Robert Lee Graduate Student Research Program

The Robert Lee Graduate Student Research Grant Program encourages independent field research by graduate students enrolled in accredited institutions. Funded by the Lee Family Foundation with contributions by the Joshua Tree National Park Association, the program provides student researchers with the opportunity to demonstrate how their research can apply to land management issues. Research results also provide park staff with a better understanding of the resources at Joshua Tree National Park.

Grants of up to $4,000 are available to assist students with field study expenses as well as data analysis, lodging, transportation, field supplies, and research equipment. Funding may be requested for necessary supplies and minor equipment, food and travel, special logistical costs, computer support, access to special analytical equipment, etc. Grants are awarded on an annual basis, so multiyear projects require resubmitting an application each year.

Research proposals should focus on some aspect of the natural or cultural resources of Joshua Tree National Park. Appropriate fields of study include, but are not limited to, botany, wildlife, desert ecology, archaeology, ethnography, paleontology, geology, soil science, museum science, resource management, and conservation. Grant proposals are then ranked based on three categories:

  • Scientific merit, problem definition, feasibility and quality of presentation
  • Application to interpretive value and products, and
  • Application to resource management.

This award program is designed to promote the transfer of scientific knowledge to National Park Service managers and to the public. Researchers are required submit a written report, submit content for a research project webpage, and present their work at a suitable public forum such as the Desert Institute’s lecture series.

Please visit the Joshua Tree National Park website  for full details and application forms. Grant recipients will also need to obtain a permit from the National Park Service before beginning their research projects.