Open Up Your Station Project Application Process

Field stations often have some process for applying to come and do work at and around the field station. This serves as a review process to ensure that the work is in line with the mission of the station. The project application can be submitted through an email to the station, a Google Form, or another system.

Field station reflection:

These are a few questions to consider as you reflect on your application process.

  • How does your station accept project applications?
  • Is it an annual process or a one-time process for the life of the project?
  • What counts as a project? Do you use the term project or call it something else?
  • What is the review like? Is the decision made by an advisory board? Or does the director or another staff member make the decision?
  • Are there criteria that these applications must address? Does this work harm the environment for future work? Is it not really research?
  • Is this process clearly articulated on your website?

This is often closed, which prevents other researchers or the broader community from learning about work happening at the station. Consider opening up the application process by sharing project applications on your website.

Field Station Action Steps:

  1. Do you share applications publicly?
    • Yes! That is a great step towards the transparency of work going on at the station.
    • Not yet. Consider a shift toward sharing. Would you be comfortable sharing project application titles, the names of researchers, an abstract, or the full application?

If you are looking for an example, the Rocky Mountain Biological Research Laboratory (RMBL) has a comprehensive project list here.