Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowships

Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowships at Bodega Marine Laboratory

UC Davis has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Bilinski Educational Foundation to award ten Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowships at Bodega Marine Laboratory for 2022-2023.

Bilinski Fellowships at Bodega Marine Lab

Ph.D. students interested in pursuing work at Bodega Marine Laboratory should submit a proposal for an interdisciplinary, innovative, and highly collaborative project that would become a key component of their dissertation. These transformational fellowships aim to elevate the work of doctoral students and provide opportunities to work across disciplines. Research should involve time spent at Bodega Marine Laboratory as part of the proposed work, and explicitly bridge the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Collaborations within UC Davis and/or collaborations with experts outside of our university are encouraged. For instance, we see a great opportunity for projects such as (not limited to):

  • Marine scientists working with environmental historians to understand the context of ocean change or fisheries practices that have impacted populations;
  • Scientists (natural, social) interested in collaborating with a communications expert, museum staff member, or writer to learn new techniques for presenting and communicating scientific ideas;
  • Social scientists and natural scientists working together at the science-policy interface, or to understand human decision-making on environmental issues.

To read more about the stimulating, wide-ranging, and public-facing projects that have resulted from our first two cohorts of the Bilinski-BML Fellowship, visit this page to see our 2020-2021 cohort and this page to see our 2018-2019 cohort. Recipients of this Fellowship will be expected to participate in meetings and discussions with their cohort; this will ensure timely progress on proposed projects, and will facilitate mentorship, feedback, and collaboration. Students will be asked to provide regular project updates.

Bilinski Fellowship Application Information

Fellowships are open to any full-time UC Davis doctoral student (US Citizens or Permanent Residents only). Students must be enrolled full-time at UC Davis for the duration of the fellowship. Recipients must be PhD candidates or on track to advance to candidacy within one year of application submission. Students who received this Fellowship in 2018-2019 or 2020-2021 are eligible to apply again; however, the proposed research cannot be a continuation of that work, and preference will be given to new applicants. 

Students must include a description of why residency or a significant amount of time spent at Bodega Marine Laboratory is needed for their proposed work. Students should plan to complete the proposed research by June 30, 2023.

Required Elements:
  • Proposal (see specifications below)
  • Budget, using the budget template provided
  • Budget justification for how the $25,000 fellowship will be spent
  • Letter from the student's advisor

Proposed research must explicitly bridge the natural sciences, social sciences, and/or humanities. Proposals will include a description of research, and integration of interdisciplinary research and collaborations. Successful proposals will clearly state goals and deliverables, and will focus on broader impacts. Please avoid jargon and write for a general audience. Proposals should also include a brief description of how the student will accommodate COVID-19 health and safety concerns (from social distancing to the possibility of shelter-in-place orders) as it relates to the project. If the COVID-19 pandemic could affect the primary proposal plans, please include a brief description of the alternate plans.

How To Apply

Apply Here!

See the application for full details and please address questions to Ellie Fairbairn

Application deadline: March 25, 2022.

Budget and budget justification

Students must provide a budget, using the budget template, as well as a separate budget justification for the $25,000 fellowship. The budget justification should include a description of how this funding will allow the student to complete a project that otherwise would not be possible without this financial assistance, and should clearly justify all expenses. You may receive Bilinski funding concurrent with other fellowship/grant support, but be explicit about how the Bilinski funding is addressing a financial need not covered by your other fellowship(s)/grant(s). The Bilinski Fellowship allows for maximum flexibility in the use of the funds. For the budget, you may consider including:

  • Stipend: Paid to the awardee and taxable as income. You may use your graduate group GSR Step rates to calculate your stipend, but that is NOT required and you may justify a salary above or below those rates. You must be devoted to your dissertation full-time for quarters in which you receive Bilinski funding for your stipend.
  • Tuition & Fees: Paid directly to UC Davis and not taxable. You must be devoted to your dissertation full-time for quarters in which you receive Bilinski funding for your tuition and fees.
  • Research Expenses: Paid through a UC Davis account and not taxable. Can include supplies, funding for collaborators, etc.
  • Travel expenses: Reimbursed through a UC Davis account and not taxable. Can include mileage to and from Bodega Bay, travel to research sites, etc.
  • Professional Development: Can include conference and workshop fees, etc.

For research and/or travel, please provide details of the specific expenses to be covered.

Students must also submit one letter of support from their PhD advisor. Letters should be emailed directly to Ellie Fairbairn.  

See the application for more details. Please address questions to Ellie Fairbairn.

Application deadline: March 25, 2022.

Apply Now!


The Bilinski Educational Foundation

Russell J. and Dorothy (Doro) S. Bilinski's goal in life was to be independent and challenged intellectually. They strongly believed in people being self-sufficient, ambitious, and above all, responsible. Both Russell and Doro were true intellectuals, as well as being adventuresome, independent and driven. Russell was a researcher, academician and an entrepreneur. Doro was an accomplished artist and patron of the arts. Russell and Doro believed that education was a means to obtain independence, and this is the legacy they wished to pass on to others.

In furtherance of that goal, Russell and Doro left a significant gift for the formation of a nonprofit corporate foundation. The Bilinski Educational Foundation seeks to fulfill this legacy by providing fellowship funds for post-secondary education for students who have demonstrated, and are likely to maintain, both the highest academic achievement and good moral character, but who lack the financial resources to pay for the highest caliber post-secondary education.

UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory

The UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory (BML) is a leading research and education facility at the forefront of national marine labs in providing science that serves society and informs solutions to complex environmental challenges. For over 50 years, BML’s multidisciplinary research discoveries have greatly advanced ocean and coastal health, and its hand-on educational programs have been training the nation’s next generation of leaders in marine science and policy.

Perched on the iconic bluffs of Bodega Head, BML sits at the epicenter of one of only four coastal upwelling regions in the world – areas of extreme biological productivity – that are rich for research discoveries. The Lab is also adjacent to a State Marine Protected Area and two National Marine Sanctuaries, yet only 65 miles from San Francisco Bay, one of the most impacted estuaries in the world. BML offers a front-row seat in which to study the real-time impact of commercial, recreational, and residential activity along the coastline and to assess the effectiveness of current and future marine conservation efforts.

BML is also the core research and educational facility of the recently established UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute (CMSI), which links BML with the more than 70 marine science faculty from all across the UC Davis campus. CMSI unites and coordinates the multifaceted community of UC Davis marine researchers, including many from the social sciences arena, so that together they can identify the most effective strategies for sustaining our irreplaceable coastal environment. CMSI expands upon BML’s strong foundation with new programs, including a popular Marine and Coastal Sciences undergraduate major and a new Marine Sciences Ph.D. program.