Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve: Graduate Student Grants

Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory landscapeApplication Deadline: 5 p.m. March 15, 2020

Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve provides grants to students planning to conduct research at Valentine Camp Reserve, the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL), or the surrounding area. Students may use Valentine Camp Reserve or the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory as a base of operations for research projects that take place off site.

Background and Eligibility

Several awards of up to $1,500 each will be granted. Studies must be conducted at, or based out of, Valentine Camp Reserve or the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory.

Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university while conducting their research. In the case of summer research, enrollment during the preceding spring term and clear intent to enroll in the fall term is acceptable as proof of acceptance.

Prior or concurrent recipients of NRS student research grants (Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant or VESR Grant) are eligible for the 2020 competition. Please attach a brief progress report if such funding was received.

Application Procedure

Download the application form.

Applications and supporting documents are due by 5 p.m. March 15, 2020, and should be submitted via email to VESR Director Carol Blanchette at

The application is in Adobe Acrobat and should be completed and saved as a pdf. The required supporting documents may also be included with the application and saved and submitted as a single pdf file.

Required Supporting Documents

  1. A letter of reference from a supervising faculty member or the student’s advisor indicating his/her support for the proposed research, including its merits for funding by the Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve (VESR), and the ability of the student to conduct the research and meet established deadlines. This may be submitted as a separate email if the advisor prefers.
  2. Current Curriculum Vitae (2-page maximum)
  3. Recipients of previous NRS student research grants (e.g. Mathias or VESR grants) must submit a one-page report (final or progress) of the previously funded project.
  4. A list of any permits that are required to carry out the research, and/or copies of the permits.

Timeline and Award Requirements

The Reserve Director, in consultation with a review panel, will make final award decisions by April 1, 2020.

Successful applicants must submit copies of appropriate collecting permits, animal care committee approvals, campus accounting information, and some brief biographical information (details will be provided) before awards will be disbursed.

Funds will be held in an account at UC Santa Barbara, and administered by UC Santa Barbara. Funds may only be used for the expenses described in the proposal budget.

It is expected that funds will be used in calendar year 2020. Award funds may be carried forward with the approval of the Reserve Director. Please submit a brief justification for any needed carry-forwards by December 15, 2020.

Awardees must submit a progress report to the Reserve Director by December 15, 2020. Applicants will be disqualified from future VESR grant programs if they do not comply with this requirement.

Evaluation Criteria

Primary Criteria

Merit of the proposed research
Evaluation of research quality will be based on the importance of the problem, originality, statement of research questions or hypothesis, sampling design and analysis, preliminary information supporting the feasibility of the proposed research, and likelihood of success.

Reserve dependence
Research must take place on the Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves (Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory or Valentine Camp Reserve), or sites located in the region of the reserves. Some use of one or both of the reserves is required. However, off-site areas in the region of the reserve may be used more than sites on the reserves. Higher scores will be assigned for research that takes advantage of special reserve conditions, such as a history of related research, occurrence of unique/special conditions or resources, need for protection of experimental treatments, and so forth.

Additional considerations

The following criteria will also be taken into consideration:

  1. The feasibility of completing research as stated in the application.
  2. Previous VESR and other funding. Preference will be given to projects lacking other support.
  3. Satisfactory progress on research funded by prior grants (if applicable).
  4. Preference will be given to proposals for research directly related to the student’s dissertation research.