COBRA Early Career Fellow and Deep-Sea Expedition Planning Master Class - 2022

What is the COBRA Early Career Fellowship and Master Class?

Thank you for your interest in becoming a 2022 COBRA Early Career Fellow, which includes funded participation in the virtual 2022 Deep Sea Expedition Planning Master Class to be held March-May 2022.

This funded Fellowship is offered by the Crustal Ocean Biosphere Research Accelerator (COBRA), an international research coordination network funded by the US National Science Foundation. COBRA’s mission is to accelerate research on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere to generate new knowledge and inform decision-making, particularly related to deep-sea mining and subseafloor carbon sequestration.

The COBRA Fellowship program is intended to help to create a larger, more diverse pool of talent engaged in leading deep-sea research that addresses societal needs, and to enable early career involvement in steering the direction of COBRA activities. COBRA has a goal of having a balanced representation of US-based and international participants across the early career spectrum that bring diverse experiences and perspectives to the class.

Fellows are eligible to receive a $2,000 USD stipend to support their participation in the fellowship and virtual Master Class, which is offered free of charge. Previous experience with deep-sea research or policy is not required. The fellowship is open to early career participants from around the world. We define “early career” as senior graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, junior faculty less than 10 years from their terminal degree, and other junior professionals, such as an early career employee of a government, NGO, or industry.

The purpose of the virtual Master Class is to train fellows in deep-sea expedition planning from start to finish. This course will equip participants with the skills and tools to successfully design, propose, and execute deep-sea oceanographic field research, with a collaborative, just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive approach. Example topics to be covered in the Master Class include: Assets for conducting deep-sea research and exploration; Funding and proposal writing tips; Developing concepts through respectful and reciprocal engagement with others; Cruise preparation how-to; At-sea operations overview; Telepresence-enabled exploration and research; Permits and Reports; Data Management. Participants will also contribute to the development of an open-access “how to” manual based on course materials, receiving co-author credit for this collaborative activity.

The inaugural Master Class will partner with a telepresence-enabled deep-sea expedition of the Ocean Exploration Trust’s (OET) E/V Nautilus. This expedition is part of a series of exploring seamounts within and around the Papahānuamokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). The PMNM is the largest marine conservation area in the US, and it is a place of deep cultural significance for Native Hawaiians. As a partner with OET, COBRA gratefully acknowledges generations of indigenous Hawaiians and today’s stewards of these waters. It is a privilege for COBRA participants to be able to connect to expeditions here under permit from the co-Trustees of the region: the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, the State of Hawai'i, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. COBRA’s Director will be a ship-board participant on this expedition, shepherding connection with the COBRA Master Class participants.

As elaborated in the COBRA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, COBRA is committed to providing in-person and virtual meeting spaces where all participants feel welcome, safe, and supported.


  • January 15 - Applications Due
  • February 1 - Applicants notified of selection
  • February 15 - Selected applicants confirm participation.
  • March 1 - December 31: COBRA Fellowship Program period
  • March - May: 2022 COBRA Master Class, weekly 2-3 hour virtual sessions (tentatively Tuesdays 2-4PM Eastern Time)
  • Mid-May: In-person gathering in Boston, MA, for the end of the Master Class (COVID-dependent)
  • June: Submission of manual for publication
  • June - December: Additional events and opportunities such as COBRA virtual symposium and others


Applications are now closed. Subscribe to the COBRA newsletter for updates.

About the application form:

After providing relevant contact information, applicants are asked to answer questions about their motivations for participating in the course, to help the evaluation committee in making selections. The application form will ask for the following mandatory information:

  • Name and Contact Information
  • Current Institution and Position
  • Name of supervisor, if applicable
  • A pdf upload of your current resumé or curriculum vitae (max 2-pages), including:
    • Educational background
    • Professional affiliations
    • Awards or honors
    • Service to or participation in scientific, educational, mentoring or policy activities
    • Up to 5 relevant publications or other types of professional activities
    • Note: if you have never created a 2-page CV before, here is some guidance from the NSF:
  • Question: Tell us about your career goals and how becoming a COBRA Fellow will help you achieve those goals (500 words or fewer)
  • Question: Tell us about your journey and how you would like to contribute to COBRA’s goal to create a larger, more diverse global pool of talent engaged in leading deep-sea research that addresses societal needs (500 words or fewer)

The application form will also ask for the following voluntary information:

  1. How do you currently describe your gender identity?
  2. How do you describe your race and/or ethnicity?
  3. What is your country of citizenship?
  4. What is your current country of residence?

Why do we ask for this information? Applicants are also asked to provide some personal identity information to help the evaluation committee to understand the demographics of the applicant pool and assess how different dimensions of diversity are maintained through the selection process, and if our efforts to recruit diverse audiences are effective. In particular, COBRA strives to increase representation of diverse genders, races and ethnicities, and nations in deep-sea research. Provision of this demographic information is voluntary. Demographic data will be summarized and reported to the evaluation committee in aggregate, without personally identifying any applicant. Demographic data will only be available to the COBRA Director and Managing Director, who are not part of the evaluation committee. Aggregated and anonymized demographic data may also be used in COBRA’s annual reports.


A successful candidate will:

  • Have a background in oceanography, marine science, ocean engineering, marine policy, or related field.
  • Have a strong interest in deep-sea exploration and research, at sea and/or from shore.
  • Be an advanced graduate (Ph.D.) student, Postdoctoral scientist/researcher, untenured faculty, or an early career employee of a government, NGO, or industry with sufficient experience to benefit from and contribute to the 2022 COBRA Fellowship.
  • Provide compelling reasons for wanting to take part in the COBRA Fellow Program and Master Class
  • Provide compelling reasons for wanting to contribute to COBRA’s goal to create a more diverse pool of talent engaged in leading deep-sea research that addresses societal needs


Contact us at

PDF version of COBRA Fellowship and Master Class 2022