Itasca fellowships open for 2023 applicants
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The Itasca Biological Station & Laboratories (IBSL) Graduate Research (Director's Fellowship and John Tester Fellowship; $5000 each, maximum) opportunities are now open for applications. The deadline is March 6, 2023 by 5 pm (CST). The Director's Fellowship has historically been to support research with  an aquatic component, and the Tester Fellowships are newer with broader intent, including terrestrial research and creative conservation science. Please share this opportunity! 

To apply, email the following three items to with the subject line “Student Seed-to-Root  Application”:

  1. A CV
  2. A brief support letter from a relevant advisor
  3. A two-page (max. length,  incl. any tables/figures) research proposal that includes a work plan and a budget. 

Submissions are due no later than 5 pm (CST) on Monday, March 6, 2023. Contact with questions with "Student Fellowships Question" in the subject line. All award recipients will be notified by March 10, 2023. 

Eligibility criteria: 

  • Only single-investigator (one student per award, only), single-project proposals allowed. • Research must be done in or near Itasca State Park  
  • Award period is March 15, 2023 through February 28, 2024
  • Students must be in residence at Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories for at least a portion of  their research. 
  • Applications must be from full-time students at any campus of the University of Minnesota. • Budgets may include funding for research expenses and living expenses, in addition to supplies and services. 
  • An expectation is that Fellows will share at least one science and research public engagement  talk/hike at the Station, and share one technical talk in the Biome Center or Assembly Hall as part of a summer seminar series.


Itasca Station has the following facilities, activities, and resources that may enable or leverage proposed research:

  • Dining: Dining hall (buffet-style meals); In-cabin kitchens in faculty cabins; review dining rates 
  • Lodging: Full-bath and kitchen cabins; Bunkhouses with shared bathhouse facilities; Campsites; review lodging options
  • Digital connectivity: Telecommuting & Wifi throughout IBSL; video conferencing; land line phones
  • Collaboration: With adequate planning, IBSL can host gatherings; seminar, writing, meeting spaces.  ⋅
  • Year-round facilities: IBSL is open year-round; Many cabins are winterized, and the Biome center and several laboratory spaces remain open all year; July is ‘high season’ at the Station, and advanced planning is always needed to insure space; flexibility is always prerequisite working at remote facilities ⋅
  • Observational field science: Itasca State Park, Iron Springs Bog SNA, White Earth State Forest, etc. 
  • Manipulative field science: 44-acre ‘South Plot’ 0.5 miles north of State Park (see 15+ page guide to maps of the station, land, soils, forest types, waters, etc.) ⋅
  • Demonstration field science: 19-acre ‘North Plot’ Science Demonstration Area (SDA) is slated, with  interpretive sites, to enable science demonstration and engagement  
  • Ongoing data collection: Examples 
  • Microbial endophyte/pathogen/saprophyte transition in wood decomposition (NSF, DOE)
  • Lakes as sinks/sources of greenhouse gases (water quality buoy monitoring) (NSF) o Bird parasitism, sediment coring, weather data on site since 1911, mammal tracking, etc. 
  • Old data: Data archiving and digitization efforts; library specific to Itasca 
  • Literature: Itasca Station has over 1000 publications focused locally 
  • Environmental history: The Station (est. 1909) and State Park (est. 1891) are among the oldest in the United States; IBSL has an ongoing history collaboration with State Park Naturalists ⋅
  • Kiosk space: Highly-visible interpretive kiosk spaces at headwaters and at Brower Visitor Center ⋅
  • Student/postdoc engagement ‘plug-ins’: MarketSci at Bemidji & Park Rapids farmers markets;  Wet-n-wild headwater weekends; Station tours; Station-led hikes; Park programming on/off campus  ⋅
  • Teaching: IBSL hosts Field Biology classes that may synergize with faculty/student research

Beyond the IBSL campus, the following facilities, activities and resources are available to enable research: ⋅