Research Grants

Carol Baird Student Award for Field Research

The Carol Baird Student Award for Field Research was established in 2017 thanks to a generous pledge to UC Berkeley from the JiJi Foundation. This award honors Carol Baird, Executive Director of the CA Institute for Biodiversity, who completed her PhD in Zoology at UC Berkeley in 1986. Read more on the establishment of the award here.

Purpose: This award funds high-quality research projects from UC Berkeley PhD and Post-Baccalaureate students asking compelling questions about California’s natural history. The common thread of these projects is a strong field work component. Students conduct their research in and around the five main UC Berkeley Natural Reserves and Field Stations:

Angelo Coast Range Reserve
Blue Oak Ranch Reserve
Hastings Natural History Reserve
Point Reyes Field Station
Sagehen Creek Field Station

Eligibility: For the 2024-2025 competition cycle, the award will support field research beginning in 2024. Students in any major or department are welcome to apply. Students may be working individually or as part of a field research team. Awards will be granted to Berkeley students who are:

  • Undergraduates with an expected graduation date of Spring 2024
  • Baccalaureates within 3 years of receiving their bachelor’s degree
  • Graduate students (Masters or PhD level)

Note: Applicants who will not be enrolled at UC Berkeley during the time of award will be hired as research assistants. 

Award: Awards of up to $25,000 will be made based on merit. Funding may be requested for a single field season or multiple field seasons, and for work at or around a single or several reserves. Support allocations (amount per student, potential for renewal) are flexible, as long as the research is field-based, is of excellent quality, and is substantially improved by this support. Students who have applied in the past are eligible to re-apply for additional support.

Application Deadline: 15 January 2024 (new extended deadline!)

Application Process: Students must submit their application by the application deadline using the Google Form linked below:

Applicants are required to upload the following materials as PDF files: 

  1. Project Proposal (up to 5 pages in length, single-spaced) must include: 
    • Introduction 
    • Study Objectives (i.e., hypotheses, predictions, aims of project, etc.)
    • Methods and logistics
    • Budget plan
    • Broader implications of your research
    • Outreach Plan
  2. Professional C.V. (up to 3 pages in length)
  3. Letter of Commitment: Berkeley finishing undergraduates and baccalaureates must also upload a letter of support from a faculty advisor who will work closely to guide them in their field work. This is not a requirement for graduate students. 

Awardees will be selected by a review committee composed of Faculty Directors of the UC Berkeley Natural Reserve System (NRS) or Faculty Investigators familiar with the reserves and field stations. Awardees will be announced by the end of February 2024.

Post-Award Obligations:

  1. Awardees will be required to present their findings to local community members or groups based around their project field sites. This may include presentations at town meetings or workshops organized by local conservation, educational, or citizen science groups.
  2. Each awardee must submit a Final Report (due on November 15, 2024) that summarizes their research accomplishments (submission details TBA). Reports should describe research accomplishments based on the award, including scientific findings, publications, videos, and links to public workshops, lectures, or presentations. 
  3. Between August 15 and October 15, 2024 the awardees will be encouraged to attend a 2-day “BairdFest” retreat hosted at one of the reserves. Students who have completed a funded field season are asked to present a 20-30 minute slideshow reporting their work and findings. New awardees for the 2024 season are encouraged to present and discuss their scientific plans and interests, informally as “pop-ups” or in short 5-10 minute presentations. (They will offer their 20-30 minute presentation in the 2025 BairdFest.) All participants are welcomed to discuss their ideas and perceptions of  the value and future of field science and field stations for our changing Earth.

The William Simes Research Fund

Purpose: The Simes Fund is intended to offset the costs associated with an extended (e.g., several month) period of field research at Hastings. Appropriate uses include costs of housing and research supplies required to conduct fieldwork.

Eligibility: This award is open to graduate students (M.S. and Ph.D.) and postdoctoral researchers; applications from exceptional undergraduates will also be considered. The primary intent of this award is to fund research in organismal biology at Hastings Reserve, however projects in other science disciplines (e.g., geology, anthropology) and the humanities will also be considered. The award is open to members of any accredited institution; applicants do not need to be students at UC Berkeley or other campuses in the UC system.

Award: Multiple awards of $1500 will be made each year; the exact number of awards per year will depend upon available funding. The award will be paid directly to the recipient. For the 2024 award cycle, awardees will be required to submit a brief report (2-4 pg.) by 1 March 2025.

Application process: Applicants should complete the PDF form below:

In addition, they should provide a short description (no more than 2 pages) of the proposed research, including a statement describing the relevance of Hastings to the project and the proposed use of the funds associated with the award. Applicants should also submit their CV and a letter of recommendation from their graduate or postdoctoral mentor. Materials from the application (application form, proposal, CV) should be compiled as a single document in PDF format; the file name should include the applicant’s last name (e.g, “[Last Name] Simes Award 2023). Applications are due 15 January 2024 to:

Dr. Jennifer S. Hunter
Resident Director
Hastings Natural History Reservation

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of UC Berkeley faculty and reserve staff. Awards will be announced by 28 February 2024. Questions regarding the William Simes Award should be addressed to Jennifer Hunter at