Frequently Asked Questions About the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation
The Pew marine fellowship supports the work of mid-career scientists like Richard Sherley, who is exploring the relationship between forage fish extraction and population changes in the endangered African penguin.
Camille Le Guen

Editor’s note: This page was updated on June 3, 2024, and Sept. 19, 2023, to correct the number of fellows and countries represented; it was previously updated on March 25, 2022, to clarify the nomination process and eligibility details. 

The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation seeks to improve ocean health by generating high-quality research and fostering a global community of experts who collaborate to address pressing environmental challenges. The program provides fellowships to midcareer scientists and other experts from around the globe who have research experience, advanced degrees, strong records of achievement, and a commitment to bringing evidence to bear on conservation issues. Through the program, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported 208 professionals in 42 countries.

Q: How does the fellowship work?

A: Each Pew fellow is awarded a $150,000 grant, allocated over three years, to complete a research project that produces new data, knowledge, or methods to advance the protection and sustainable use of the world’s oceans.

Annual meetings and other events provide awardees with opportunities to exchange knowledge and collaborate with other fellows and program alumni. These activities support the development of strong professional networks and help Pew fellows strengthen their skills both in designing research to inform resource management and in connecting their work to conservation decision-making.

Q: How does Pew select marine fellows?

A: Application for the Pew marine fellowship is by invitation only; candidates must be nominated to apply.

Each year, Pew selects a group of experts in marine science and conservation to nominate outstanding individuals working on ocean conservation issues. The program then invites qualified nominees to submit an application outlining their credentials and proposing a three-year research project.

An independent international selection committee of experts with a range of geographic and subject matter knowledge evaluates the applications and recommends fellowship candidates. The review process is rigorous, and selection is highly competitive. 

Candidates are evaluated on their record of academic or professional achievement, leadership and problem-solving skills, interest in enhancing their work’s conservation impact, and—most critically—the strength of their project proposal.

Q: Who is eligible to become a Pew marine fellow?

A: Most Pew marine fellows are midcareer natural and social scientists from around the globe who have research experience, advanced degrees, strong records of achievement, and a commitment to bringing evidence to bear on conservation issues. However, the program also considers strong candidates from other scientific and technical professions, such as engineering, who have relevant credentials and experience.

Fellows are affiliated with a variety of entities, including universities, independent research institutions, and conservation organizations.

Individuals who are not eligible for the Pew marine fellowship include:

  • People whose primary work involves legal analysis or lobbying.
  • Journalists employed by a media company or outlet.
  • Residents of countries without diplomatic relations with the United States.
  • Residents of nations that are unable to conduct financial transactions with U.S. institutions.
  • Full-time doctoral students and people in postdoctoral positions. (However, part-time students who are midcareer and working in professional positions may be eligible.)

Individuals may be nominated multiple times but can be awarded the fellowship only once.

Q: What types of support do fellows receive?

A: In addition to project funding, fellows receive Pew staff members’ assistance in managing their grants. And Pew staffers help increase public awareness of fellows’ research through program outreach and communications.

Incoming fellows also receive training designed to enhance their skills in connecting research to conservation decision-making and outcomes. The handbook used as part of the program’s impact-focused training is available below as a free resource for fellows and others. This handbook is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share-Alike 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Download the handbook (PDF).

Q: Where can I learn more about the program?

A: Visit the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation project page and directory to read more about the program and award recipients, or email Pew staff at [email protected]

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