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.

CNPS student grants | Find your match

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.

2023-24 applications will open fall of 2023

How to apply (subject to change)

All applicants must will fill out an online proposal form. Letter of recommendations are encouraged, but optional.  The Submit button at the bottom of the form sends it directly to CNPS. Following submittal you may continue to edit your proposal through October 31. The letter of recommendation may be from your project advisor, a teacher, or a professor familiar with your project. Letter authors may email the letter of recommendation to the Student Research Grants Program at with “Letter of recommendation for [name of student]” in subject line. Applicants may not email the letters.

All applications and letters of recommendation must be received by October 31, 2022.

The link to go back and edit your proposal will be sent in response confirmation email. You can also save the link when the box appears to say your “response” has been recorded. If you hover over Edit your response link, it prompts you to save the link to go back and edit.


Proposals are reviewed by members of the committee in November using these criteria:

Point System:
Introduction and Literature review – 3 points
Purpose, Objectives, Justification -5 points
Proposed Methodology – 5 points
Writing clarity and argument structure – 5 points
Budget reasonable (only direct costs to the study) – 3 points
Feasibility of project – 3 points
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice – 5 points
Practical relevance to California CNPS Conservation – 8 points

Letters of support or references may be used to help understand the project and determine awards.

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

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 or problems, contact the Student Research Grants Program at CNPS appreciates your interest in the Student Research Grants Program and encourages your participation and support.

Other grant programs

Student Research Grants
will open fall of 2023