RFRC Graduate Student Fellowship Awards


Due date: January 28, 2022


The Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center (RFRC) was founded in 1994 by Elmer E. Rasmuson 
with an endowment to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). A second major endowment in 
support of the Center was created through a bequest from Mr. Rasmuson’s estate in 2001. The 
endowments are managed by the University of Alaska Foundation, and interest on the principal 
is used to support CFOS graduate student research that contributes toward the scientific or 
applied knowledge base of Alaska’s marine waters and resources. Seven graduate students were 
funded for the 2021-2022 academic year on Rasmuson Fellowships. The fellowship awards up 
to $35,000 (tuition, fees, and insurance is included in the award amount). The RFRC board has 
the discretion to change the amount of awards depending on endowment earnings. More details 
on the RFRC can be found on the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences website at: 

Research Subject Areas for Proposals

Proposals should address one of 6 target areas:

  1. Ecology, biology, distribution and systematics of species of fish and shellfish affected by 
    fisheries, both target and nontarget species;
  2. Responses of fish and shellfish and of stocks of fish and shellfish to variations of physical 
    and biotic conditions;
  3. Genetic structure of Alaskan fish and shellfish populations;
  4. Fluctuations of fish and shellfish stocks, interactions of forage species with consumers 
    including mammals and birds, and the ecosystems in which they occur; 
  5. Development of the shellfish aquaculture industry in Alaska; or
  6. Human dimensions of fishery systems. 

See RFRC Research Goals for more information.

Because other programs are providing significant resources for salmon studies, funding from the center will probably focus on other species. While the board accepts proposals related to any of the research subject areas, it is especially interested in seeing proposals on applied topics aligned with the 2019–2023 research priorities and needs of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council [PDF].

Award Criteria and Guidelines

  1. Awards will be made to support excellence in graduate student research. The award is not a Research Assistantship, but a Fellowship in recognition of scholastic excellence. Awards are open to any full-time or prospective CFOS graduate student.
  2. Research should produce findings with a potential for continued development as a scientific or applied initiative.
  3. Projects should be distinctive and make an original contribution to existing knowledge.
  4. Projects should have potential economic value to the fishing industry and contribute to long-term benefits for Alaska.
  5. Awards may be contingent on receipt of research funding from other sources. The award cannot be used for research expenses. See item #6, "Current and Pending,” under "Format of Proposals" below.
  6. Proposals should be submitted by the graduate student with faculty advisor endorsement as described below.
  7. Awards are renewable. Master’s students can be funded for a maximum of two (2) years and Ph.D. students for a maximum of three (3) years. Continuation requests require a satisfactory progress report.

Format of Proposals

Proposals should be submitted in electronic format (Adobe PDF preferred), should contain the following sections, and are limited to three or four pages. Supporting documentation should be provided electronically or in hard copy if necessary.

  1. Objective.
  2. Background and need.
  3. Prior achievements. In cases where the project is ongoing and has had other support, please list achievements of the project, or if appropriate, achievements of related projects of the graduate student and his/her professor.
  4. Milestones. Anticipated goals for this research for the coming year should be given. Provide an estimate of approximate number of months required for each goal. Estimate when the project will be completed.
  5. Budget. Rasmuson Fellowships are annual awards (July 2021–June 2022) that provide a student stipend and tuition to recipients. The fellowship amount is based on the degree sought, the number of years completed, and whether the student has advanced to candidacy. Occasionally, a fellowship will be awarded for only one semester (fellowship will be prorated to reflect the time fellowship is awarded). Please provide the information on funding needs for the student as follows: State the proposed start and ending dates, the degree sought, the number of years completed, and whether the student has advanced to candidacy. In addition, please provide how many credits of tuition are needed (six to nine credits). Maximum award allowed is $35,000. (The RFRC board has the discretion to change the amount of awards depending on endowment earnings.) The fellowship award credits tuition, fees, and insurance first, and the remaining balance is awarded as a monthly fellowship payment. Income taxes are not deducted from the fellowships; students receiving the fellowship must plan accordingly. (We recommend saving 10–15% for taxes.)
  6. Current and pending funding. Since research costs cannot be funded within this award, please state how research costs will be met. The proposal should indicate how funding for the research (other than the Rasmuson Fellowship) will be obtained for the student to complete the work described. If student funding has been requested and is pending for a research assistantship from another funding source (e.g., North Pacific Research Board, National Science Foundation, etc.), this should be stated in this section, including the organization to which the proposal has been made and the expected decision date. If no other potential source of assistantship funding is pending, please state “No other student funding has been applied for from other sources” in this section of the proposal. If the student has current funding, that also needs to be listed with the stipulation that “double funding” is not allowed. That is, the student cannot hold this award and another award for salary at the same time.
  7. Transcripts. Students must submit a copy of their undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Transcripts can be unofficial copies.
  8. Faculty advisor endorsement. Each student proposal should be supported by an endorsement from the student’s faculty advisor. The faculty advisor should send an endorsement by email to Christina Sutton at clsutton3@alaska.edu.

Deadline and Submission Process

Proposals should be received by 5:00 p.m. on January 28, 2022. Proposals will be reviewed 
around the end of April, and awards announced by May 30. Funding will be available on July 6, 

New Proposals

New proposals should be submitted by graduate students directly by email to clsutton3@alaska.edu.

Continuation Requests

Requests for continuation of funding by current Rasmuson Fellows require only a four-page progress report that should be sent by email by January 22, 2021, to clsutton3@alaska.edu. The report title page should include proposed start and end date, the degree sought, whether the student has advanced to candidacy, and estimated degree completion date.