The J.E. and Jean M. McPherson Entomology Undergraduate and Graduate Student Biodiversity Awards

(This award is not being offered in 2024)

The Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity (SysEB) Section leadership invites SysEB undergraduate and graduate students to submit applications for the J. E. and Jean M. McPherson Entomology Undergraduate and Graduate Student Biodiversity Awards. Biodiversity, in the broad sense, covers a multitude of areas at both the molecular and organismic levels. These awards support research in these areas with emphasis on non-taxonomic studies. Such studies could include natural history, morphology, behavior, conservation, paleobiology, biochemistry, physiology, and related areas. Expenses incurred could include travel, hotel/lodging, food, collecting equipment, laboratory rearing materials, chemical solutions, visual images of various kinds, and other related costs. Expenses associated with descriptive taxonomy could be considered but would be of lower priority.

Typical award amounts are approximately $1,000–$2,000 but will vary depending upon the number of qualified applicants and investment income of the endowment fund in any given year. Payment of the award will occur upon completion of travel as reimbursement. Students must provide evidence of travel (receipts, copies of travel/hotel bills, etc.) and copies of collecting and export permits (if applicable). If paying out of pocket is a hardship, students may request payment upfront. The payment upfront will be based on the proposed budget that is submitted with the application. Proof of travel will be required after the travel date. 

Nomination Requirements
Evaluation Criteria
Submission Requirements



Current undergraduate and graduate students only; must be members in good standing (membership renewed for current year) of both the Entomological Society of America (ESA), and the SysEB Section. Eligible applicants generally will be limited to only one Biodiversity Award. However, previous award recipients may still apply.

Nomination Requirements

Nominations may be made by anyone, although self-nominations are encouraged. Nomination packages must include the following:

  • One-page description of the proposed research project (title, brief background, specific hypotheses, scientific importance), the purpose of the proposed expenses, and how this funding will enhance your research.
  • One-page detailed budget with specific travel plans and budget justification including a statement of confirmation that all relevant collecting, research, and/or export permits are current or obtainable for the proposed travel.
  • Literature references, if applicable (1 page maximum).
  • A short statement (a paragraph) from your major professor (or advisor) that indicates your student status and how well the proposed funding is integrated with your research (can be a separate letter, but should be included in the application).

Allowed travel requests: Proposals will be considered for costs associated with domestic and/or international travel to conduct research (including fieldwork, offsite lab work, and research visits to museum collections); the SysEB Awards Committee will provide award recipients with award funding only (all official/legal permissions and/or permits for the travel are the responsibility of the student).

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals are competitively judged based on the following factors: 

  • Benefit of the proposed funding to the student's research
  • Scientific justification


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