MDSG State Science Policy Fellowships

Flooded road with a car driving down it.

Maryland Sea Grant (MDSG) is excited to announce a new, year-long State Science Policy Fellowship program partnering with state agencies and University System of Maryland (USM) leadership. This unique fellowship opportunity will place science Ph.D. or J.D. students or recent graduates in coastal sustainability, coastal management, and environmental policy positions within Maryland.

Modeled after the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, this program will increase graduates’ professional skills and provide critical experience working for state agencies at the science-policy interface. The Maryland Sea Grant State Science Policy Fellows will work closely with stage agency and legislative leadership to provide science expertise to develop policy relevant to Maryland’s progressive program to address state challenges in sustainability and action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is an exciting opportunity for students interested in applying their research experience and critical thinking skills to advancing science-based, environmental decision-making and policy development in Maryland.

Current host offices

Application period closed for 2021

Fellowship Experience

This is a full-time, one-year, non-renewable position with an intended start date in May 2021. During the fellowship year, MDSG will lead an orientation during which fellows will gain a deeper understanding of the goals and expectations of the fellowship, MDSG’s mission, their host institution’s role and goals, and Maryland government and legislative structure. Fellows will then be embedded in their host office and work with their mentor to understand their responsibilities and major projects and to develop their fellowship goals and a professional plan for the year.

Fellows will be offered professional development opportunities during the year to strengthen networking, build professional skills, and bring them together to discuss relevant issues across their respective organizations. Fellows will be part of a small cohort of MDSG supported fellows, including research, legal, and Knauss fellows. All MDSG fellows are expected to submit a professional development plan and final report.


Fellows will be contractual employees of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-MDSG receiving a base annualized salary of $40,000 plus access to fringe benefits including health care options. Some funding is available for professional development travel. Fellows are jointly supported by both MDSG and the host office.


Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy for a Ph.D. or recently completed a Ph.D. or J.D. are eligible to apply. For graduates, degrees must have been awarded May 1, 2020, or later to be eligible.

Applicants must be/have been students from an accredited graduate school in a field related to conservation, management, protection, stewardship, public policy, of marine, coastal, and/or watershed environments, or areas that impact those environments. J.D. applicants must be from an ABA-accredited school. Individuals from across the U.S. are welcome to apply, but some placements may be restricted to U.S. citizens or Maryland university graduates.

Maryland Sea Grant and the National Sea Grant College Program champion diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by recruiting, retaining, and preparing a diverse workforce, and proactively engaging and serving the diverse populations of coastal communities. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication, and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking. We encourage applicants of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types to apply for this opportunity.

2021 Timeline

  • Applications Due: February 2021
  • Interviews: Following application review
  • Selection: April 2021
  • Fellowship Period: One year from hire date (expected May 2021)

How to Apply

Step 1: Contact MDSG well before the application due date to indicate interest and address questions.

Step 2: Register for an account to prepare your application on MDSG's eSeaGrant application portal, Click "Add Fellowship Application" to navigate the system and create your fellowship application.

Step 3: You must complete your application using the eSeaGrant proposal portal. Complete the Applicant Information and Demographic Information tabs. Then upload a single PDF of the following application components in the Application Package Upload tab. The required pieces are:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV, not to exceed two pages).
  • Personal education and career goal statement emphasizing the applicant's abilities and the applicant's expectations of the fellowship experience in terms of their career development. The statement should be clear on what intrigued the applicant to apply for this position, discuss experiences of translating science to non-academic audiences, and convey how the student’s experiences within and beyond academia (e.g. critical thinking skills, writing experiences, talking and working with people from different backgrounds and experiences, intuition, cultural experiences) may have prepared them for this position. Strong writing and oral communication skills are important for these positions and we encourage applicants to speak to these skills and/or highlight them in the CV.
  • Clear digital or scanned copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts (unofficial are acceptable).

Finally, complete the Recommendation Request tab. Two letters of recommendation are required, including one from a faculty member with knowledge of the applicant’s academic and research (when applicable) performance. Provide each individual's name and contact information. An email will be sent to the individual requesting a letter be uploaded to the portal. We do not accept recommendation letters submitted or forwarded by the applicant.

Step 4: Submit your application to MDSG as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and until the USM position is filled. An application will not be considered until all components, including recommendation letters, are received. 

Step 5: Application evaluation will begin in February 2021.

Selection Process

We will seek to identify fellows who most closely identify with the mission of the host office and MDSG’s mission to support research, education, and outreach to advance understanding and sustainability of Maryland’s Chesapeake and coastal bays and watersheds. Qualified applicants will be selected to interview.

Application evaluation criteria include:

  • Quality of the career goals statement (45%)
  • Additional relevant experience related to diversity of education; extra-curricular activities; honors and awards; work and life experience; and interpersonal, written and oral communication skills (40%)
  • Academic Record (5%)
  • Recommendations (10%)

Maryland Sea Grant Contact

Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Director for Research and Administration
Maryland Sea Grant College
(301) 405-7500

Photograph credit: Lisa Tossey

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