Scientist-in-Residence Fellowship

2018 SIRF application deadline has passed. Consider applying for summer 2019!


Photo of 2017 cohort of SML Research Interns and Scientists in Residence
2017 Research Interns and SIRFs

Shoals Scientist-in-Residence Fellowships (SIRF) support early career and postdoctoral scientists for up to three-month residencies at Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) on Appledore Island, Maine. This program provides financial support for residential research time that can be used for data analysis, manuscript preparation, experimentation, and collaboration, among others. Priority will be given to Fellows engaged in SML-based science. Financial support includes: travel allowance, room and board, an honorarium, and research allowance. Fellows will be given lab/office space.  In addition to research, SIRF fellows are expected to assist with mentoring SML's Undergraduate Research Internship Program. The program also seeks to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups; however, all qualified scientists are encouraged to apply.

SML is a seasonal field station operated jointly by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. The island campus is located 6 miles offshore in the Isles of Shoals in the Gulf of Maine. SML is the largest marine lab in the U.S. dedicated to undergraduate education and research. SML offers undergraduate students a unique opportunity to study marine science in the field with exceptional faculty from institutions throughout North America. Instruction at SML is based on giving participants a truly "hands-on" educational experience. SML courses and internships provide rigorous training in many marine subjects and prepare students for careers in the fields of marine biology, and environmental science and sustainability. SML's ethos of responsible natural resource use and management, valuing scientific and community collaboration, and public service guides all SML programs.


  • Priority given to 1 postdoc & 1 assistant professor each summer who will conduct field work at SML or use SML data sets (to learn more about available data, please see SML’s website and communicate directly with the contact listed below).
  • Operating season at SML: May 1 - September 1. Minimum commitment for 2018 Fellows: June 4 – August 11.
  • $500 travel allowance to support travel to/from SML for the program.
  • Honorarium: $3,000/month
  • Benefits include room & board at SML and use of SML facilities.
  • Up to $1,200 research allowance at SML (to pay for research vessel use, research assistance, or supplies that SML will provide or procure for scientists). Durable goods will become the property of SML. These funds are aimed to support active, on-island research while participating in this program.

Requirements and opportunities:

  • Applications are invited for any field-based natural science investigation in the Isles of Shoals. Marine topics are preferred.
  • Fellows will be based on Appledore Island and expected to reside at SML as their primary residence for a minimum of 4 days/week.
  • Applicants must be legally able to work in the U.S.
  • Research plans must be approved by SML and they must adhere to SML research policies.
  • Fellows are asked to give at least one seminar talk to the island community during their fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to spend 10 hrs/week mentoring 8-12 undergraduate students in SML’s Research Internship Program. Fellows will serve as the secondary mentors, complimenting the guidance of each student's primary research mentor (aka the Principle Investigators). Fellows will attend weekly internship meetings where they may be called on to provide a lecture or expertise on field research methodology or some other aspect of independent research training. Lecture time will count towards the 10 hr/week commitment. Opportunities exist for fellows to have undergraduates work directly on their own research projects (advanced planning is required and is subject to the availability of funding).
  • Opportunities exist for public outreach and additional income via SML’s Adult & Family Programs in August and September.
  • Fellows will be subject to a pre-employment background check and will be required to complete the University of New Hampshire's Protection of Minors training.

To Apply:

A complete application will be a single PDF file containing, in the order shown:

  1. Cover letter describing your interest and availability, including current employment status and eligibility. If you are a postdoc, please include the name and contact information of your supervisor. Please highlight teaching and/or mentoring experience as well as research accomplishments.
  2. Curriculum vitae, including 3 professional references.
  3. A 1-2 page proposal describing your intended research at SML. Please provide sufficient information regarding facilities needed for your work.

Novel media or formats other than PDF deemed essential to an individual’s application may be submitted.

Only complete applications will be considered.

Send applications by email to Dr. Jennifer Seavey ( using the subject line “Shoals SIRF Application.”

Deadline for applications is 11:59pm on February 15, 2018

Questions? Contact Dr. Jennifer Seavey (

Past Scientists-in-Residence:

Photo of Kylla Benes Shoals Scientist in Residence Fellow 2017

SIRF 2017: Dr. Kylla Benes

Kylla Benes is a marine ecologist whose research addresses how organisms cope with spatial and temporal changes in the environment. She earned her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of California, Irvine in late 2016, and most recently was a science communication intern at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. As a Scientist-in-Residence fellow, Kylla participated in two activities she is passionate about: research and undergraduate mentorship. Her research focused on seaweed reproduction, specifically how it varies across different habitats and over time. Since seaweeds are at the bottom of the food chain and create habitat for other species, basic knowledge of their biology is essential for further understanding how seaweeds and the communities they support persist over time. Also as part of her fellowship, Kylla co-led undergraduates participating in the Intertidal Ecology Internship program. This program provides training and experience in conducting transect surveys while contributing to SML’s long-term data set on rocky intertidal biodiversity.

Photo of Brian Cheng Shoals Scientist in Residence Fellow 2017

SIRF 2017: Dr. Brian Cheng

Brian Cheng is a marine ecologist whose research is centered on solving problems in coastal ecosystems. His work explores how marine species respond to climate change, the invasion of non-native species, and marine protected areas.  He was recently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, and in September he began a new position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a Scientist-in-Residence fellow, Brian examined the role of climate change in driving a reported decline of introduced European green crabs and the simultaneous rise of non-native Asian shore crabs. In parts of New England, green crabs have declined by as much as 90%, whereas shore crabs have increased up to ten-fold. Why is this? Brian’s research aims to address the potential role of Gulf of Maine warming in driving these different population trajectories using field and laboratory experiments.