Saturday, December 10, 2016

FAQ for NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship

1. How is the NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship different from the Knauss Fellowship?

The NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship provides 2-3 years of support for PhD students pursuing degrees related to either marine resource economics or population and ecosystem dynamics. The Knauss fellowship is a one-year fellowship in Washington, D.C. in marine policy for students who are nearing completion or recently completed their graduate degree program.

2. I would like to apply for the Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellowship. Is any specific coursework required?

Although the FFO does not require any specific coursework, examples of academic courses in the following areas are typically needed to pursue research and careers in population and ecosystem dynamics related to living marine resources: 1) Population dynamics; 2) Fish Ecology; 3) Multivariate statistics; 4) Sampling theory; 5) Fisheries or natural resource modeling; 6) Bayesian statistics; 7) Stock Assessment; 8) Risk and decision analysis; 9) Fisheries or natural resources computer programming. If your previous coursework does not include these types of courses, you may wish to address your future coursework plans in your education and career goal statement.

3. I would like to apply for the Marine Resource Economics Fellowship. Is any specific coursework required?

Although the FFO does not require any specific coursework, examples of academic courses in the following areas are typically needed to pursue research and careers in marine resource economics: 1) Applied Microeconomics; 2) Intro to Environmental Economics and/or environmental economics; 3) Intro to Natural Resource Economics and/or natural resource economics; 4) Econometrics; 5) Mathematical Applications in Economics or Mathematical Statistics for Economics; 6) Methods in Environmental and Resource Economics. If your previous coursework does not include these types of courses, you may wish to address your future coursework plans in your education and career goal statement.

4. What are some examples of research activities included under the umbrella of Population and Ecosystem Dynamics?

The fellowship covers both population and ecosystem dynamics to ensure support for fellows who conduct research in support of assessments of living marine resource stocks as well as conduct broadly-scoped ecosystem assessments, implement ecosystem-based management, and evaluate system-level considerations of living marine resources. As both ecosystem and population dynamics rely heavily on quantitative marine ecology methods and skills, the announcement reflects that underlying commonality. 

5. I would like to apply for the population and ecosystem dynamics fellowship but am conducting research on the population dynamics of fish species in the Great Lakes, can I still apply?

If your research pertains to advancing population and/or ecosystem dynamics methodologies (regardless of species and ecosystem), then you are eligible to apply. Please note, that you must have a NOAA Fisheries mentor to apply, and that the relevance of the project to NOAA Fisheries is an evaluation criterion.

6. My research combines population/ecosystem dynamics with marine resource economics. Which fellowship should I apply for – the Population and Ecosystem Dynamics or Marine Resource Economics Fellowship?

The best way to decide is to look at your course work in comparison to recommended course work requirements listed in questions (1) and (2). If your coursework is more in line with recommended economics course requirements, you are encouraged to apply under the marine resource economics funding opportunity. Likewise, if your coursework is more in line with recommended population and ecosystem dynamics course requirements, you are encouraged to apply under the population and ecosystem dynamics funding opportunity. It is also recommended that if because of your interdisciplinary focus your coursework is light with respect to the specific fellowship you are applying for that you address future course and training plans in your education and career goal statement. Ultimately, the research proposal and degree the student wishes to pursue should guide the application submission.

7. How can I identify and select a NMFS mentor?

The first step would be to go to www.nmfs.noaa.gov and select the Science Centers tab on the left. Search through the Centers websites to see if you can identify any research areas and researchers of interest. The NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Program Manager can also be a helpful reference and may be able to direct you to a point person for a specific Science Center of interest.

8. The Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellowship Federal Funding Announcement indicates that selected fellows are expected to spend 10-20 days at sea per year learning about sampling techniques and problems, commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, oceanography, trophodynamics, living marine resource biology, and local and regional issues of importance to living marine resource ecosystem-based management. What options do selected fellows have to complete this requirement?

This requirement can be completed through the student’s home institution, by volunteering on NOAA Fisheries surveys, and/or participating in fieldwork conducted by other institutions involved in living marine resource science and management. Students are also encouraged to contact their local Sea Grant Program to discuss other potential options for fulfilling this requirement.

9. Is there anything new in the NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship Federal Funding Opportunities (both Marine Resource Economics and Population and Ecosystem Dynamics)?

Yes. The 2015 FFOs require a short summary of academic training in quantitative methods pertinent to the respective FFO which you are applying. There should be an overall summary (max 5 sentences) of your academic training in quantitative methods, a listing of your top five classes, in quantitative methods already taken, and classes you intend to take over the spring 2015 semester. Class listings should include course name (though course number e.g., MA 551 can be excluded) and a short description of content covered in course (not to exceed 3 sentences per class.)

10. Can the letter of commitment from my prospective NMFS mentor also serve as one of the letters of recommendation?

The NMFS mentor’s letter of commitment is not counted towards the three- signed letters of recommendation. If you want your prospective NMFS mentor to provide a letter of recommendation it must be separate from the letter of commitment.

11. I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply for the SG-NMFS Graduate Research Fellowships?

You must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for the SG-NMFS Graduate Research Fellowships in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics. Foreign Nationals may not apply.

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