Research Funding

Athena Fund

The Athena Fund provides research funding for graduate students working with Lab-affiliated faculty and staff. Details coming soon!

Other sources of research funding

The Cornell University Graduate School provides details about funding packages offered to Cornell Ph.D. and Masters degree students. It also compiles information on internal and external fellowships available to new and continuing graduate students. We encourage graduate students affiliated with the Cornell Lab to work closely with their advisers and mentors when seeking funding opportunities.

The Frances M. Peacock Scholarship

The Frances M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat is supported by the Garden Club of America and administered by the Cornell Lab. It provides a scholarship of up to $4,500 for work in the United States concerning habitats of threatened or endangered bird species, with the potential to provide useful information for land-management decisions. The scholarship is open to U.S. citizens who are graduate students and undergraduates in their senior year from any U.S. institution. Read more about the Peacock scholarship at the Garden Club of America website.

The Frances M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to study areas in the United States that provide seasonal habitat for threatened or endangered native birds and have the potential to provide useful information for land-management decisions. For the purpose of this award, we consider as “threatened” all birds that are experiencing marked population declines, ranked as of “special concern,” or at other forms of conservation risk. Projects funded by this award must be conducted within the political boundaries of the United States (including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands). 

The Award will be given annually by the Garden Club of America and administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The scholarship will fund one or more recipients up to $4,500. The scholarship will be paid directly to the awardee. 

The award was established in 1994 under the estate of Frances M. Peacock of Barrington, Illinois, former GCA Director and member of the Garden Club of Barrington. 


Open to college seniors and graduate students only (second-semester juniors may apply for their senior year in college). Eligibility is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled in a U.S.-based institution.  

  • Overhead or indirect costs will not be paid by the Peacock Scholarship 
  • The Peacock Scholarship is for one year only and may not be renewed for multi-year projects 
  • Funds from the Peacock Scholarship can be used at the discretion of the awardee for expenses directly related to the proposed project 

To Apply

The Application deadline is January 15 preceding the proposed period of study. Awardees will be notified no later than March 31.  PLEASE NOTE: ONLY ONE GCA SCHOLARSHIP, FELLOWSHIP OR AWARD MAY BE APPLIED FOR ANNUALLY. 

Application Guidelines: 

A complete application consists of a Cover Page, the Proposal, and your Curriculum Vitae. 

Cover Page:

  1. Project title
  2. Applicant name
  3. Applicant’s email and mailing address
  4. Applicant’s student status, institution, advisor

Proposal. The proposal should be no more than five double-spaced pages (not including references), 1-inch margins, and 12-point font. Please include the following elements: 

  1. Title: A brief description of your project
  2. Abstract: One paragraph review written for a general audience (no more than 150 words)
  3. Introduction: Provide relevant background information and clearly explain the significance of your project and what “gap” in the literature your study will address
  4. Objectives: A concise statement of the specific objectives of your project
  5. Methods & Experimental Design: An explanation of how you plan to carry out your project. Outline the stages of your project, where the work will be done, and what facilities and equipment are available. If your project involves study plots, please note the plot size
  6. Timetable: Time period required to complete your project
  7. Literature Cited
  8. Figures, legends, and tables: Use as necessary to clarify the text.
  9. Budget: The budget should include: (1) list of budget items; (2) statement of justification and need; (3) list of pending support

Curriculum Vitae: Your curriculum vitae (2 pages) should provide a brief summary of your academic education, job experience, publications, other professional contributions, and other relevant training 

Submission Guidelines: 

A complete application consists of the Cover Page, the Proposal, and your CV. 

The proposal should be submitted to Dr. Sara Kaiser and Dr. Jen Walsh through the proposal submission form. 


Selection is made by a review committee at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The selection is reviewed and approved by the GCA Scholarship Committee. 

Instructions for Awardees: 

Recipients of the award will be contacted by the GCA Scholarship Committee and detailed instructions on awardee requirements will be outlined at that time. Awardees should expect a formal, but short research report due one year after the support has been awarded. The Garden Club of America and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology shall receive acknowledgement for their assistance in any publication or report resulting from this Scholarship. 


Dr. Sara Kaiser
Dr. Jen Walsh