CCR Banner CCR Home

About the Scholarship

The Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering the fifth annual Reid Bryson Scholarship to honor the life and legacy of our founder, Professor Reid Bryson. The scholarship rewards exemplary students whose research mirrors the innovative and interdisciplinary studies of Professor Bryson, involving either fundamental climate and meteorological processes or topics that connect climate, people, and the environment. This year we will offer $2000 in awards for the top research projects presented by graduate and undergraduate students at the UW Climate Change Symposium, March 5th-6th.

Applicants will showcase their research on a poster (maximum allowable size is 4’ x 4’) to be displayed at the UW Climate Change Symposium on the afternoon of Friday, March 6th, in the Mechanical Engineering Building. Research projects should either be ongoing or completed, rather than proposed work. A panel of judges will determine the winning projects based on originality, presentation, methodology, topical relevance, and overall importance of the research.

Applicants must either be a registered undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from any department or center. The research should either address (1) fundamental climatic and meteorological processes or (2) environmental issues at the interface of climate, people, and the environment. Professor Bryson’s research was highly interdisciplinary, so students from across the sciences and humanities are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should email the title of their project to Dr. Steve Vavrus ( by Friday, February 27th. Please state whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student and how the prize money should be apportioned among team members if submitting a collaborative project.

Professor Reid Bryson (1920-2008) was the founder of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Meteorology and Center for Climatic Research and was the first director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (now the Nelson Institute). Dr. Bryson was one of the pioneers of modern climatology and among the first to explore the influence of climate on humans and human culture. He gained fame for his studies of past and future climate, the relationships between climate and the biosphere, and the interaction of climate and human societies. A polymath, Bryson's scholarly interests ranged from studies of archaeology and geography to geology and limnology, and he tied them together through an abiding interest in weather and climate.

The Reid Bryson Scholarship is an Ideas to Excellence event. Ideas to Excellence, held for a month each spring, showcases the academic and creative work of our undergraduate students. Multiple venues will house events - including exhibitions, poster sessions, presentations and performances - that celebrate excellence in student work. For more information: