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.

Special Call for Applications!

The 2024 IDTG program will have a focus on Critical Zone Science. We are seeking applications for work that will align with Critical Zone Science. Collaborative work with Critical Zone Collaborative Network investigators is encouraged.

CUAHSI offers up to $2,000 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. For this special call, all applications need to have a clear link to Critical Zone Science.

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, the associated challenges to learning about its operation and how it will build capacity beyond the IDTG awardee. If your expected expenses for travel are over $2,000, please provide information on how you will obtain the remaining budget.

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

    Additional Information

    The Instrumentation Discovery Travel Grant application consists of:

    1. A justification (maximum 2 pages) addressing the following points specifically:
      1. Clearly identify and explain the research question or need,
      2. Clearly identify and explain the proposed work’s alignment with Critical Zone Science,
      3. Justification of the instrumentation and/or approach selected,
      4. What the applicant wishes to learn from the site visit,
      5. How the applicant plans to use the information in their research,
      6. 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.
      1. The budget should not include indirect costs as those are not covered by CUAHSI.

      2. If the budget exceeds the maximum IDTG award, include a plan and source for the remainder of the budget.

    3. A letter of support from the proposed host agreeing to the visit. Email format is acceptable. The letter should include, at least:
      1. The host’s role at their facility,

      2. Specifics about the support the visitor will receive (including but not limited to training, equipment and/or facilities access, networking opportunities).

    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 deadline to apply for the IDTG is May 1, 2024, 11:59pm EDT.

    1. The degree to which the proposed activities are required to address the research question being posed.
    2. Is the research question or need clearly identified and explained?
    3. Is the level of effort appropriate for the proposed timeline?
    4. The degree to which the applicant may have access to this type of training outside of this grant.
    5. The degree to which the proposed work aligns with Critical Zone Science.
    6. The potential of the proposed activities to influence the broader capacity of Critical Zone Science beyond the direct participants. Examples include (but are not limited to) propagation of knowledge to the home institution, engagement with stakeholders, development of publicly shared methodological protocols or training materials, etc.
    7. The expertise of personnel providing support to the visitor and the extent of support the visitor will receive while participating in proposed activities. Nature of support may include (but is not limited to) training sessions, equipment use, facility access, collaboration network building, stakeholder interactions, etc.
    8. Is the proposed budget appropriate and realistic? No indirect costs are allowed for this grant.
    9. Will additional financial resources be required to carry out the proposed work? If so, is there evidence that the applicant, host and mentor(s) are aware of and have planned for this?

    The IDTG application period will close May 1, 2024, 11:59pm EDT.

    The application process is completed online through ProposalSpace. 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.

    Eligibility. Students at all levels, postdocs and faculty members enrolled in or currently employed by a U.S. university are eligible to receive an Instrumentation Discovery Travel Grant. Preference will be given to students and early career faculty.

    Grant conditions. Up to $2,000 Grants are available for travel reimbursement for the awardee only. Travel may be to any location, foreign or domestic, but the overall cap still applies. Grant funds may not be used to cover indirect costs (such as health insurance, or Facilities & Administration). Support for this Grant will be provided on a reimbursement basis in accordance with the CUAHSI Travel Policy. One-third (1/3) of the budgeted funds may be requested as an advance to cover large initial expenses.

    CUAHSI Code of Conduct compliance. Awardees are required to comply with CUAHSI's Code of Conduct and complete a Disclosure Form upon award.


    • Final Report: Recipients are required to submit a final report that documents the significant outcomes of the sponsored activities to receive full reimbursement.

    • Dissemination: Recipients are expected to develop and execute a plan for disseminating their research results, including the archiving and publication of any data collected.


    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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