The TREE Fund and Utility Arborist Association (UAA) established the Utility Arborist Research Fund (UARF) in 2010 to finance work with real importance and benefit to utility tree care professionals. In 2017, the UARF endowment reached its $1 million activation goal, and the first grant under this program was awarded in 2018.
The TREE Fund manages the UARF endowment and administers all research grants awarded, while UAA’s Research Committee advises the TREE Fund with respect to research priorities. Given the immense scope of annual utility arboriculture work on a global basis, if UARF-funded research can generate even a 1% reduction in tree-related outages, customer complaints, vegetation management complexity or emergency tree work, the financial, public relations, and worker safety returns on investment will be immense.
A total of $50,000 is available for award in 2021; the minimum award considered will be $10,000, the maximum $50,000, so that one to five grants may be awarded, subject to receipt of compliant applications. Work funded by UARF is expected to be completed within one to three years of award.
For 2021, the TREE Fund and UAA are seeking UARF proposals guided by the prioritized summary of research topics polled from our wider membership, prioritized as follows, with equal consideration given to these topics:
- employee, Contractor and Public Safety (including training relevance and quality, and training frequency);
- service reliability (including tree failure and tree worker experience); and
- regulatory compliance (including training and process improvement).
While the TREE Fund and UAA encourage applications that are aligned with these priorities, both organizations also understand that social, exploratory and other research questions may arise. The TREE Fund and UAA are thus open to evaluating any proposal related to vegetation management in the utility industry. UARF may not be used to fund:
- grants to individuals;
- projects that are primarily municipal tree surveys or assessments;
- tree planting programs;
- studies of individual tree species for the primary purpose of agricultural or timber/forest planting yield; or
- commercial tree- or soil-related product testing primarily for the benefit of the company that manufactures the product.
The TREE Fund will accept completed applications only between Jan. 15 and March 15, 2021. To apply, send an email containing a brief letter of inquiry (LOI) of no more than 100 words describing your project title and concept to firstname.lastname@example.org before March 1. Your LOI must clearly identify the principal investigator and institution contracted for the work should your application be approved.
The TREE Fund will evaluate whether your LOI concept meets all of our application criteria and is deemed to have a reasonable possibility of success given this year’s research priorities. If your LOI is approved, the TREE Fund will send you a numbered application form for your use. You may not apply without that numbered application form.
For more information about this grant and how to apply, please visit our website here.