Apply to RAP

Research Assistantship Program (RAP)

RAP Application

Program Description: Each year, the Mianus River Gorge in Bedford, NY, awards a Research Assistantship Program (RAP) grant to fund a graduate-level study that investigates environmental challenges in urban and suburban ecosystems.RAP students are awarded a grant of $5,000/yr for two (Master’s) or three (Doctoral) years.

RAP students also mentor a high school student in our authentic research program, the Wildlife Technician Program (WTP).  WTP students work at the MRG on 3-year projects that require regular interaction and advisement from their RAP mentor.  WTP projects are usually related to the RAP students’ own research; such as a smaller question that adds or complements the thesis research, or a facet of the larger project that the RAP student does not have the time to address themselves.  Developing and planning objectives, study design, and logistics are primarily up to the RAP mentor and the WTP mentee, with MRG staff support.

Proposed projects can be multi-disciplinary and cover a range of topics, e.g., wildlife biology, human ecology, watershed or forest management, and ecosystem processes; however, projects are evaluated under certain criteria.

Evaluation Criteria
• The MRG focuses its research, education, and grant support toward 4 main goals:

1. Maintaining and restoring forest diversity in eastern old-growth and post-agricultural second-growth forests in fragmented, suburban areas.
2. Evaluating and counteracting the trophic effects caused by super-abundant white-tailed deer.
3. Invasive species ecology and/or control, including Amynthas earthworms, hemlock-wooly adelgid, and common invasive plant species (e.g., Japanese stiltgrass, Japanese barberry, mile-a-minute weed, etc.).
4. Watershed protection, land prioritization, and suburban landscape ecology.
5. Wildlife ecology, behavior, and conservation in developed, fragmented, and urban areas.

Applicants should illustrate how their proposed research would address the goals above.

• Mentor potential – Does the project provide potential research opportunities for a high school student?

• Project Timeline – Can the project provide meaningful results during the student’s tenure?
• Funding – Can the research be completed with existing resources?
• Management Relevance – Can the research provide usable recommendations to land managers to improve ecosystem quality and function?

Eligibility • Candidates must be enrolled in a U.S.-accredited college (Master’s or PhD program).
• Applicant must be willing to mentor a high school student in our authentic research program, the Wildlife Technician Program (WTP).
• All proposed studies should include the Gorge and/or its watershed as one of the study sites, although other sites may be used as well.
Compensation: RAPs are awarded a research grant of $5,000 for two (Master’s) or three (Doctoral) years.
Application Procedure: Please fill-out our RAP Application and submit all necessary paperwork. Applications can be submitted by email.

Applications are reviewed in two stages. To attract a broad array of ideas, we ask candidates to describe their project in two to three pages. Those candidates whose application successfully meets the above evaluation criteria will be interviewed and asked to provide further details before a final selection is made. For examples of previous RAP and WTP projects, please see our Research and Education website pages.

Application Deadline: May 1, 2016
Questions: Please direct questions to Chris Nagy at or 914-234-3455
The mission of Mianus River Gorge, an independent, not-for-profit organization, is to preserve, protect and promote appreciation of the natural heritage of the Mianus River watershed through land acquisition and conservation, scientific research and public education throughout the region.
Mianus River Gorge, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, New York 10506     914-234-3455

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