Highlands Biological Station buildings remain closed to visitors with the exception of limited visitor hours for the Nature Center.  HBS Botanical Garden trails remain open, and in accordance with University policy masks and physical distancing are required on the HBS campus.  Highlands Biological Station currently plans to offer academic and public programming in summer 2021, observing University mandated Covid-19 safety protocols.  For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.  Please see the HBS website for full summer 2021 Covid-19 safety policies and procedures, and bear in mind that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this spring. 

HBS Grant-in-Aid of Research

HBS has a decades-long program of research support for graduate students and faculty seeking to be part of the research community at HBS.  The Grant-in-Aid program got its start in the 1960s with NSF support.  Since then, the non-profit Highlands Biological Foundation, Inc. has provided funding for the program, some of which comes from endowed scholarships.

Hundreds of researchers from across the country and around the world have been supported by HBS Grants-in-Aid over the years.  Vetted by our Board of Scientific Advisors each March, members of which are drawn from member colleges and universities, these grants cover residency costs at HBS anywhere from one to 14 weeks, fostering a vibrant research community each summer.

The HBS Grant-in-Aid program is a model of success, yielding hundreds of graduate theses and thousands of scientific papers and other scholarly works over the years.

Spend Your Field Season with Us

HBS GIA applicants request support for one to 14 weeks in residence at HBS.  Proposed weeks in residency need not be continuous, but residency is a strict requirement of the program since in participating on site researchers directly and indirectly contribute to the broader Station academic community and in turn benefit from interactions and networking opportunities.    

Awards are based on the period of residence at HBS according to the following schedule: 

Graduate students:  $350/week

Postdoctoral researchers:  $450/week

To apply, proposal instructions can be found on the Application for Grants-in Aid cover sheet. The cover sheet with all required signatures and the body of the proposal must be submitted as a single PDF document by 5:00 p.m. EST on 1 March each year. Applications should be emailed to the attention of both associate director Jason Love (jlove@wcu.edu) and executive director Jim Costa (costa@wcu.edu).  Applications are reviewed by the HBS Board of Scientific Advisors, and applicants are notified of funding decisions in early April, following final approval by the HBS Board of Directors.  These Boards may elect to award meritorious proposals through one of the Station’s endowed scholarships

Grants-in-Aid are typically disbursed over two or three installments by check, the first given upon arrival and the final check after submission and approval of a Final Report (see below).  Grant-in-Aid awardees are provided bench or office space and equipment use free of charge for the duration of their research award period.

Additional Important GIA Information:

Permits. Like all researchers, Grant-in-Aid awardees are expected to secure the appropriate Federal or State permits if they seek to conduct research in the nearby National Forests or National Parks.  A permit from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission may be required as well.  Researchers, including Grant-in-Aid awardees, are expected to provide copies of all required permits to HBS prior to commencing their research at HBS.

IACUC. In accordance with Federal law, Grant-in-Aid awardees and other researchers planning on conducting any work involving vertebrates at HBS must have an IACUC application approved by the HBS Animal Use & Care Committee prior to undertaking their research.  We recognize that researchers working with vertebrates go through the IACUC process at their home institution.  However, HBS cannot accept other institutions’ approved ACUC applications, but has a responsibility to require an IACUC application specific to proposed research based at or supported by HBS.  IACUC applications should be submitted at least 2 months prior to the anticipated start of research to allow for committee review.  Click here for Downloadable IACUC Application.

Final Project Report. At the conclusion of GIA-supported research projects, a Final Project Report is required to help HBS gauge research activity and progress. The final grant award installment is typically not issued until the Final Project Report is received and approved.  Click here for Final Report & Cover Sheet Instructions – cover sheet and report should be submitted as a single PDF document to associate director Jason Love (jlove@wcu.edu) or executive director Jim Costa (costa@wcu.edu).

Data Management Policy. GIA awardees are expected to adhere to the HBS Data Management Policy for Researchers.

 Acknowledgement & Research Products. HBS Grant-in-Aid awardees are asked to kindly acknowledge their HBS research support explicitly in the “acknowledgements” or financial support section of all publications stemming from their work at the Station, including theses/dissertations and scientific papers. Awardees are further requested to please promptly send to HBS PDFs of all such publications, and consider sending a print copy of your thesis or dissertation to be added to the E. E. Reinke Library.  More than standard academic etiquette, such acknowledgement is vitally important for institutions like HBS, helping us both gauge the impact of our GIA program and document scientific productivity stemming from HBS support for university reporting, grant proposals, and more.