Seeking postdoctoral and post-master’s applicants for the J. Philip Keillor Flood Resilience – Wisconsin Sea Grant Fellow

Application Deadline: January 10, 2021

The Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program (housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Aquatic Sciences Center), in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS), seeks postdoctoral and postmaster’s candidates interested in tackling science and policy challenges related to climate change, water resources, flooding adaptation, social science, urban planning, or preparedness and mitigation in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. Together, these programs will fund this state Science-Policy Fellow position, named in honor of a longtime Sea Grant coastal engineering expert J Phillip Keillor, to celebrate his legacy in providing science to help build resilience in Wisconsin. This Fellow position will provide a unique educational and career opportunity for a recent graduate interested both in aquatic resources and in the policy decisions affecting those resources in Wisconsin. This program places a recent master’s or doctoral graduate within a state agency fulltime for up to one year, with the Fellow bringing technical skills to address Wisconsin flood resilience issues while receiving valuable real-world science-policy experience from the resource professionals who will serve as mentors. These mutually beneficial partnerships will result in advancing science to support policy decisions as well as valuable training opportunities for new professionals entering the work force.

The Fellow will work closely with WDHS staff and work groups, other state and federal agencies, and researchers from a variety of fields to tackle the important challenge of connecting science related to flooding with community planning efforts. The fellowship mentor team will include Dr. Roy Irving and Margaret Thelen (WDHS) and Drs. Natalie Chin, Adam Bechle, and Jennifer Hauxwell (Wisconsin Sea Grant).

There is significant flexibility in the specific questions and approaches that the Fellow will tackle and employ, and
we seek applicants from a variety of backgrounds including public health, climate sciences, social sciences, water
resources, communications, etc. Specific priorities for this position are:

  • Lead and coordinate piloting and full implementation of the Wisconsin Flood Resiliency Scorecard (FRS).
  • Create a resource sharing platform for end users (municipalities and county level governments) to sharebest practice resources and results from FRS.
  • Lead the evaluation of the Flood Resiliency Scorecard to assess usability and end user satisfaction and revise the Scorecard accordingly.
  • Work with federal, state, and academic partners to explore and implement moving the FRS into an
    accessible online platform.

The Fellow will have opportunities to discuss WDHS’s work with a variety of stakeholders such as other state agencies, local partners, and members of the public. Through this project, the Fellow will gain a betterunderstanding of, and experience serving in, the role of a scientist in public health practice. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to expand their science and risk communication skills, learning best practices to effectively convey technical information to a broad range of audiences.

This Fellow is intended to be stationed in downtown Madison at the WDHS, and will work with researchers from across the state, region and country, as well as stakeholders and policy-makers in Wisconsin. The position requires occasional travel, including overnight stays.

Work arrangements may need to be flexible and may evolve amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, adhering to all University of Wisconsin-Madison and state directives and guidance.

More detail on the fellowship is below. If you have any questions, please contact: Dr. Jennifer Hauxwell at

Students or postgraduates who will have graduated in the past five years with a graduate degree in public health, climate sciences, social sciences, water resources, communications, etc., are eligible to apply. Fellows must have completed all degree requirements before starting the fellowship.

Stipend and Expenses
Annual stipends are dependent on the Fellow’s academic background, with post master’s Fellows earning $40,000/year and postdoctoral Fellows earning $55,000/year, both with additional benefits (see – Fellows will be allotted funds to cover fellowship-related
travel and can include conferences. Additional travel associated with the fellowship may be covered by the host agency at the agency’s discretion.

Application Requirements
Application packages should be sent to at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute and should include:

  1. A cover letter that describes your background and abilities, your expectations from the fellowship
    experience and how this experience fits with your career goals (2 pages or fewer)
  2. Curriculum vitae with relevant educational, professional and volunteer experience (no length limit)
  3. Copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts
  4. Up to 4 writing samples, both informal and formal (e.g., popular articles, web resources, web-based applications/visualizations/decision tools, journal articles or other technical documents, etc.)
  5. A list of three professional references with contact information, including a faculty member from your graduate institution familiar with your academic record

Please use the naming convention “Last name – description of file” for all files associated with the application
(e.g. “Smith – cover letter”, “Smith – cv”, “Smith – transcripts”, etc.).

Selection Process
Wisconsin Sea Grant and Wisconsin Department of Health Services staff will identify a short list of candidates for interviews. Interviews will be conducted by a panel with representatives from both programs to determine the best fit for the position. It is expected that applicants will possess strong analytical skills, an ability to manage projects and work independently, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Length of Assignment
The length of assignment is up to one year with an anticipated start in early 2021. This timeline may be adjusted
to accommodate academic semester needs or the needs of the candidates or funding institutions.

January 10, 2021 – Deadline for submission of applications
Late January – Interviews
March 2021 (approx.) – Fellowship begins