Research Request Policy

Research Proposal Application

All proposals for new research at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center will be reviewed by the Upham Woods Research Review Board, which will decide if the proposal is approved, denied, or must be modified for reconsideration. No research may be initiated until a proposal has been reviewed and approved. Ideally, any grant application seeking funding for research at Upham Woods should be submitted for approval to the Upham Woods Research Review Board before submission to any funding agency or organization. Such prior approval would eliminate uncertainties about the suitability of the planned research for Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center.

To submit a research proposal, please be familiar with the guidelines for research as explained in the Upham Woods Research Policy. Your research proposal is to be submitted electronically to the Research Program Specialist via the Upham Woods Research Request Form. The online form will be automatically sent to the Research Program Specialist for review.

Research Proposal Review Procedures

The policy articulated here is instituted to provide consistency and reliability in the review process. It is our goal to complete the review process within 30 days of electronic submission of a proposal. Exceptions to this 30-day interval may occur if complex questions or issues arise during the review process.

Upon receipt, the Research Program Specialist (RPS) will examine and categorize each proposal according to whether it represents (A) Extensive destructive sampling, experimental manipulations, the potential for lasting impacts, or the potential to impact existing studies or areas zoned for protection; (B) Minor manipulation and/or observation without lasting effect on the habitat or on other existing studies; or (C) Work that is obviously outside the scope of what is permissible at Upham Woods or outside the scope of Upham Woods’s mission.

Those research proposals in Category C will be returned forthwith with an explanation from the RPS to the author(s), with a copy of the proposal and correspondence sent to the Research Review Board.

The RPS will immediately electronically send a copy of any proposal in Categories A or B to all current Upham Woods researchers, including Review Board members. Current Upham Woods researchers will have a chance to submit comments (especially any comments on potential conflicts with existing projects) to the RPS during the next 10 days after proposal submission.

After consideration of any comments received on a proposal, those research proposals in Category B may be approved by the RPS without further review.

Comments on those research proposals in Category A will be distributed to all members of the Research Review Board (except not to a member with significant conflict of interest, i.e., if the proposal was written by that member or that member’s student or post-doc, etc.) for consideration as part of the formal review process. Within ten days of the time of submission of a proposal, each member of the Board will write a brief review of the proposal, and will tentatively recommend approval, rejection, or modifications. A proposal receiving a majority of Board recommendations for its approval will be approved unless the RPS feels that the review process has raised issues that should be addressed. The RPS may request further discussion by the Board, or modifications to the proposal by its authors, and one or more additional rounds of voting after receiving modifications and/or after discussion.

If the Board has significant questions, suggestions, or objections that lead to a recommendation for modifications, copies of the reviews will be sent back to the researchers with a cover letter requesting clarification or revision. If modifications are requested, the review process may well exceed the original time goal. Modified proposals receiving a majority of Board recommendations for approval will be approved.

Anyone whose proposal was rejected has the right to request reconsideration by the Research Review Board after providing it with responses to review comments and a modified proposal. The Board will provide a decision that articulates the basis of its decision in relation to Upham Woods Land Use Policy. Anyone whose proposal is rejected after this process may petition the Director of Upham Woods for reconsideration, providing additional comments and/or modifications to the research plan.

Research and Land Use Policy

Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center is an educational facility first and foremost, but also supports experiments that further the understanding of the Wisconsin River Corridor ecosystem and forest community. All experiments that manipulate or otherwise destruct the landscape are subject to the Upham Woods research review process.

Guidelines may need to be re-evaluated by the Center Director of Upham Woods in response to specific requests for research. When deciding whether or not to grant requests for deviations from these guidelines, those making the decision will weigh the potential significance of scientific knowledge that would be gained by the research against the potential cost to future research because of such land use. The ultimate goal is the sustainable use of Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center as a place for educational, experimental, and observational ecological research. The final decision on any deviations from these guidelines, in all cases, rests with the Center Director, who will seek advice and guidance from the Research Review Board.

Site Access

To improve security and safety and to provide Upham Woods with valuable information on site usage, personal are required to check in before going to any field site. Research personnel are required to check in at the Welcome Center before accessing the property.

Site Usage

If you are not a University of Wisconsin researcher, and are funded by a grant that does not pay overhead to the University of Wisconsin, there is a $500/year fee for experimental studies and a $300/year fee for observational studies. Office, lab, bench, and storage space is unavailable at Upham Woods.  If your needs would interfere with on-going Upham Woods projects or educational clients, you may be asked to modify your on site timing. Whenever possible, visiting researchers are requested to incorporate a 30-45 minute talk with on-site staff and clients to explain the research they are conducting and take questions by the group.

Use of equipment and laboratory space is subject to the current day or half day use rates per researcher.

Food and lodging may be available for traveling researchers. Include possible dates that you would need lodging and food. Rates for researchers are billed as adult groups, which can be found at: Upham Woods Rates and Regulations.

Human Subjects

All research at Upham Woods involving human subjects must conform to the policies laid out by the University of Wisconsin’s Institutional Review Board, available at Completion of IRB to be submitted with your application prior to consideration for approval at Upham Woods.

Animal Subjects

All research at Upham Woods involving animal subjects must conform to the policies laid out by the University of Wisconsin’s Institutional Review Board, available at Completion of IRB to be submitted with your application prior to consideration for approval at Upham Woods.

Drone Use

If research intends to use Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to collect data, researchers must follow the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s drone policy, available at

Data Submission and Usage

Data from research conducted at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center must be submitted to Upham Woods for archiving. Additionally, summaries from research conducted at Upham Woods will be incorporated into relevant natural resource lessons for educational purposes at the Center. Upham Woods reserves the right to use the news of research promotionally in digital and print formats.


Researchers are required to attribute the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center in the acknowledgements section of their digital and printed publications.


The above research request policy was based from the University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. More information about Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve can be found at: