Competitive Graduate Research Fellowship


Wye Island at Sunrise


Maryland Sea Grant (MDSG) is pleased to announce the Maryland Sea Grant Competitive Graduate Research Fellowship. Students apply for a two-year Maryland Sea Grant fellowship that provides stipend, fringe benefits, a tuition remission allowance, and a travel allowance. To be eligible, graduate students must be enrolled in a graduate degree program at a Maryland or Washington, DC academic institution and engaged in research that is relevant to Maryland and the MDSG Strategic Plan 2024-2027. In addition to financial support, these opportunities will provide additional professional development opportunities in science communication, the science-to-management process, and/or other relevant skills. 

Applications due March 28, 2024 at 5 PM

Download the RFA

Full official announcement can be found here.


Students must be enrolled in or admitted to a full-time graduate or professional degree program at a Maryland or Washington, DC academic institution. Students who have not yet enrolled should submit a letter of acceptance from the dean of the graduate program at their new institution with their application package. Students may be working toward any masters or Ph.D. degree, as long as their research is relevant to the mission and strategic plan of MDSG and has an emphasis on Chesapeake or coastal bays and their watersheds.

Award Information

The two year fellowships will provide a stipend ($34,000), fringe benefits, tuition remission, and a $2,000 travel allowance for the fellow. Fellows will be paid as graduate research assistants by Maryland Sea Grant, a University System of Maryland institution, following the same model and terms as our Maryland Sea Grant Research Fellowships program. Continued support after the first year will be contingent upon satisfactory performance by the Fellow and the availability of federal funds. The anticipated start date is the fall semester 2024.

If your institution requires paying graduate students through its own payroll system, Maryland Sea Grant will provide an institutional award to cover only the $34,000 stipend, fringe benefits, partial tuition remission, and travel allowance up to a total of $55,000 per year. However, additional matching funds contribution may need to be negotiated with the institution to meet the 50% matching requirement above the first $25,000 of the subaward. Typically, these awards would need to be made to the faculty advisor of the student. We will negotiate this arrangement with the institution of the selected students. No budget is required at the application stage.


Graduate student fellows who are selected will be required to:

  • Select and work with a professional mentor who is an extension, education, or communication staff person or an end-user of research results (e.g., state or federal agency professional, K-12 teacher, industry partner) to ensure that results are communicated and translated to end-users;
  • Provide annual and final progress reports to MDSG, as well as electronic copies of derived publications and their thesis or dissertation;
  • Participate in MDSG-sponsored professional development activities, anticipated to be 1-3 activities;
  • Contribute one entry per semester to the MDSG student blog, Fellowship Experiences;
  • Acknowledge MDSG support in all relevant scientific presentations and publications.

At a minimum, the fellow is required to meet with their professional mentor periodically (no less than three times/year) to reflect upon their research design, activities, and plans. They should provide guidance on issues associated with communicating the information to non-experts, advancing the information to managers or policy makers, promoting adoption of the innovation or technology, or other application of results. In some situations, professional mentors may serve on a student’s academic committee. The exact role of the mentor is determined and defined by the applicants, in conjunction with their primary advisor. This mentor’s role in the student’s education should be discussed in the project narrative.

A professional mentor could be from the public, private, or non-profit sector. While we encourage students to explore opportunities to work with Maryland Sea Grant educators, communicators, or Extension faculty within the University of Maryland Extension program as outreach mentors, it is not required. They should be individuals in a professional situation that requires the application of scientific information and research—particularly the information, data, and findings coming from the applicant’s research project—to a pressing management or policy decision. Ideally, the mentor would directly involve the student in policy discussions and development on an issue closely tied to the student’s research. The mentor should not be an academic scientist. Maryland Sea Grant can assist prospective fellows in identifying potential mentors during the application period.

How to Apply

Full application guidelines and submission requirements can be found in the official request for applications. You must submit your proposal online at Login to the proposal online submission system with your credentials. Fill out the registration information to create an account, if necessary. You must complete several steps, including completing an applicant information table, uploading a project description file, and requesting two letters of recommendation. The project description file must include:

  1. Cover Sheet
  2. Career and Research Interest Statement (1-page maximum)
  3. Project Description (5-page maximum), including Abstract, Introduction / Background / Objectives, General Approach and Methods, Anticipated Results, Broader Impacts
  4. Literature Cited
  5. Timeline and Tasks (1-page maximum)
  6. Academic CV/Biosketch (2-page maximum)
  7. Data Management Plan
  8. Proof of acceptance and enrollment (letter or transcript)

Font size can be no smaller than 12 point (Arial preferred) and margins must be 1 inch on standard 8.5x11 inch paper throughout the document. Note that no budget is required for this fellowship application.

Applications must be submitted online by March 28, 2024 at 5:00 PM to MDSG’s proposal system, eSeaGrant. The submission system closes promptly and MDSG will not accept late proposals, so allow ample time to submit your proposal before the deadline. 


Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Director for Research and Administration
Maryland Sea Grant College
5825 University Research Court, Suite 1350
College Park, MD 20740
(301) 405-7500

Photograph, Nicole Lehming, Maryland Sea Grant

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