A man wearing a wet suit and helmet in front of a body of water holding a binocular like instrument up to his face

Instrumentation Discovery Travel Grant

CUAHSI’s Instrumentation Discovery Travel Grant (IDTG) program enables scientists to learn the details of hydrologic instrument installation, operation, maintenance, and data processing by visiting experts or scheduling reverse site visits. Applicants from traditionally under-served institutions, primarily undergraduate institutions, students at all levels, and early career faculty are encouraged to apply for an IDTG.

CUAHSI offers up to $1,500 to help cover travel expenses for students or scientists at U.S. universities and colleges to visit colleagues with specific instrumentation expertise. The objective of the travel should be to efficiently and economically learn how to build, install, operate, maintain, and process data from one or more hydrologic instruments. IDTG’s can: (1) enable university students or scientists to visit other institutions and/or research sites, or (2) enable a reverse site visit to bring an expert to an institution.

These grants are intended to minimize the financial risk for awardees while enabling them to learn about advanced water-related instrumentation from an expert. Grantees are expected to take a holistic approach. As needed, they should learn about field deployment, instrument networking, data collection methods, data interpretation approaches, and learn about operating the instrumentation. We ask that awardees use CUAHSI's Water Data Services to publish any datasets that result from an IDTG.

Priority will be given to proposals that focus on learning to use instruments, sensors, and/or devices. Click here to view hydrologic instrumentation facilities that may be useful in developing your proposal. Learning field methods or laboratory protocols is permissible, but must be done with a focus on instrumentation and within the context of a demonstrable need (i.e., there is not a learning opportunity at your home institution or you seek to evaluate if this is the instrument for you prior to purchase). For this reason, standard field or lab techniques that rely on common tools and methods are not prioritized by this solicitation (e.g., weighing, microscopes, grab sampling) unless there is a demonstrable absence of expertise at the awardee's institution. This grant opportunity is not appropriate for funding attendance of a class or workshop. Proposals that include modeling activities associated with processing of instrument data will be considered, but site visits requested purely to learn or evaluate modeling software are outside the scope of this program.

When preparing your IDTG proposal, remember that the overarching intent of this grant is to build capacity related to specific instrumentation by giving you access to learning opportunities that would otherwise be challenging to obtain. In the proposal narrative, please be specific and direct about the nature of the instrumentation and the associated challenges to learning about its operation. If your expected expenses for travel are over $1,500, please provide information on how you will obtain the remaining budget.

Additional Information

Students at all levels, post docs, and faculty members enrolled in or currently employed by a US university are eligible to receive an Instrumentation Travel Discovery Grant. Preference will be given to students and early career faculty. The maximum amount of the grant is $1,500, and is awarded as a reimbursement upon completion of travel. Travel may be to any location, foreign or domestic, but the overall cap still applies.

Questions about IDTG proposals may be sent to Veronica Sosa Gonzalez at email hidden; JavaScript is required

The application consists of the following items:

  1. A justification (maximum 1 page) explaining the following points specifically:
    • What the applicant wishes to learn from the site visit,
    • How the applicant plans to use the information in his/her research,
    • The expected outcomes from the visit (e.g., proposal development or instrumentation purchase).
  2. An approximate budget for the trip, including the proposed dates of the visit.
  3. A letter from the proposed host agreeing to the visit. Email format is acceptable.

The IDTG application process is completed online. You must create an account with Proposal Space to submit your application. There is no fee for submitting. You can save your application in progress and return to it later, but all required documents must be entered before submitting. All required information must be submitted by the application deadline.

The application window has closed. Check back in the winter for the next call for proposals.


Laura Rosales-Lagarde, Assistant Professor, Nevada State College


Open source data logging-Hydroclimate research/teaching.


Rosales-Lagarde expanded her skill set to successfully teach the first instrumentation course at Nevada State College in Fall 2019. She collaborated with Patricia Beddows (Northwestern University) and Edward Mallon (Cave Pearl Project) to teach undergraduate students how Lake Mead water temperature varies through time. The students learned to build and deploy sensors in addition to analyzing and presenting the data acquired through their data loggers. This experience will support their capacity as future scientists.



Aurora Kagawa-Viviani, Graduate Student, University of Hawai'i


Methods in Stable Isotope Ecohydrology


Kagawa-Viviani's award provided requisite background and options for managing spectral interference. It also stimulated exchanges among UHM researchers, the Carnegie Institution, and staff scientists at Picarro. Kagawa-Viviani used her IDTG funding for a reverse site visit that resulted in a workshop that drew 22 individuals from academia, government, and industry interested in learning about the low-cost analysis of laser based stable isotope analysis of water.



Jonathan Resop, Senior Lecturer, University of Maryland


Drone Lidar for Research and Teaching


The knowledge Resop gained through his IDTG award was critical in setting up future, collaborative lidar surveys. Resop also integrated the experiences into his Remote Sensing class. Prior to the award, he used lower resolution lidar for teaching. Providing students with an in-depth case study of more than the process of collecting drone lidar data in the field - actually being able to provide them with real survey data to use in class – creates a new educational experience as they learn to become lidar data analysts.

Update Sept. 2021: Dr. Resop has published a paper in he MDPI journal Drones, which includes the drone lidar data that he collected using this travel grant in October 2018

Quantifying the Spatial Variability of Annual and Seasonal Changes in Riverscape Vegetation Using Drone Laser Scanning

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