit the Knauss Fellowship Program, as well as what the student expects to benefit from the experience of this Knauss Fellowship Program, as compared to other Fellowship Programs;
  3. Personal and Academic Curriculum Vitae (not to exceed two pages);
  4. Clear, scanned copy of all official undergraduate and graduate student transcripts;
  5. Listing of classes and/or plans for Spring 2018, Summer 2018 and Fall 2018 (not to exceed one page);
  6. For applicants from states not served by an eligible Sea Grant Program, but applying through an eligible Sea Grant Program: a written statement from the National Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program Manager referring the applicant to the most appropriate eligible Sea Grant Program must be included as part of that applicant's application package to the state Sea Grant Program.

All applicants will be evaluated on their application package according to the criteria items 1 - 6 listed above as per the Selection Criteria contained in the guidelines referenced above (detailed evaluation criteria pages 8 & 9 in FFO guidelines). Prior contacts / arrangements made with possible host offices before the start of placement week will be cause for immediate disqualification from the process.

Stipend and Expenses

The Sea Grant Program receives and administers the overall cooperative agreement of $61,500 per student on behalf of each Fellow selected from their program, with the option to add additional funds for fellowship-related travel, relocation and other expenses. Of the $61,500 awarded amount, the eligible Sea Grant Program or Project provides:

  • $47,500 to each Fellow for salary/stipend for the first twelve months; remaining balance after salary/stipend of $14,000 must first be used to support travel for the fellow to Placement Week (up to $2,500), then for expenses such as mandatory individual health insurance, relocation, academic tuition, and academic- and fellowship-related travel;
  • Unallowable Costs: Costs for equipment or supplies (including books) for the student's permanent use, costs for membership to professional societies, and Indirect Costs;
  • During the fellowship, successful applicants may be awarded additional funds for fellowship-related travel and other expenses without further competition (only Executive Fellow Placement Offices); and
  • The Fellow is responsible for managing the planned budget.

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship - Types of Placement:  Fellows can request placements in the Legislative or Executive branches. Of the approximately 60 Knauss fellowships awarded annually, 12 fellows are placed in Congress. The Knauss Legislative Fellowship: Why It Might Be Right For You - please see the video and factsheet produced by Maryland Sea Grant which provides information regarding the Legislative Placement: Factsheet and youtube video:

Reporting Requirements

Sea Grant Fellows will be administratively responsible to their sponsoring State Sea Grant Directors during their terms in Washington, D.C., but must be responsive to the administrative and technical direction from the Host to whom they report. The role of the Knauss Program Manager in the NSGO is one of ombudsman between the Fellow, the Host, the Sea Grant Programs and the sponsoring institution. The Fellow is responsible for managing the planned budget and submitting both the Knauss Fellow Professional Development Final Report and the Texas Sea Grant Final Report to the Texas Sea Grant Research Coordinator prior to the end of the fellowship, 2/28/2020. Link to the 2019 Knauss Fellowship Final Report template: 2019 Knauss Fellowship Final Report.

For more information about the John A. Knauss Fellowship application process, please contact Mia Zwolinski, Texas Sea Grant Research Coordinator, at or 979-458-0449.