John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship and Application Information

The 2022 National Sea Grant College Program John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship opportunity is now open.
Applications are due February 19, 2021 to the State Sea Grant Program.

Visit the NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program website for more information.

Please watch the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program 101 Webinar, recorded on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, for an overview of the program, career spotlights, and a Q&A session with Knauss alumni. (PDF of the Knauss 101 Webinar available)


Review the Texas Sea Grant webinar recording below for tips on developing a competitive application. 

Review the Knauss Webinar Powerpoint presentation file.

Review the Fall 2020 John A. Knauss Policy Fellowship Program Factsheet.

Review the Former Fellow Goal Statement Examples document.


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 NASA. The majority have gone on to careers in federal agencies, higher education institutions, or non-governmental organizations related to coastal or marine resources or policies.

Please consult the Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement (FFO) # NOAA-OAR-SG-2022-2006631, which contains the guidelines/requirements for documents and content (summarized below), selection criteria, as well as the review and selection process.


An eligible applicant is any student, regardless of citizenship, who, at any point between the onset of the 2020 Fall Term (quarter, trimester, semester, etc.) and February 19, 2021, is enrolled towards a degree in a graduate or professional program (may graduate any time thereafter) 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:

  • The one-year fellowship will take place in the National Capital region. Applicants must be prepared to relocate to the Washington, D.C. area. Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa to allow them to work in the Washington, D.C. area during the fellowship period.

  • 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. This may reduce the number of placement opportunities available to foreign nationals. Note: Foreign nationals are eligible for both the Executive and Legislative cohort.

  • Applicants must be able to pass a federal background security check.

  • Prior contact/arrangements made with possible host offices before the start of the placement week will be cause for immediate disqualification from the process.

  • Applicants that have been accepted as National Finalists and/or become fellows are not eligible to apply again without the written permission of the NSGO Fellowships Manager, which will only be granted in response to exceptional life events. A National Finalists is defined as an applicant who goes through the review process and is selected at the national level for the fellowship program. Applicants are considered finalists until they are placed into a host office during the placement process.

The National Sea Grant College program values diversity, equity, and inclusion in both our organization and the communities we serve. Through the NMFS-SG Fellowship we strive to provide an educational and employment opportunity for current and recent graduate students interested in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and the national policy decisions affecting those resources, regardless of race, color, religion, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, disability or veteran status. 

Length of Assignment

The fellowship is a 12-month non-renewable term. The inclusive dates of the award are February 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023; 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).

Before Applying

How to Submit an Application

Students should submit applications to a State Sea Grant Program Office and not submit information directly into

  • Applications will be submitted by the applicant online via the eSeaGrant proposal system. All components of your application, including letters of recommendation, will be submitted through eSeaGrant. Upon submission, the applicant will receive a confirmation email. Instructions on how to register and start an application in eSeaGrant will be posted by early February 2021. It is recommended to contact your letter writers early during January. It is not necessary to contact the Director of Texas Sea Grant for the Director Letter of Support; this letter is not required at the application stage.

  • Applications are due by February 19, 2021 5:00 PM CST (no exceptions); the eSeaGrant system will automatically close.

  • All six elements of the application must be completed by the student and submitted in one combined PDF document in the exact required order as noted in the FFO guidelines and as listed below.

  • Texas Sea Grant will complete the sub-elements of the Director Letter of Recommendation and other SF Federal forms.

  • Texas A&M Sponsored Research Services will complete the application file and submit the selected applications via by  5:00 p.m. CST on April 2, 2021.


Application Elements Required

Submit ONE pdf file consisting of the following six elements in the following order:

1. Personal and Academic Curriculum Vitae
Not to exceed two pages. The student should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g., LinkedIn, articles, blogs, etc.).


2. A Personal Education and Career Goal Statement
The statement should emphasize the applicant's abilities and expectations from the fellowship experience in terms of their 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 the Knauss Fellowship Program, as compared to other fellowship programs. The student should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g., LinkedIn, articles, blogs, etc.). If included, programs should redact prior to submission. 


3. Two letters of recommendation
Two letters of recommendation, including one from a faculty member with knowledge of the applicant’s academic and research (when applicable) performance. Letters of endorsement from members of Congress, friends, or relatives will not be accepted. The letters should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g. LinkedIn, articles, blogs). 

Any letters beyond the two letters of recommendation and the State Sea Grant Program Director Letter, will be disregarded by the selection panel.

Note, the letters will be submitted via eSeaGrant through a reference request form that you will complete. The referee's letter will be submitted confidentially back Into the eSeaGrant system. Texas Sea Grant will compile that portion of the proposal on your behalf. 


4. All undergraduate and graduate student transcripts
Must be a clear, scanned copy. Transcripts are not required to be official; unofficial are acceptable.


5. Future year activities including a listing of classes and/or plans for Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021

Not to exceed one page.

6. Written statement from the National Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program Manager

For applicants from states not served by an eligible Sea Grant Program, but applying through an eligible Sea Grant Program. The statement should refer 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.

Evaluation Criteria and Other Information

  • All applicants will be evaluated on their application package according to the application content; Evaluation Criteria used by the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO) may be found in the FFO guidelines, (pages 12-13)

  • Up to six applicants may be selected by the Sea Grant Program, plus up to an additional six from states not served by an eligible Sea Grant Program, but approved to apply through an eligible Sea Grant Program

  • Prior contacts / arrangements made with possible host offices before the start of placement week will be cause for immediate disqualification from the process

  • The competitive selection process and subsequent notification to the eligible Sea Grant Programs and notification to the applicants will be made in June 2021.

Stipend and Expenses

The Sea Grant Program receives and administers the overall cooperative agreement of up to $84,000 per student on behalf of each fellow selected from their program, with the option to add additional funds if allowed by the host office with which the selected applicant is placed.

  • Application packages will propose a total of $84,000 in funding; this includes base funding for each award of $66,500 with optional  travel up to an additional $17,500.

  • $61,500 is to be used by the eligible Sea Grant Program to cover the fellow's salary/stipend for the 12 months of the fellowship. $5,000 is available for Professional Development costs. Allowable expenses could include, but is not limited to, relocation prior to the fellowship, academic tuition, journal publication fees, academic- and fellowship-related travel, conference fees, online trainings and workshops.

  • Applications should also include travel costs totaling $17,500, of which $15,000 will be budgeted for optional host office related travel and training (if the host office approves), and $2,500 will be budgeted for optional placement week expenses, which would be provided at the discretion of the National Sea Grant Office.

  • Unallowable Costs: Costs for equipment or supplies (including books) for the student's permanent use, costs for membership to professional societies, and indirect costs.

  • The fellow is responsible for managing the planned budget.

Types of Placements

Fellows placements may be in the legislative or executive branches. The National Sea Grant College Program anticipates funding not less than 35 applicants, of which approximately 17 will be assigned to the Legislative branch.

See the video and factsheet "The Knauss Legislative Fellowship: Why It Might Be Right For You" (produced by Maryland Sea Grant), which provides information regarding the legislative placement.

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 for reporting progress. 


  • Project progress reports are due on a semi-annual basis. Sea Grant programs must submit all reports to the NOAA Grants Office via Grants Online.

    • Fellows must submit via email (note access to eSeaGrant) a mid-year and a final performance report (summary of accomplishments and activities) to their Sea Grant program.

        • Fellows must submit their mid-year report to their home Sea Grant program no later than six months from the start of the fellowship (July 31, 2022).
        • Fellows must submit their final report to their home Sea Grant program by the last day of the fellowship (Jan. 31, 2023).
        • Fellows submit reports to Texas Sea Grant by means of the Texas Sea Grant Reporting System, eSeaGrant. Information for reporting in eSeaGrant may be accessed by emailing Inquire by May 15, 2022 for access.

  • The Sea Grant program must then submit the mid-year progress to the NOAA Grants Office no later than 30 days following the end of the first six-month period from the start date of the original award (Aug. 31, 2022).

  • The Sea Grant program must submit a comprehensive final project progress report to the NOAA Grants Office within 90 days after the award expiration date (May 31, 2023). The final project progress report will include the last interim reporting period.

  • All performance reports must use the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) format.
Mia Zwolinski

For More Information:

Mia Zwolinski

Assistant Director, Research and Fiscal Administration

(979) 458-0449