Ruth Gates Memorial Travel Award

Ruth Gates Memorial Young Investigator Travel Award

Dr. Ruth Gates was an outstanding and influential leader and mentor in coral reef research and conservation, and a founding member of the Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program.  Throughout her career, Ruth was a remarkable scientist, visionary, and advisor who was the primary mentor for 6 MSc and 13 PhD students, 13 postdoctoral researchers and countless undergraduates in her lab. Ruth championed research innovation, positive thinking, and science communication. As the first female president of the International Society for Reef Studies, she revitalized the society’s image, membership and mission, and was an exceptional role model for women in science. This travel scholarship aims to honor her contributions to the field of coral biology and the MCR community by providing travel funds for outstanding students to attend a scientific meeting, symposium or conference and present the findings of their MCR-associated research.

The Ruth Gates Memorial Young Investigator Travel Award is awarded every other year in even numbered years award to a MCR affiliated graduate student working on an independent research project that focuses on the biology/ecology/physical oceanography of corals and/or the corals reefs surrounding the island of Moorea under the formal guidance of a Moorea Coral Reef LTER Principal Investigator or Associate Investigator. The award will have a value of up to a maximum of $2000 USD and will be provided to the award recipient as reimbursable travel support. The award may be used to cover such expenses as meeting registration fees, hotel and meal per diem, airfare or other travel expenses related to the recipient’s attendance at a large national or international scientific meeting, symposium or conference. The successful applicant is expected to: (1) present the results of their MCR-related research at a large national or international scientific meeting, symposium or conference, e.g. ECRS, ICRS, ASLO Ocean Sciences, within 12 months of receiving the award,  2) acknowledge the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Long-term Ecological Research program, the Moorea Coral Reef Long-term Ecological Research site  and the Moorea Coral Reef Ruth Gates Memorial Young Investigator Travel Award in any publications and future presentations arising from the presented work and (3) present the funded research presentation at the annual MCR All Investigators Meeting (AIM) immediately following the attended meeting, symposium or conference.

Eligibility: Eligible students must be currently enrolled in or have recently completed (within the past 12 months) their studies in an MCR affiliated graduate program. Students must be or have been under the primary supervision of one or more of the four Principal Investigators or 18 Investigators named on the most recent National Science Foundation award to the Moorea Coral Reef Long-term Ecological Research site (for a list of eligible advisors, please refer to Eligible students must be completing, or have completed, a substantial portion of their graduate thesis or dissertation research on Moorea or make extensive use of data or research materials collected from Moorea by other MCR affiliated researchers. An applicant’s primary research should focus on the biology/ecology/physical oceanography of corals and coral reefs. In recognition of Ruth’s interests and approach to science, this award will seek to recognize: (1) solution-oriented science, (2) the communication of scientific discovery, and (3) diversity among early-career scientists. Students who are in the final stages of their graduate work are especially encouraged to apply. Previous award recipients are ineligible.

Application Details:  Students must submit the following application items in a single MS Word or PDF document via e-mail to Andrew Brooks (  Please include the text “MCR Ruth Gates Travel Award” in the subject line.

  1. A 1 page, single spaced (margins at least 0.75”, font size 11 pt or greater) summary of a) their MCR research as it pertains to the award criteria, and b) contributions to scientific outreach, education, and communication.  Written materials exceeding 1 page will not be considered.
  2. A 1-2 page CV.
  3. A 1 page Letter of Recommendation on university or departmental letterhead from one of the student’s primary dissertation or thesis advisors.  NOTE: This letter may be submitted separately and directly to Andrew Brooks via e-mail to by the letter writer.  Please include the text “LOR for “name of student”, MCR Ruth Gates Travel Award” in the subject line.

Deadline: Not awarded in 2021

Scholarship Review Criteria: The following criteria will be used in determining the award recipient.

  1. Research excellence and alignment with award objectives
  2. Academic and extracurricular scholarship