Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute logoThe STRI-ASU collaborative research initiative invites applications for graduate students interested in being trained in tropical science in Panama. You may apply either to attend the Tropical Ecology and Conservation Boot Camp, which runs January 13-31, 2020, or the ASU Tropical Biology Study Abroad Course, which runs June 2-19, 2020. The two courses are described in more detail below. Accepted students will have their full costs of course attendance covered (tuition, airfare, room and board), with an option to apply for support to remain in Panama for up to three additional months to collect data for seed projects. Note that salary and health insurance are not included, so you should work with your advisor and graduate program director to ensure adequate coverage.

Applications are due October 30, 2019, and should include: curriculum vitae, a copy of your passport, one page of text describing why you are interested in this training, and how it will benefit your career development. Please indicate in the form which course you are applying for, and if you are also applying for housing and per diem support to remain in Panama for additional time. Your advisor will be asked to submit a reference letter on your behalf that should evaluate your promise as a researcher and the value of this training experience for you. To apply, submit your application.

Additionally, if you applying to the Tropical Ecology and Conservation Boot Camp, submit your application by email to

Tropical Ecology and Conservation Boot Camp

This course is a 19-day immersion experience in neotropical ecology and conservation. Students will be: 1) exposed to key aspects of tropical biology and conservation (past, present and future); 2) introduced to a variety of tropical ecosystems, experimental sites and global partnerships; and 3) challenged with a mix of lectures and short field research projects. The course is for beginning graduate students interested in research in the neotropics. A key course goal is to help each student to develop a longer, 2-3 month independent project, which would result in a publication or seed a larger dissertation project.

ASU Tropical Biology Study Abroad Course

This is a project-focused 17-day course in tropical biology. Students will be introduced to tropical geography, ecology and organisms, as well as Panamanian history and culture, with a mix of lectures, hikes in various tropical ecosystems and excursions to cultural highlights within Panama. The primary focus of the course is to develop and execute a small independent research project in tropical biology. You will develop a proposal, collect and analyze data and present your results in oral and written form. From the past three years of the course, we have one student first-authored paper, and seven manuscripts in various stages of development.


Questions? Email Jon Harrison