Sponsored Projects

Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX)

About the Program

Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) is an NSF funded initiative (award #1831075) to provide training in international research for graduate students. Graduate student research is often constrained by the resources, ideas, and culture of the home institution. International collaborations enhance graduate students’ ability to think critically and creatively, make cross-disciplinary connections, and stretch one's field of view while gaining competency in an international environment and increasing their network of colleagues.

The ASLO LOREX program aims to foster international research collaborations through professional development training open to the all ASLO student members and to provide a competitive paid research exchanges opportunity for select graduate students. Professional development training will occur through webinars, web resources, and conference workshops. The paid international exchanges will allow up to 30 US-based graduate students per year to travel to one of seven international host institutions to conduct collaborative research in aquatic science.

Dr. Adrienne Sponberg, ASLO Director of Communications and Science, discusses the LOREX program during a Wiley Executive Seminar interview.

Professional Development Training

International collaboration requires critical skills in communication, cultural sensitivity, building and maintaining collaborations, and an understanding of logistical considerations. The LOREX program will offer training opportunities in these skills areas and will be open to all graduate students. Webinars with leaders from the ASLO community with a successful history of international collaborations, as well as government representatives and social scientists who study international collaborations, will occur throughout the year. In-person opportunities will occur at ASLO conferences (2019 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan, 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego, 2020 ASLO Summer Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, and the 2021 Aquatic Sciences Meeting).

2018-2019 Webinars and Workshops (Subject to Change):

September 28, 2018 Webinar: Information webinar about the program and application process 

December 2018 Webinar: Initiating and maintaining international research collaborations.

December 2018-February 2019: Site-Specific Introductory Webinars

February 24, 2019: Half-day workshop on the weekend before Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico

February 25-1 March: Town Hall and panel discussions during the Aquatic Sciences Meeting

Spring 2019 Webinar: Managing international research. This webinar will discuss research permits, funding, cultural, and political considerations.

Fall 2019 Webinar: Maintaining productive international relationships including cultural sensitivity, language barriers, etc.

Research Exchange Opportunity

ASLO anticipates supporting ~30 students for carrying out competitive international research exchanges during the 2018-19 program year. Each participant will receive focused international collaboration professional development training, as well as support for travel and living expenses at the host institution. Partial funding to attend the February ASLO meeting will also be available. 


Students (U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident) enrolled in US-based graduate programs may apply. You must be an ASLO member.  Research projects in any area of aquatic science are eligible for funding, including but not limited to biological, physical, chemical, geological and social limnology or oceanography as long as they are conducted in collaboration with foreign scientists at one of the host institutes.

Key Award Dates:

Call for Applications: September 10, 2018

Application Due: October 30, 2018

Award Announcements: November 22, 2018

Research Exchange Experiences (Note: each institution has its own program dates):


Canada: May 2019

Sweden: mid to late June 2019


Australia: mid June 2019 and January 2020

Israel: January 2020

Host Institutions

LOREX research exchange students will conduct collaborative research in one of seven field stations managed by ASLO members in Australia, Canada, Israel and Sweden. These sites represent diverse settings for research from coastal to open ocean, tropics to high latitudes saline, brackish and fresh waters. The countries represent established or expanding environments for international collaboration, with three of the four countries identified as most “internationally connected” by a recent analysis.  

Australia (Southern Cross University)

National Marine Science Centre at Coffs Harbor
Marine Ecology Research Centre at Lismore
Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry at Lismore


Dalhousie University, The Department of Oceanography


The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences (University of Haifa)
Inter University Institute for
Marine Science in Eilat


Climate Impacts Research Centre at Abisko Scientific Research Station (Umeå University)

The research sites have state of the art research facilities and laboratories and focus on diverse aquatic fields of research (biological, physical, chemical, geological and social). Further, each of the research sites offers LOREX students the opportunity to conduct collaborative aquatic research in a stimulating and supportive environment. The local scientists affiliated with these sites cover the broad areas of research represented by the ASLO community. The participating institutions also have ample experience with hosting foreign collaborators as well as the infrastructure (lodging, labs, boats etc.) needed to easily facilitate program logistics. English is frequently the spoken language at the labs.

Each site will host information sessions, an orientation, and a field trip for the incoming LOREX students to introduce them to the country, region, and the research in the lab. Each site will also host a seminar in which each of the incoming LOREX students will present their planed research project to the local students and scientists.  Interested applicants should contact potential collaborators to discuss their research interests and ideas before applying.

How to Apply

Students wishing to participate in the LOREX collaborative research program should apply via the ASLO website. A complete application package will include:


  • Project Cover Page (1-page maximum) – listing project title, student’s name, current institution, adviser(s) name, year in program, thesis title, and potential exchange site and collaborator(s)
  • Abstract (300 words maximum) – concisely states the objectives, methods, and rationale of the proposed research project, and includes 5 key words
  • Project Description (3-page maximum) – provides an introduction that includes the rationale and problem to be addressed, project objectives, background, approach to be used, and explanation of why the project is needed, project feasibility and time line, and dissemination of the results
  • Project Justification (1-page maximum) – state why it is important for you to conduct this research, why it is important to do it at the host institution, and how it will contribute to your thesis and future career goals
  • References (1-page maximum) – list of literature cited in the project proposal

Letter of Support

  • Required – Letter from the thesis advisor indicating support for their student to participate in the exchange program, and their student’s potential to conduct the research and be an international collaborator.
  • Optional – Letter from the potential collaborator(s) indicating their willingness to host the student in their lab and collaborate on the research. Please note this is not required; however, if a collaborator has been contacted and is willing to collaborate please include a letter.

Students may select an alternate host institution on the application form. This information will be used to place highly-competitive applicants in the case that all slots at the preferred host institution are filled.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee made of ASLO board members, regular members, staff, and a representative from each host institution. Complete applications will be evaluated based on: 1) the quality of the research proposed and intellectual merit, 2) feasibility of the project and need to conduct the research overseas, 3) a clearly stated role of the collaborator, and 4) the benefit to the student.

Award Conditions

LOREX research program awardees are required to participate in in-person (at the ASLO conferences) and online meetings in preparation for the field work and to coordinate logistical aspects of the program. Students participating in the program will be participate in a formal evaluation of the program and will also be invited to present their work in a special session dedicated to the LOREX program at the ASLO conference following their field work to share their experience with the next cohort of students at that meeting. LOREX students will also disseminate the results of their research exchange more broadly in coordination with ASLO’s Communication and Science Office through multimedia blog and social media posts as well as collaborative peer reviewed publications. Students are expected to be present and conducting research on the program dates outlined by the host institution (see Award Dates Above).

The LOREX coordinator will obtain and directly pay travel expenses and logging costs at the field sites. Students will be provided with an adequate allowance for each site to cover other expenses (food, transportation, etc.).   


General questions regarding the ASLO LOREX program should be made to Adina Paytan (apaytan@ucsc.edu)

Questions regarding the application form should be made to webeditor@aslo.org.