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Safe Arborist Techniques Fund 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.

TREE Fund does not fund the following types of projects, and will not accept applications for such work:

  • Projects that are primarily municipal tree surveys or assessments;
  • Tree planting programs;
  • Studies of individual tree species for the primary purpose of agricultural or timber/forest planting yield;
  • Commercial tree- or soil-related product testing primarily for the benefit of the company that manufactures the product.


TREE Fund will accept applications only between January 17 and March 15, 2018. To apply, send an email containing a brief (no more than 100 words) description of your project title and concept to TREE Fund staff with confirm eligibility for consideration, and if your concept qualifies, will send you a numbered application form for your use.

Upon completion of this application form, you will save a Word version for your records, then create a PDF version of the completed document with title in the format “PI Surname, Grant Program, Application Number” (e.g. “Smith, SATF, #17-023”), and email it as an attachment to with a PDF of PI and Co-PI (if applicable) CVs. Staff will confirm receipt of your application at that time.

In addition to contact and CV information for the PI, Co-PI(s), and any student assistants, applicants will need the following information to complete the form. Note well that word count limits are firm and absolute. Exceeding word counts may result in your application being rejected before review. Applicants should compose their text in Word or related systems that allow counts to be confirmed before they are placed in the application form.

Project Description:

  • Overall Project Summary, Including Overarching Goals (400 Words Maximum): A brief statement of the current issue/problem and its impact on arboriculture, urban forestry, and the professions that are involved with researching, planning, designing, growing, planting, managing and/or otherwise maintaining urban trees; and goals of the proposed research.
  • Description of Measurable Outputs/Outcomes (250 Words Maximum): Include a list of the tangible outputs (publications, extension/outreach materials, posters, etc.) from this project and identify up to five measurable outcomes (real changes in day-to-day urban forest design or management) that are expected to result from work proposed.
  • Current Knowledge/Past Research in Project Area (1,000 Words Maximum, excluding in-text literature citations as described at the end of this section): Description of what is known about the problem/project area and with reference to previous attempts to address it where appropriate; a review of literature and past experiences of the investigative team.
  • Project Work Plan (1,500 Words Maximum): Clearly define the scope of the work to be performed, including hypotheses, design, methodology and analyses. 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.
  • Dissemination Plans (300 Words Maximum): A brief description of activities and outlets used to share the results of this project. Be sure communications with both academic and practitioner communities are addressed.
  • Literature Cited: It may be useful to refer reviewers to previous work published elsewhere. In such cases, cite appropriate works in your text in “Author(s), year” format (e.g. “Smith, 2014” or “Jones, 2003”) and then list those citations alphabetically by first author’s last name as indicated in the following link from the American Phytopathological Society:

Budget Elements, Including:

  • Institutional Compensation, Stipends and Benefits
  • Travel and Transportation
  • Equipment (e.g. Vehicles, Growth Chambers, Etc.)
  • Other Materials and Supplies (e.g. Paper, Ink, Etc.)
  • Contract Labor (Consultants, Speakers, Etc.)
  • Institutional Overhead (Maximum 10%)
  • Other/Miscellaneous
  • Cash or In-Kind Funding from Other Sources (Minimum 10%; unrecovered institutional overhead may be applied to meet this minimum)


Staff will screen all applications for applicant eligibility, word counts, alignment with TREE Fund mission and SATF Charter, and compliance with minimum requirements, then forward compliant applications to the SATF Advisory Board, a subcommittee of TREE Fund’s Research and Education Committee. Members of this committee will score your proposal as follows:

  • Qualifications of the investigative team: 10 points
  • Potential impact of the project: 25 points
  • Approach: 35 points
  • Dissemination plan: 10 points
  • Feasibility: 15 points
  • Discretionary: 5 points.
  • Total Maximum Possible Score: 100 points.

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.


Recommendations on grant awards will be presented by the Research and Education Committee to the TREE Fund Board of Trustees for approval in May, and grant recipient(s) will be notified in writing within two weeks of Trustee approval. A Grant Agreement form that includes a payment and reporting schedule will be provided with award notification. It must be completed within two weeks of notification, and returned to TREE Fund with all required supporting documentation.

Applicants are most strongly encouraged to review the sample Grant Agreement form (which can be viewed here) with their employers’ financial or grant management offices prior to submitting an application, 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.


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. Recipients 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. UAA Newsline, 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.




Save the Dates

You don't want to miss our TWO webinars in May: Invasive Insects of Shade Trees (May 2) and a Utility Arborist Research Fund Update (May 23). Registration for both opens on April 2 HERE.

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