The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) offers student research grants for undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are evaluated on the basis of their ability to advance the California Native Plant Society’s mission of protecting California’s native plants and their natural habitats, now and into the future, through science, education, stewardship, gardening, and advocacy. Successfully funded projects will relate to topics that intersect with California native plants and expand on information gaps within the natural and social sciences, including but not limited to conservation, botany, ecology, land management, horticulture, communications, economics, history, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or other cultural connections to native plants.

CNPS is committed to increasing ways for people of all backgrounds to deepen their relationships with California native plants. Black, Indigenous, and students of color, first-generation college students, and individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in the natural and social sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

CNPS student grants | Find your match

The CNPS Student Research Grants Program was created in 1983 to award funds to students and researchers studying California’s native flora. The funds have been made possible through the generosity of several major donors, some of whom are anonymous, in honor of some of our Society’s most dedicated members and leaders. The Student Research Grants Committee determines which type of grant is appropriate for each proposal funded.

The Doc Burr Grants

The Doc Burr Graduate Research Fund was established in 1983 to honor Horace K. “Doc” Burr, a founder and CNPS fellow and director at large for many years. Doc Burr grants are awarded to graduate students conducting research that promotes conservation of California’s flora and vegetation.

The Hardman Native Plant Research Award

Established in 1994, in honor of Gertrude R. Hardman, who was for years involved with the Botany Club of the Academy of Science in San Francisco, this grant was initiated by Doris Hoover. We offer the Hardman Native Plant Research Award for promising academic and applied botanical research involving California’s native plants, especially rare plants. For this grant, we also welcome research leading to elimination of invasive exotic plants from the state’s flora.

Natalie Hopkins Award

Established in 2007, this grant honors Natalie Hopkins, lifelong supporter and mentor of women in plant sciences and 2nd president of the Santa Clara Chapter of CNPS. Natalie Hopkins Awards are given to women students and researchers pursuing native plant studies.

The Helen Sharsmith Grants

Established in 1983 by Carl Sharsmith, this award pays memorial tribute to his wife, Helen, the author of The Flora of the Mount Hamilton Range. We award Helen Sharsmith grants to students or non-students involved in research on California’s native flora.

The G. Ledyard Stebbins Award

CNPS established the Stebbins Award in 1986 to honor Dr. Stebbins for his many years of dedication to the Society and to students of genetics and evolutionary botany. Each year one Stebbins Award may be given to a graduate student for an outstanding proposal for research in evolutionary botany.

CNPS Student Research Grant Award

CNPS is committed to increasing ways for people of all backgrounds to deepen their relationships with California native plants. Black, Indigenous, and students of color, first-generation college students, and individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in the natural and social sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

2025 applications will open in fall 2024.

How to apply (subject to change)

All applicants must will fill out an online proposal form. The Submit button at the bottom of the form sends it directly to CNPS. Following submittal you may continue to edit your proposal until the deadline.

All applications must be received by the deadline. 

The link to go back and edit your proposal will be sent in the response confirmation email. You can also save the link when the box appears to say your “response” has been submitted. You may continue to edit your form until midnight.

Review

Applications will be reviewed by a committee based on the following criteria:

Purpose, objectives, justification
Proposed methodology
Practical relevance to CNPS mission
Budget practicality (only direct costs to the study)
Feasibility of project
Candidate’s unique attributes, skills and background

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decisions in January.

Grant Amounts

Funds available to the committee, number of proposals, and merit of the proposals determine amounts awarded. The amounts awarded in recent years have been generally between $300-$1,000, averaging $500-600.

For questions, contact the Student Research Grants Program at edgrant@cnps.org. CNPS appreciates your interest in the Student Research Grants Program and encourages your participation and support.

Other grant programs

2025
Student Research Grants
applications will open in fall 2024