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West Coast Sea Grant Fellowship

Implementing the West Coast Regional Research and Information Report and Plan: A Collaborative Approach with the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health

Funding Opportunity Description

The four West Coast Sea Grant programs in Washington, Oregon, and California will sponsor four West Coast Sea Grant Fellows to collaboratively support implementation of common elements of the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health (WCGA) and the Sea Grant West Coast Regional Research and Information Needs Report. Each Fellow will be placed for two years in a state or federal agency that is directly involved in implementation of the WCGA Action Plan. The fellowship program is intended to enhance regional coordination and the implementation of the WCGA Action Plan.  Fellows will each form a plan for at least one of the regional research priorities established by the WCGA Executive Committee.  They will also provide assistance to and share their academic expertise with regional Action Coordination Teams regarding high priority research areas.


In September 2006, the three West Coast governors signed the WCGA, a groundbreaking agreement to coordinate ocean and coastal resource management efforts along the entire coast. An action plan to implement the agreement was released in July 2008, and Action Coordination Teams (ACTs) were established to provide region-wide planning and facilitation to implement the Action Plan agenda.   The WCGA Action Plan and descriptions of ACTs are available at

Sea Grant programs in Washington, Oregon, and California began working together in 2006 to identify and begin focusing resources on priority West Coast regional research and information needs to support marine science and ocean management on an ecosystem level. The resulting document, released in 2009, is based on over 5,000 comments from nearly 1,000 stakeholders and is accompanied by a publicly available database where each public comment is linked to research topics and locations.  The Report and database are available at


Any individual, regardless of citizenship, who is a student in good standing on May 1, 2010, in a marine-related graduate or professional program at a U.S.-accredited institution of higher education in California, Oregon or Washington. Preference will be given to students who will complete their graduate programs before the start date of the Fellowship and who have demonstrated skills and experience in marine or aquatic-related science or policy.

Length of Assignment

The assignment is two years in length, is not renewable, and will begin February 1, 2011 and end January 31, 2013.


The award amount is $37,500 annually for two years. The award will cover: 1) the costs of a monthly stipend for living expenses ($2,833/mo); 2) fellowship-related travel; 3) mandatory health insurance; and 4) other fellowship related activities. Host offices may also contribute funds for travel and fellowship activities as available. 

Required Application Components

  • Personal and academic curriculum vitae or résumé (not to exceed two pages using 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins).
  • A personal education and career goal statement that emphasizes the applicant's abilities and discusses the applicant’s goals with respect to the Fellowship and further career development (1000 words or less, 12 pt. font). Placement preference in a particular state may be stated, but is not required.
  • Two signed letters of recommendation, including one from the student's major professor.
  • Unofficial copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts.

Submission Information

Please upload an electronic copy of all application items. The electronic version of your application must be submitted as PDFs using the California Sea Grant submission link:

Please make sure to include your last name in the file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., Smith_goal.pdf or Smith_cv.pdf). Once submitted through the website, PDFs may not be edited. To change a PDF, it must be deleted and resubmitted.

Applicants much contact us at to obtain a password to use the website link BEFORE submitting any files.

IMPORTANT: To preserve confidentiality, letters of recommendations should be posted directly by the letter writers. Please share the login information you receive with your letter writers to enable them to post their letters.Letters of recommendations cannot be viewed, edited, or deleted by any applicant once posted.

For electronic files larger than 6 MB, contact to make other arrangements.
Please note the suggested name for your files after each item; no spaces or / in the filenames. It would be VERY helpful if you would follow this format.

Required Component Suggested File Name

Curriculum Vitae 


A personal education and career goal statement


Two letters of recommendation

3_LastName_RecLtr1.pdf and 3_LastName_RecLtr2.pdf

Copy of all official undergraduate and graduate student transcripts


Important Dates

Complete applications must be submitted using the online submission system by 5 p.m. PST on October 7, 2010. 

  • Finalists will be selected and all candidates will be notified the week of November 1, 2010.
  • Interviews with finalists will take place during the weeks of November 8 and November 15, 2010
  • Four Fellows will be selected and all finalists will be notified by December 1.
  • Fellows will participate in a placement workshop during the first half of December. The workshop will take place at a central location on the West Coast, and will include interviews with potential hosts.
  • Fellows will begin work on February 1, 2011.

Selection Process

A Selection Panel will identify six to eight finalists based on evaluation scores, but may consider other selection factors including academic discipline and expertise and geographic balance.

The eight-person Selection Panel will be comprised of a representative from each of the West Coast Sea Grant Programs and representatives named by the WCGA Executive Committee.  Each finalist will be interviewed by the Selection Panel. Finalists will be required to travel to the nearest Sea Grant office for the interview or participate by video conference. Of those interviewed, four Fellows will be selected to attend a placement workshop, based on their applications and interviews.

The Panel will evaluate each application based on the following weighted criteria: 

  • Personal and career goal statement (35%)
  • Letters of recommendation (20%)
  • Academic performance (15%)
  • Additional qualifications and relevant experience, including diversity of education, marine science or policy related experience, interpersonal and communication skills, honors and awards and extracurricular activities (30%)

Placement (subject to change)

The Fellows will be invited to participate in a workshop to match hosts with Fellows. Each of the selected hosts will send the Fellow’s prospective supervisor or mentor to the placement workshop. The workshop will include an orientation program, proposal presentations by project hosts, Fellow presentations, Fellow and host interviews, and Fellow matching. No contact between prospective hosts and Fellows should be made before the placement workshop. Of the four Fellows, at least one will be placed in each state in an office associated with the WCGA. Travel support for the Fellows to attend placement workshop will be provided by the West Coast Sea Grant programs.

Potential Hosts (subject to change)

The following are potential hosts and host locations for the four fellows.  Fellows may express interest in one of these locations, but decisions will occur at a placement workshop that will occur in early December.  Host offices will provide all the tools needed for the Fellow to complete his or her work including a computer workstation and access to phone, internet, and printers. Each Fellow will be assigned to a sponsoring Sea Grant program, which will administer the award and provide additional mentorship as needed. 

  • Washington Dept. of Ecology and Governor’s Office | Olympia, Washington
  • NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center | Seattle, Washington
  • Oregon Governor’s Office | Salem, Oregon
  • California Natural Resources Agency | Sacramento, California
  • US EPA Region 9 | San Francisco, California
  • California Ocean Protection Council + NOAA Coastal Services Center | Oakland, California
  • Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement | Camarillo, California

Overarching Fellowship Description

The four WCGA Sea Grant fellows will support the development of plans for regional research priorities and support the implementation of the work plans developed by the 10 Action Coordination Teams (ACTs) by integrating relevant research and information to contribute the best science available to ACT progress.

Essential job functions include the following:

  • Develop plans for addressing the top regional research questions and priorities established by the four West Coast Sea Grant Programs and the WCGA Executive Committee (in progress). This work will require compiling information on existing research in the region, examining major research gaps, and identifying focused scientific questions to address research gaps.  The four Sea Grant fellows will work together to create a common template and timeline for this work.
  • Assist with connecting ACTs to each other, with attention to specific ACTs based on the fellow’s assigned project area (see project descriptions below).
  • Assist ACTs and the WCGA Executive Committee with accessing, considering, and utilizing existing data, research, and information for accomplishing work plan tasks.
  • Communicate ACT progress with the WCGA Coordinator to effectively capture and track ACT accomplishments.
  • Coordinate with the Ocean Awareness and Literacy ACT to generate relevant outreach and enhance WCGA visibility.
  • Assist ACT Chairs and Points of Contact (POCs) with liaising between ACT members and the WCGA Executive Committee.

Sea Grant’s cross-cutting themes of climate change, ocean education and environmental literacy, and access to information and data align with WCGA priorities and Action Team objectives.  Fellows will incorporate these factors into their work and coordinate with each other, regardless of placement and specific project assignment (described below).

Specific Project Descriptions

The following six areas are topic-specific, ACT-related efforts that will be conducted at the host locations. Fellows may express interest in one of these specific projects but placement will not occur until the placement workshop in early December. Note that the Ocean Awareness and Literacy ACT is anticipated to connect to each of the other nine ACTs.

  1. Habitat and Ecosystem Health
    Connections: Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA), Climate Change, Seafloor Mapping, and Spartina Eradication ACTs; as well as Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and data coordination efforts
  2. Climate Change
    Connections: Climate Change, Sediment, Seafloor Mapping, and Spartina Eradication ACTs
  3. Water Quality
    Connections: Polluted Runoff, Marine Debris, IEA, and Spartina Eradication ACTs
  4. Fisheries
    Connections:  IEA and Sustainable Coastal Communities ACTs
  5. Vitality of Coastal Communities
    Connections: Sustainable Coastal Communities, Marine Debris, and Sediment ACTs
  6. Emerging Issues
    Connections: Renewable Ocean Energy, Seafloor Mapping, and Sustainable Coastal Communities ACTs; as well as issues such as Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and Aquaculture

Reporting Requirements

Fellows will work under the administrative and technical direction of the host supervisor/mentor, and will also be responsible for quarterly and annual reporting to the sponsoring Sea Grant program. Further guidance will be provided when the fellowships commence.

For Further Information

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact one of the Sea Grant programs with questions. 


Nancy Reichley
Washington Sea Grant
University of Washington
3716 Brooklyn Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98105
P: 206.685.8302

Eric Dickey
Oregon Sea Grant
Oregon State University
322 Kerr Admin. Bldg.
Corvallis, OR 97331
P: 541.737.2715

Phyllis Grifman
USC Sea Grant
University of Southern California
University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
P: 213.740.1963

Shauna Oh
California Sea Grant
University of California
9500 Gilman Drive Dept 0232
La Jolla, CA 92093-0232
P: 858.534.4440