Student Research Funding

Valentine Camp
Valentine Camp/Image credit: Lobsang Wangdu

Mildred E. Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant Program

Sponsored by the UC Natural Reserve System, the Mildred E. Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant Program is open to University of California graduate students pursuing any discipline who plan to work at one or more sites in the NRS. A maximum of $38,000 is awarded each year, with each applicant receiving up to $3,000. The grants commemorate Mildred E. Mathias, a former professor of botany at UC Los Angeles and a founder of the NRS.

Projects awarded Mathias Research Grants to date


Advancing Inclusivity Fellowship

This 10-week summer internship that pairs undergraduates with faculty or staff working at the UC Riverside Natural Reserves. Students will work with advisors on a summer research project to gain field experience. Undergraduates from accredited universities within Southern California. First generation students and Pell Grant recipients are encouraged to apply. No field experience is necessary. Recipients receive a $4,500 stipend for 30 hours/week of work.


Carol Baird Student Award for Field Research

The Carol Baird Student Award for Field Research funds UC Berkeley PhD and Post-Baccalaureate students to conduct research in and around the five main UC Berkeley Natural Reserves and Field Stations. The award, established in 2017 thanks to a generous pledge to UC Berkeley from the JiJi Foundation, honors Carol Baird, Executive Director of the California Institute for Biodiversity, who completed her PhD in Zoology at UC Berkeley in 1986.


Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve Graduate Student Research Grants

Supporting research conducted at or based out of the NRS’s Valentine Camp Reserve or Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, the Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve Graduate Student Research Grant competition is open to graduate students enrolled at any accredited college or university. Applicants may receive awards of up to $1,500. Proposals are evaluated on research merit and the need for special conditions found at and around the reserves, among other criteria.


William Simes Research Fund

The William Simes Research Fund supports field research spanning multiple months at Hastings Natural History Reservation. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and exceptional undergraduates enrolled at any accredited institution may apply. Recipients are awarded up to $1,500 toward the costs of housing, food, and other supplies required to conduct field work. The fund honors the father of Frances Simes Hastings who, with her husband Russell, donated the land in Carmel Valley that became Hastings Natural History Reservation. 


Coal Oil Point Reserve Graduate Student Research Awards

The Coal Oil Point Reserve Graduate Student Research Awards are available to graduate students enrolled at any accredited university who plan to conduct research at the reserve. Located adjacent to UC Santa Barbara, the reserve includes beach, salt marsh, coastal scrub, and a breeding colony of endangered western snowy plovers. 


Mayhew Graduate Research Award for Boyd Deep Canyon

The Mayhew Graduate Research Award is available to graduate students conducting research at Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center. One or more grants of up to $4,200 are awarded by the review panel. The competition is open to all graduate students, not just those enrolled at the University of California. As Boyd Deep Canyon is a gateway reserve, research projects conducted off site also will be considered.


White Mountain Research Center Graduate Student Minigrants

The White Mountain Research Center Graduate Student Minigrants support original graduate student research with grants of $500 to $1000 awarded on a competitive basis to offset the cost of meals and lodging at one or more of the WMRC stations (Owens Valley, Crooked Creek, and Barcroft). No travel funds are available. Prior awardees are eligible, but proposals must define progress to date.


The Swarth Fogel Undergraduate NRS Research Fellowship

The Swarth Fogel Undergraduate NRS Research Fellowship provides up to $1,000 to UC Merced undergraduates working with a UC Merced faculty or staff member on research at one of the campus’s four field stations, including the NRS’s Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve and Yosemite Field Station. Students from backgrounds that have traditionally been excluded from scientific and field science research are particularly encouraged to apply, as are students who have made or are making substantial contributions to diversity, equity, inclusion and access in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields and/or research.