The Ranges Imaging Mini-Awards

Image by Sharlene Santana ©

Ranges Imaging Mini-Awards

Ranges is pleased to announce the first call for the Ranges Imaging Mini-Awards.

DEADLINE EXTENDED 48 Hours: Applications must be submitted by January 12, 2024, 11:59pm Pacific Time DEADLINE: Applications must be submitted by January 10, 2024, 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Project Characteristics

Ranges Imaging Mini-Awards will enable researchers to produce new images of mammal specimens from biocollections to extend their current research by collecting internal and potentially complex trait data at the intraspecific level that can be integrated with other specimen-level data digitized by Ranges, such as reproduction, habitat, geographic origins, or time. Projects focused on any aspect of morphological variation are welcome.

Anyone affiliated with an institution in the United States can apply for a Mini-Award including graduate students, postdocs, and faculty at all career stages. Preference will be given during review to:

  • Trait-based projects that require expanded spatial and temporal coverage within western North American mammal species (i.e., at the intraspecific level)
  • Understudied and/or diverse clades
  • Trait types currently underrepresented in existing repositories (bone shapes and densities, functional traits of soft tissue structures such as muscle PCSA or fiber architecture)
  • Early-career scientists
  • Projects that include clear plans to increase diversity, inclusivity, and student training opportunities

We have $50,000 in award money and intend to fund 15-20 small projects over the next three years.

Proposal Requirements

Narrative description of the work (4 page maximum). In addition to the research rationale, the description should include:

  • who will perform the work
  • the type of imaging methodology, such as µCT scanning, diceCT (soft tissue anatomy), laser scanning, photogrammetry (external anatomy) where the imaging will occur, including the scanning facility of choice, if applicable. NOTE: If imaging via μCT, applicants are encouraged to utilize one of the four Ranges CT hubs; UNC Greensboro, Texas Tech University, University of Michigan and California State University, Long Beach, although projects are welcome to use facilities with commensurate rates
  • Plans and timeline for deposition of the resulting scans into a “permanent” and public repository (e.g., MorphoSource) with clear links to associated specimen records

A budget (1 page maximum) that includes line items for all costs, including, but not limited to, shipping costs, long-term digital archival storage, travel, and any additional costs associated with imaging. Salary will not be funded.

Student applications must include a simple letter of support from an advisor or laboratory director.

Applicants must be affiliated with an institution in the United States.

Additional Expectations

ALL imaging must be completed BEFORE the end of the 2024 calendar year.

A final report will be due within six months of the completion of the project. The final report must include a public repository link for each specimen imaging dataset generated during the project. Additional information will be provided to projects selected for funding.

Images and the associated data will remain under the stewardship of the specimens’ holding institution and applicants must follow institutional, data aggregator and/or repository guidelines to ensure that the appropriate data usage policies are followed, all licenses and waivers are applied and to clarify approved data usage.


NOTIFICATION: Decisions will be announced via email on or before February 14, 2024.

The review process will be led by Ranges PIs and Advisory Committee Members.

Please direct questions to Ranges Project Magician, David Bloom.

Ranges is a project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (DBI-2228385). Ranges seeks to digitize traits from over one million mammal specimens from 19 natural history museums, with a focus on western North America. The project will allow researchers to build better baselines for biodiversity and improve predictions of how mammals respond to changing environments to address major digitization challenges, expand the utility of specimens and use them to create new scientific knowledge.