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Safe Arborist Techniques Grant



The Safe Arborist Techniques Fund (SATF) is a joint program of Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) and International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), established in 2015 to support research and development and technology transfer on the techniques and equipment that arborists use in climbing, rigging, and working on trees; and the means of identifying potential hazards, to provide a safer working environment. Grant-funded projects are expected to be completed within two years of initial fund disbursement. The maximum award value of SATF grants is $10,000.

Safety is a major concern to practicing arborists, especially as incomplete knowledge of potential hazards can be a life-or-death issue for both tree workers and the public they serve. Detection and prevention of structural degradation of trees via decay and other factors are especially important. However, practitioners face additional challenges when working in sites with live utility wires and whenever their work requires leaving the ground to attend to problem areas.  Thus, research leading to improved equipment and work practices is also a high priority.


Applications may be made between January 15 and and March 15 and will be accepted through the online application form only at Applicants will need the following information to complete the application; work in progress may be saved before final submittal:

  • Written application narrative, to include the following elements and information:
    • Project Summary: A concise synopsis of the other sections of the proposal. (250 words maximum)
    • Statement of Problem: What needs to be learned, and why? (250 words maximum)
    • Current Knowledge in Project Area: Pay particular attention to previous work that provides a basis for questions posed in the current proposal or for the origin/application of new or novel methods to be used herein. (500 words maximum)
    • Description of Outcomes: Identify up to five measurable outcomes that are most likely to result from work proposed herein. (100 words maximum)
    • Project Work Plan: Clearly define the scope of the work to be performed, including design, hypotheses, methodology, and analyses and approximate timetable. (1,000 words maximum)
    • Dissemination Plan: A brief description of activities and outlets used to share the results of this project; see “Reporting Requirements” section below for additional guidance. (100 words maximum)
    • Literature Cited: List all relevant literature cited in the proposal including personal citations that appear in the author’s CV.  N.B. Here and elsewhere, applicants should use author-year method for in-text literature citations as described under “Guidelines for Citing in Text” which can be viewed here.
  • An itemized project budget; note that:
    • TREE Fund requires a match of least 10% cash or in-kind support from other sources; applicant should be prepared to identify such sources;
    • TREE Fund caps institutional overhead costs in its grant awards at 10% of the total TREE Fund-funded amount of the project; unrecovered institutional overhead costs above this cap may be counted toward the required grant match.


Proposals will be evaluated by the SATF Task Force, a joint committee of ISA and TREE Fund, operating as a subcommittee of the TREE Fund Board of Trustees’ Research and Education Committee using the following criteria:

  • Potential Impact of the Topic: Does the project address a problem/issue within TREE Fund’s mission? Does the project pose a novel research question, propose a novel approach to an existing research question or represent a new area of research? Does the project address topics that benefit the everyday work of arborists and urban foresters? Will this project have application to a broad sector of the arboriculture and urban forestry communities? Will measurable outcomes occur as a result of this project?
  • Rigorous Approaches to the Process and Problem: Are the methods and proposed analysis appropriate and scientifically sound? Is the project creative, unique or novel in its approach to the problem? If this is a technology transfer project, is the transfer vehicle/method appropriate for the target audience?
  • Feasibility of the Proposed Scope of Work: Has the investigator demonstrated appropriate qualifications and resources to accomplish the project? Can the project be completed within the given time frame?
  • Budget: Is there a clear explanation of how grant funds will be used in the context of the total project budget? Are additional sources of funding for the project being pursued? Is the potential cost/benefit ratio for this project appropriate?

Applications will be specifically rated and screened per the following rubric:

  • Applicant’s C.V. demonstrates acceptable qualifications. (0 to 5 points)
  • Proposed project directly meets one or more of TREE Fund’s research priorities, identified above. (0 to 10 points)
  • Research has practical application. (0 to 10 points)
  • Methods (including means for data analysis) are clear. (0 to 15 points)
  • Objectives are achievable within proposed time frame and budget (0 to 5 points)
  • Requested funds are matched with at least 10% cash or in-kind support from other sources (0 or 5 points; all or nothing).

TREE Fund does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national or ethnic origin. Current trustees of TREE Fund or any member of the family of any such trustee are ineligible to receive grants from TREE Fund.


Following review and ranking, the SATF Task Force’s recommendations will be presented to the TREE Fund Board of Trustees by the Chair of the TREE Fund Research and Education Committee. Final approval of all SATF awards rests with the TREE Fund Board of Trustees. Notification of award will be made within two weeks of the Board’s May meeting.

A Grant Conditions and Agreement form will be provided with notification, and it must be completed within two weeks of notification, and returned to TREE Fund with all required supporting documentation. Upon TREE Fund’s receipt of the signed Grant Conditions and Agreement form and additional required documents, the full amount of the award less $800 will be sent to the recipient for grants with a project scope of one year’s time or less. For grants  with a project scope of greater than one year, 60% of funding will be provided upon award with the remnant (less $800) provided upon completion of an interim report.  The $800 retention will be held until final and successful completion of all required documentation, including a fair and complete financial statement reflecting the original budget submitted and the actual expenditures. This final report is due to TREE Fund within 15 days of the project completion date identified in the application.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the sample Grant Conditions and Agreement form (which can be viewed here) with their employers’ financial or grant management offices, as appropriate, to ensure that the Agreement forms can be signed expeditiously upon receipt. Potential difficulties with Agreement terms that are identified during the application process may be considered and negotiated more favorably than those presented after the grant award process. Grant recipients will also be required to submit a brief summary of their projects in lay terms, as well as a photo for use in TREE Fund and industry publications, prior to initial payment being disbursed.

The reports shall supply sufficient information as described in the Grant Conditions and Agreement form to verify that the grant is being used for the purposes intended and to allow TREE Fund to fulfill its public reporting responsibilities. 


It is TREE Fund’s explicit desire that research findings eventually be freely and widely available to any and all parties who may benefit from the author’s work. At the same time, TREE Fund recognizes the importance of academic and professional journal publications and will work with grant recipients to ensure that findings are disseminated in a manner that is cognizant of all parties’ schedules and needs. Any anticipated proprietary elements of proposed research must be identified clearly in the initial application. Should applications fail to make such declarations, TREE Fund reserves the right to negotiate royalties from patents, sales, copyrights, or other commercial results of funded research.

Recipient should inform TREE Fund when funded research findings are published or presented at conferences so that these accomplishments can be widely publicized. Recipients should also recognize the support provided by TREE Fund in their articles or presentations related to the funded project. Recipients are strongly encouraged to publish findings to relevant professional journals, i.e. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Arboricultural Journal, Trees: Structure and Function, Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, Plant Pathology, Hortscience, Horticultural Science, Sustainable Development, Landscape and Urban Planning, Journal of Urban Health, Environment and Urbanization, Urban Ecosystems, etc.


Grant Management System provided by WizeHive.


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