The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique, educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant’s founders and former NOAA Administrator John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one-year paid fellowship.

“The Knauss Fellowship is the best decision I have made in my career… It gave me the tools to make my technical science background more meaningful by teaching me to put my conservation science in the context of both politics and policy.”

-Erika Towle, 2016 Knauss Fellow placed with the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

Learn more about becoming a Knauss Fellow.

Quick Overview

Application Opens
Fall 2021
Information Session
TBD (Early January)
Application Closes
February 18, 2022
Selected Applicants Notified
Mid-Summer 2022

Meet 2021 Knauss Scholars

Wondering 'Weather' To Apply?

In 2019, Renee Richardson, a PhD. candidate at Florida State University, had doubts that her passion and research for meteorology would fit the Knauss marine policy mold. Now, in her 2020 Knauss fellowship placement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Program Office, Richardson is utilizing her subject matter expertise to advocate for weather-related priorities and assist in decision-making that mitigates impacts on coastal regions and beyond.

“I am surrounded by incredible research scientists from all sectors of meteorology, and I am constantly broadening my knowledge outside my specific area of expertise.”

Scholarship Eligibility and Selection

Eligibility Information

A student must be enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program at any point between the onset of the 2021 Fall Term (quarter, trimester, semester, etc.) and February 18, 2022. The student’s graduate degree program must be through an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories. Students are eligible regardless of nationality; domestic and international students at accredited U.S. institutions may apply; and applicants must have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Application Requirements

All applicants must follow the following steps to apply:

  1. Applicants must reach out to Florida Sea Grant at at least one to two months before the application deadline (February 18, 2022) to receive application support and to notify us that you intend to apply.
  2. Read the applicant resource documents to help you prepare your application: 2023 Knauss Fellowship Student Guide and Student Applicant Guide to Sea Grant Fellowships
  3. Touch up your C.V., draft your personal statement, gather transcripts, and ask for recommendation letters. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who have worked with the student are required, including at least one from a faculty member with knowledge of the student’s academic and research (when applicable) performance.
  4. Submit your materials to our eSeaGrant portal (link coming soon!). We will contact you to schedule an interview.

Selection of Finalists

Florida Sea Grant can each select up to six applicants to elevate to the National Sea Grant Office competition. The National Sea Grant Office holds a selection panel to determine Knauss finalists. Florida Sea Grant will notify selected finalists in mid- to late summer. After finalists are selected, a webinar will be held to describe the next steps, including the difference between executive and legislative placements. You will then be asked to write a 300 word or less justification for wanting to be placed in the executive or legislative class. The National Sea Grant Office will announce the split of the classes in late summer. There may be several other informational webinars to help you prepare for your fellowship year.

In October (executive fellows) or January (legislative fellows) finalists will participate in Placement Week. Placement Week is filled with interviews, networking with potential hosts, and then host position-fellow pairing. To learn more about the types of placements available through the fellowship program please review the list of potential 2021 executive and legislative Knauss positions. Please note, for most executive branch offices, selected fellows must pass a federal background check to gain security clearance. This includes answering questions about your previous citizenship, residence, education, employment, character references, selective service, military service, and illegal drug use. Please follow this link to an example of the form you will have to fill out.