Toolik Field Station (TFS) is pleased to provide students and early career researchers with userday support to conduct their own independent research projects in Arctic Alaska with the TUNDRA award.

Short for Toolik Userdays for Naturally Developing Research Abilities, this competitive award supports the invaluable experiences afforded by conducting hands-on research in the field by offering access to TFS. Often funding for independent field work can be hard to secure for students and early career researchers. The TUNDRA award provides awardees with up to 10 TFS userdays that cover food, accommodations, support, and logistics while at the station. We encourage applicants from all disciplines to apply.


Important Award Information

Please note that while applicants involved in an ongoing project at TFS will be considered, the TUNDRA award is intended to support original, independent research that is not specified in awards funded to other PIs.

TUNDRA awardees are required to fund their own travel to Fairbanks, AK. Once in Fairbanks, the TFS team will handle logistics to get awardees up to the field station.

Additionally, TFS currently requires residents to test negative for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test, taken in Fairbanks the morning before departing to the field station. The TUNDRA award does not cover the costs of lodging in Fairbanks if an awardee tests positive and cannot depart to the station as scheduled.

Please email UAF-toolik-communication@alaska.edu with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Award Funding

The seed funding for this award was started by TFS staff and continues to be funded through ongoing donations to support early career researchers. The TUNDRA award is a program under the Early Career Research Support Fund.

Who is Eligible?

Current students and early career researchers (those who have been students within the past 5 years).

Submitted projects can be an extension of a project that has or has had userday support, but extensions of projects in which the applicant is not the principal investigator will not be considered.


Application Details

To complete the TUNDRA award application, students and early career researchers will need to fill out the requested information, including an extended project abstract, and upload a project description, their most recent CV, and a letter of support from a reference familiar with the applicant's academic and/or research career. The 2024 application period closes February 15.

Project Description

Propose an original, independent research project. If currently a student or researcher on an ongoing project based at TFS, please clarify how your proposed project will differ.

Project descriptions of successful applicants will:

  • Include project goals, research questions, and/or hypotheses
  • Explain the project’s relevance to local, regional, or global issues 
  • Place the project goals within the context of existing literature and prior knowledge
  • Describe general approach and proposed methods
  • Justify why this project should be based out of TFS
  • Briefly state how the proposed project will promote your career development
  • Detail any additional financial support you have to complete the project, including cost of research materials, sample analyses, and travel to Fairbanks
  • Not exceed 4 pages

Letter of Support

Applicants are required to upload a letter of support from a reference familiar with their academic and/or research career with their application. Be sure to ask your letter writer early in the application process in order to ensure enough time to get their letter and upload it by the application deadline.

Letters of support should:

  • Speak to the applicant’s academic and/or research abilities and skills, including previous research experience
  • Comment on the potential of the proposed TUNDRA project and the applicant’s ability to carry out the project
  • Briefly state how and how long the reference writer and applicant know each other
  • Not exceed 2 pages

CV or Resume

Applicants must upload the most recent version of their CV or Resume. These should not exceed 2 pages.

Formatting requirements for uploaded documents

  • standard 8.5" x 11" page size
  • 11 point or higher font, except text that is part of an image
  • 1" margins on all sides
  • No less than single-spacing (approximately 6 lines per inch)

Documents can be submitted as .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .txt files and are limited to 5 Mb.


How to Apply

To apply, log in to your myToolik account and click the button below to go to the forms homepage. Find the TUNDRA award application towards the bottom of the page, under “Other.”

Having trouble finding the form? In the upper right corner of your myToolik homepage, click on “Support” and then “Request Support”. Scroll down to the bottom of the Support Request System page. The TUNDRA award application will be under the header “Other.” Click the blue button with a white magnifying glass on it to open the application.

The TUNDRA award application requires signing into a myToolik account. If you do not have a myToolik account, sign up for one here and select “TUNDRA award” as the Project Name and PI.

If selected to receive the TUNDRA award, recipients will be required to produce a final product (e.g. paper, poster, other deliverable) and a presentation (e.g. at the All Scientists meeting, weekly in-camp summer Talking Shop seminar, other national conferences). Additionally, any publications resulting from a TUNDRA award project must be submitted to the TFS publication database.


Award Evaluations

To be considered for this award, applications must be submitted, in full, by February 15. Applications will be evaluated by TFS management and staff on the proposed project’s feasibility, scientific merit, rationale for conducting research at TFS, and research quality. Once notified of an awarded project, TUNDRA award recipients will work with the TFS management and staff to reserve userdays, conduct their research, and submit their end-products.

Applicants will be notified of award status in late March.


How Can You Help?

Looking to help jump-start emerging scholars’ research careers? With the help of generous donors, we get closer to our vision of a greater understanding of the Arctic and developing the next generation of passionate and inquisitive scientists. Your contributions directly fund current and recent students’ independent research projects. Donate to the Early Career Research Support Fund today!


What is the UA Foundation?

Learn more about the UA foundation at www.alaska.edu/foundation. Email at foundation@alaska.edu