Funding Your Research

Cedar Waxwing by Brandi Grahl/Macaulay Library.
Cedar Waxwing by Brandi Grahl/Macaulay Library.

How to Fund Your Research

If you find a research opportunity at the Cornell Lab, we may be able to help fund it. You’ll need to find a mentor and a project first and then apply for financial support. The Lab does not provide scholarships to Cornell University or other financial aid, but we do provide many student employment and travel opportunities. Examples include:

Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund

Recipients of Rupert/Foote funding engage in paid semester or summer opportunities in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. This fund is specifically designed to promote cross-disciplinary study at the University, particularly by Cornell students whose interests and majors fall outside the traditional realms of ornithological research. Examples might include a mechanical engineering major who helps design a bird recording device, an English major who writes articles for our website, a Computer Science major who creates an algorithm for our bird ID app, or an Art major who draws images for our publications. Nominations are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this program should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor or contact Myrah Bridwell. Nominations are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Philip H. Bartels ’71 Scholars (Undergraduates)

Bartels Scholars engage in paid summer opportunities in collaboration with a Cornell Lab faculty or staff member. Although Bartels Scholars most commonly focus on research, any Lab-related activity may be appropriate. Nominations for Bartels Scholars are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this opportunity should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor, or contact Myrah Bridwell. Nominations for the forthcoming summer should be submitted by March 31.

Ivy Field Ornithology Research Program (Undergraduates)

The Ivy Program supports immersive ornithological research and discovery by Cornell undergraduates. Ivy Program participants most often engage in rigorous field research under the mentorship of a professional ornithologist. Many Ivy students end up completing honors theses derived from their independent field research projects. Proposals for support from the Ivy Program should be developed by the student in close collaboration with their research mentor. Proposals are welcome from individual students, and from small teams of students working collaboratively. Students or mentors unfamiliar with the Ivy Program are encouraged to contact Irby Lovette or Myrah Bridwell early in their project development.

Other Undergraduate Funding Opportunities

Through the generosity of our supporters, the Cornell Lab often supports undergraduate student research, semester and summer jobs, expeditions, and outreach activities. Most of our funding opportunities are limited to current Cornell undergraduates who are in good academic standing. To initiate a conversation about these funding opportunities, students or their mentors should obtain our simple funding request form by emailing Myrah Bridwell.

The Frances M. Peacock Scholarship  (Seniors and Graduate Students)

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. More about the Peacock scholarship.

Other Graduate Student Funding Information

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