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 will place one graduate student at each 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 of 29, 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. Direct costs should support the fellows and their research and may include stipend, supplies, travel, and tuition.


Eligible 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.

Current 2020-2022 Cohort

Congratulations to the first cohort of Margaret A. Davidson Fellows! These students are working 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 current fellows to learn more about their experiences so far.

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

2022-2024 Cohort


June 2021 Call for applications to address reserve management needs
December 10, 2021 Applications due
April 2022 Recommended students notified
August 1, 2022 Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship begins

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.