Research Overview Monitoring Data Science Collaborative Science Collaborative Projects Davidson Fellowship

Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship

It's an exciting two-year fellowship program that provides the opportunity for graduate students to conduct collaborative research at one of the 29 national estuarine research reserves (Connecticut was not designated prior to the proposal process).

Through a research project, fellows address a key reserve management need to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges that may influence future policy and management strategies.

The research reserves represent the apex of estuary science. At these coastal sites, fieldwork, research, and community engagement come together to create the scientific advances that change our communities and our world.

Fellow assembling equipment on a boat in the ocean.

Specific fellowship benefits include the following:

  • The ability to develop meaningful cross-discipline research projects in conjunction with scientists, community leaders, and other organizations

  • Networking opportunities with the annual fellowship class, plus the other professionals across the reserve system, NOAA, and community partners

  • Professional development and mentoring in a variety of disciplines, including facilitation and communication. Fellows will also have quarterly career-readiness training

  • The development of research partnerships between universities and reserves

Fellow kneeling and smiling in marsh grass with water and shrubs in the background.

Pending congressional appropriations, NOAA anticipates an annual budget of up to $45,000 in direct costs for each fellow. Direct costs should support the fellows and their research and may include stipend, supplies, travel, and tuition.

For Applicants

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of U.S. states or territories admitted to or enrolled in a full-time graduate program at a U.S. accredited college or university, working to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree. Applicants must plan to be enrolled for all of the first year, and the majority of the second year, of funding.

When are applications due?

The Request for Applications will be posted through every odd-numbered year and includes all application instructions and requirements for the upcoming cohort. Please note that the prospective fellow’s institution of higher education is the applicant for the fellowship, so students are encouraged to work with their advisor and Office of Sponsored Programs, or equivalent, well in advance of the deadline in order to prepare the application package.


Summer 2023 Call for applications to address reserve management needs
December 2023 Applications due
Spring 2024 Recommended students notified
August 1, 2024 Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship begins

Meet the Fellows

Congratulations to the second cohort of Margaret A. Davidson Fellows! These students will work collaboratively with mentors, scientists, and the local communities on their identified projects over the next two years. Sign up for email updates and stay connected with the program by emailing

Hear from three of our fellows to learn more about their experiences.

Fellow on a boat carefully holding a small shark and preparing to put it back into the water.

For More Information

Margaret A. Davidson

About Margaret A. Davidson

This fellowship honors the legacy of NOAA’s Margaret A. Davidson. Margaret was a true visionary in the coastal management world, someone who saw the future with clarity and knew how to push for innovation and, frankly—shake things up. She defined excellence in many categories, always raising the bar with the goal of helping coastal communities thrive. This approach is what NOAA and the research reserves are striving to achieve with the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship program.

Another program in honor of Margaret, The Coastal Society’s Margaret A. Davidson Coastal Career Development workshop, is a one-day opportunity for students and early-career professionals.