What We Do


Student Research

Graduate Student Support
Dr. Frank Rohwer, President and Scientific Director frohwer@deltawaterfowl.org

Part of Delta Waterfowl’s mission is to generate great science while we also help train future waterfowl resource professionals. By funding university-based graduate students, Delta ensures that the research we fund is independent, sound and peer-reviewed. In the process, Delta discovers basic and applied information about waterfowl and wetlands, which will help guiding waterfowl management decisions.

Delta Waterfowl primarily funds waterfowl and wetland research in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), the birthplace of most North American ducks. However, Delta also supports studies in other locations, provided they have relevance to North American waterfowl or wetland resources. Delta students have conducted studies in most segments of the PPR, Alaska, Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, Oregon, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Louisiana, practically coast-to-coast and evenin distant locations such as Hawaii, Sinaloa, Venezuela, and Latvia!

Delta will consider research proposals submitted by any student currently enrolled in a recognized graduate school program. Delta may occasionally consider proposals from individuals that have not yet been accepted into a graduate program provided that a letter accompanies these proposals from the student’s prospective supervisor indicating that acceptance into a formal graduate program is forthcoming. Delta has recently allocated more funding to post-doctoral and faculty research, but much of that work was work requested by Delta with formal or informal RFPs.

Delta will consider research proposals addressing any aspect of the ecology or management of North American waterfowl and wetlands resources. The Delta Waterfowl Foundation is acutely concerned with the status of North American duck populations; hence, studies designed to address significant waterfowl or wetland conservation problems will be given highest priority. A new arena for Delta is socioeconomic and policy-related studies concerning conservation of waterfowl, prairie and wetland habitats, and waterfowl hunting. If in doubt about whether a research topic is appropriate for Delta funding, please consult first with Delta’s President and Scientific Director, Dr. Frank Rohwer (frohwer@deltawaterfowl.org).

Delta only has one funding window per year, with a November 30 deadline for proposals. To apply for research funding, you must submit a proposal. We encourage the use of the format shown below. Proposals may be reviewed by up to three external anonymous reviewers in addition to review by Delta’s staff.

Proposal Guidelines

  • Do not exceed 10 double-spaced pages (excluding tables, figures, and literature cited).
  • Proposals should demonstrate a command of the relevant literature, sound experimental design, adherence to appropriate animal care guidelines, and good scientific writing skills.
  • Your proposal must include the following:
Cover Page: include your name, the degree you hope to obtain (M.S. or Ph. D.), your advisors name, your school and current contact information for yourself and your advisor(s) (mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address).
Abstract: 1-page description of proposed research, including brief description of issues addressed, hypotheses and objectives and methods.
Introduction: Should include a description of the problem, a review of relevant literature, and a list of the specific objectives or hypotheses.
Methods: Be sure to include a section on statistical design. A power analysis or some other justification of proposed sample size is also recommended.
Timeline: Include a monthly time schedule for proposed research activities.
Literature Cited: Use a consistent format
Budget: See the following section “Budget Guidelines”

To be considered for funding in calendar year 2015 proposals must be received by 30 November 2015. It is easiest to simply submit an electronic copy of your proposal. Be sure to include an up-to-date C.V. (resume) which includes current contact information. Send your proposals to: (frohwer@deltawaterfowl.org). If sending hard copies (not suggested), then include 3 copies and send to:

Dr. Frank Rohwer
Delta Waterfowl
1312 Basin Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58504

Budget Guidelines
Budget requests are assessed on an annual basis and must conform to Delta’s fiscal year of 1 March to 28 February. Students should submit tentative budgets for subsequent years of research with their initial proposal, with the realization that these budgets can change, but looking at all the potential years of the project is vital to Delta planning.

Categories: Try to use the following 5 categories.

  1. Stipend support for yourself and your research assistants
  2. Travel (reimbursements for personal mileage, plane fares etc)
  3. Vehicle and fuel expenses (for rental or station vehicles only)
  4. Major Equipment (anything > $50 and non-expendable, i.e. reusable)
  5. Expendable supplies (notebooks, pens, etc)
  6. Miscellaneous (utility bills, services, etc)

Exchange Rates: If your research will be conducted in Canada, submit a budget in both Canadian and US dollars. Use the exchange rate of $1.00 CDN = 1.00 USD. If your research will be conducted in the US, submit a budget in US dollars only.

Stipend Support: The graduate stipend allowance is $1,300 USD/month. Stipend support is available throughout the field season, but Delta does not ordinarily provide stipend support during the academic year. Students receiving field season support of < $1,300 per month from other sources (e.g., RA or scholarship) may use Delta funds to augment their stipend up to, but not exceeding, $1,300 per month. Students are expected to cover their own living expenses using their monthly stipend.

Research assistants are normally hired through Delta’s undergraduate assistantship program for the equivalent of $1,400 -$1,700 USD per month. Delta typically commits to hiring assistants for a minimum of 2 months. Delta will hire your assistants from the pool of applicants we receive. Assistant salaries will be paid from your budget by Delta.

Travel Costs: Students may use their own personal vehicles for transportation. Travel costs are reimbursed at mileage rates of $0.56 /mile. Use of Delta vehicles (trucks, ATV’s, boats) must be approved in advance, and expenses for operation and maintenance must be included in the budget. Delta will reimburse up to $400 each way for your research advisor to travel to your field site.

Equipment Costs: Any non-expendable equipment purchased with Delta funds becomes the property of Delta; however, such equipment remains the student’s responsibility until the study is completed. Students should budget to have equipment cleaned and repaired when necessary. Delta has a variety of equipment purchased in the past by other students. Contact Mike Buxton (mbuxton@deltawaterfowl.org) to see if any of the equipment you require is available.

Rent: Housing expenses should be included in your budget. All students living at remote field sites are responsible for providing housing for themselves and their assistants out of their project budget. All students living at the Minnedosa Field Station and Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Station are responsible for paying rent for themselves and their assistants out of their project budget. Rent at Minnedosa Field Station is $75 per person per month. This helps cover the cost of hauling water, electricity, phone line, and other services.

Division of Support: Students must specify any other sources of funding that have been received or applied for, including teaching or research assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and other bursaries. Delta can rarely cover the full cost of a graduate student. Delta may favor proposals demonstrating financial support of students by the home university during the academic year.

Overhead and Accounting: Funds are normally advanced directly to the student, who is then responsible for record-keeping and detailed accounting of all expenditures. Delta will not pay university overhead, so funds can be advanced to universities only after assurance that all funds will be directed towards the student project. If funds are funneled through a university, Delta will still require a detailed accounting of all expenditures by the student. Please note that Canada and the U.S.A. regard research grants as income - research expenses are fully deductible, but you will be taxed on your stipend. To avoid paying taxes on your grant (excluding stipend), accurate accounting is essential as the taxation office will require proof (receipts) that the grant money was used for research.

Jane Doe, Budget 2015 Nesting Ecology of Lesser Scaup (All Funds in US $)