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Diverse Knowledge Systems for Climate Adaptation Fellowship

The Diverse Knowledge Systems in Climate Adaptation Fellowship supports graduate students as they use their diverse experiences, viewpoints, value systems, and cultural knowledge to strengthen their climate adaptation efforts.

Current Opportunities

Applications for the 2022 Diverse Knowledge Systems for Climate Adaptation Fellowship have now closed. Please check back for future opportunities in Fall 2022. 

About the Fellowship

The Diverse Knowledge Systems for Climate Adaptation (DKS) Fellowship, created by the USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers and supported by the Morgan State University Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory, was developed to: 

  • Foreground diverse knowledge systems, including how disciplines of scientific, practitioner, local, and Indigenous knowledge contribute to understandings the drivers of and solutions to climate impacts on fish, wildlife, and their habitats.

  • Introduce graduate students to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through the USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs), whose mission is to provide scientific information, tools, and techniques to help natural and cultural resource managers anticipate and adapt to the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and ecosystems.  

  • Support graduate students in developing appropriate product(s) related to the impacts of and adaptation strategies for climate change on fish, wildlife, their habitats, and users informed by diverse knowledge systems, world views, and epistemologies. This work should respectfully promote the multiple contributions of Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK) in the CASC activities. It may be related to the graduate student’s own research, and if so, may present a unique opportunity to share research with a broader community of knowledge-holders and stakeholders.   

  • Provide underrepresented students the opportunity to interact with the USGS community and others outside of academia and advance the CASC culture of improving diversity, inclusion, and empowerment for traditionally underrepresented communities. 

During the fellowship year and beyond, Fellows benefit from collaborations with university and USGS mentors, from interactions with other colleagues and partners of USGS, and from exposure to high priority, real-world challenges in the natural resources policy arena. 


Eligibility: This opportunity is open to graduate students at Climate Adaptation Science Center Consortium Institutions and minority-serving institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and UniversitiesTribal College and UniversitiesHispanic-Serving Institutions, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.  Applicants must be registered students for the entire fellowship year (justified exceptions will be considered in special cases).  Preference will be given to students who advance the CASC culture of improving diversity, inclusion, and empowerment for traditionally underrepresented communities.  Members of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities are encouraged to apply.  Members of the Queer community are encouraged to apply.  People with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Financial Award: Up to two fellows will be selected, annually, to receive a financial award of $10,000 each. The financial award is intended to support the additional efforts undertaken by the Fellow for the DKS project, not as a graduate stipend, tuition, or other university funding. 

Mentoring Experience: Each Fellow will work closely with his/her/their university mentor (typically, the applicant’s graduate program advisor) and a mentor from the CASCs (matched to applicants by the CASCs after the Statement of Interest stage; see below for more information). 

Fellowship Duration and Location: The fellowship experience will last one year (start date is flexible within funded year, starting May at the earliest).  During this time, the Fellow will be expected to work at a CASC with a CASC mentor for two months (typically summer; specific dates are flexible; virtual options considered as appropriate) but may remain at his/her/their host institution for the rest of the term.


Fellowship Requirements

  1. Update Meetings: The Fellow will coordinate three virtual meetings spaced throughout the fellowship year to update their Mentors and Review Committee on their fellowship progress. 

  2. Formal Presentations: The Fellow must present a National CASC webinar at the end of the fellowship and is encouraged to present the project results at their home institution and in other formal venues. 

  3. Final Report by the Fellow: The Fellow will be required to write a formal USGS project report detailing the outcomes of the fellowship project, their experience as a fellow, lessons learned, and advice for future fellows.

  4. Final Report by the Mentors: The University and CASC mentor will be required to write a brief description of the mentoring experience and provide advice for future mentors. 


Application Process 

Application Overview

The DKS Fellowship application process is divided into two stages.

First, applicants will submit a Statements of Interest to express interest in the fellowship and to help the review panel pair applicants with potential CASC mentors. The Statement of Interest includes a one-page cover letter, one-page pre-proposal, and a CV.

Should an applicant be selected to advance to the full proposal stage, the CASCs will match the applicant to a potential mentor based on the proposed project and appropriate CASC expertise. The applicant is then invited to work with their mentor to submit a Full Proposal, consisting of a revised one-page cover letter, a revised CV, a full project proposal, and letters of recommendation from each of the applicant's mentors. 

For full description of application materials and evaluation criteria, view the 2022 Fellowship Application Requirements>>


Application Timeline (subject to annual appropriations): 

Statements of Interest will be accepted through the NCASC online proposal management system from Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 to Thursday, January 20, 2022. Please upload all components as one PDF, if possible. Applicants are not responsible for identifying a potential CASC mentor at this stage.   

Invited proposals will be accepted through the NCASC online proposal management system beginning February 25th, 2022 to Thursday, March 31, 2022 (subject to annual appropriations). Please upload all components of the formal application as ONE PDF, as possible. 

Statement of Interest (SOI) Due 

Thursday, January 20, 2022, 11:59pm ET 

Decision on SOI and Notification to Applicant 

Friday, February 25, 2022 

Formal Application Due (If SOI is selected) 

Thursday, March 31, 2022, 11:59pm ET 

Decision on Formal Application and Notification to Applicant 

Friday, April 29, 2022 


If you have any questions regarding the fellowship application process, please contact Abigail Lynch, USGS NCASC (  If you have any issues specifically with the online management system, please contact (