John Z. Duling Grant Program


The John Z. Duling Grant Program was established and funded by a bequest from the estate of John Z. Duling of Indiana, a strong advocate of research who in 1972 proposed the establishment of the ISA Research Trust. The goal of this program is to provide start-up or seed funding to support innovative research and technology transfer projects that have the potential of benefiting the everyday work of arborists. John Z. Duling Grants may be used to support exploratory work in the early stages of untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas and approaches. Examples may include application of new approaches to research questions, or application of new expertise involving novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.


Grant Cycle Open: August 1, 2024
Last Day to Request Letter of Inquiry: September 15, 2024
Grant Application Due: October 1, 2024
Announcement of Grant Recepient: Late December, 2024

The first step to apply for this grant is to send an email containing a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) of no more than 100 words describing your project title and concept to between August 1, 2024 and September 15, 2024.

LOI Requirements:

  • No more than 100 words
  • Include project title and concept
  • Identify Principal Investigator and Institution who will be contracted for the work
  • Note you wish to apply for the John Z. Duling Grant Program

If your LOI is approved, TREE Fund will send you a numbered application form for your use. Information for the Application Requirements can be found here. You may not apply without such a numbered application form. TREE Fund determines on whether an LOI meets the application criteria are final and not negotiable.


Application Requirements can be found here.

Projects are expected to be completed within one to three years with a maximum grant award of $25,000. No project may receive more than one award from this program.

For 2024, the John Z. Duling Grant Program will focus on Propagation, Plant Selection, Development of New Varieties, and Planting/Establishment and Arboriculture Theory and Practice. TREE Fund welcomes research proposals and applications from a wide range of academic and technical disciplines, of both a qualitative and a quantitative nature.

TREE Fund does not fund the following types of projects, and will not accept applications for such work:

  • 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;
  • Commercial tree- or soil-related product testing primarily for the benefit of the company that manufactures the product.


Past John Z. Duling Awards

2023 was awarded to Dr. Thomas Whitney with Davey Institute on project, “Efficacy of Aphidoletes aphidimyza predator releases to control aphid populations on linden street trees.”

2022 was awarded to Dr. Darrell Murray with Tarleton State University on project, “Urban Ecosystem Regeneration by Increasing Stand and Genetic Diversity.”

2021 was awarded to Dr. Jose Delpiano with University of the Andes in Brazil on project, “Computer Vision for Hazard Tree Identification and Assessment.” See Research Report Here