Learn About The FlowCam Grant Programs for Aquatic Research and Education

For Graduate and Undergraduate Students and Professors

Are you studying marine, freshwater or estuarine ecosystems with a focus on microorganisms or other particles? 

Wouldn't you love a method to streamline your research and speed up the tedious process of manual microscopy?

If yes, then keep reading to learn more about the FlowCam Aquatic Research Equipment & Travel Grant program.

Back by popular demand, we will be offering two grant categories: one for graduate level researchers and one for undergraduate faculty members to enrich a particular course or to support a student doing independent research.

This year, projects are not limited to the fall semester; applicants can choose which semester they prefer to have the FlowCam (summer, fall, or spring).

Do you work for a drinking water utility? Click here to be redirected to our Drinking Water Grant Program instead.

At a Glance

Applicants will have an opportunity to win the use of a FlowCam for up to 4 months, plus remote training, technical support, and temporary software licenses. 

The winner will also receive funding of up to $1,250 to present at a major scientific conference in North America within 12  months of project completion. Eligible expenses include conference registration, travel, food, and lodging.

What you can expect with a FlowCam Grant

  • Use of FlowCam and VisualSpreadsheet software
  • Speedy processing: ~1 mL in 6 minutes at 10X
  • Funding to attend a virtual or in-person conference to present your work
  • Run live samples (preferred) or preserved
  • Libraries and resources to help identify  organisms
  • Contactless shipping & training (online, at your own pace)

Graduate Program

Masters or Ph.D. Students

Application Deadline: March 15, 2021  Extended to March 31

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Faculty

Application Deadline: June 15, 2021


General Considerations:

  • The FlowCam grant program is an in-kind grant with no cash value besides that which will be provided to the grant recipients to register for and attend a conference, either via direct payment to the conference organizers or via reimbursement.
  • Applications from international institutions are not being accepted at this time.
  • The FlowCam cannot be taken to sea during the grant period.

Congratulations to our 2020 Grant Winners

Undergraduate: Maine Maritime Academy

Graduate: Savannah Mapes, Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Testimonials from past award recipients 

Nick Ray (Award year: 2016)

Nick Ray was a member of the Fulweiler Lab at Boston University in 2016. Nick used the FlowCam "to investigate phytoplankton community structure at oyster habitats in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, and to test how oysters may exert bottom-up control on phytoplankton communities by changing nutrient availability."

Here's what Nick had to say about the program: "Being able to use a FlowCam for a whole summer allowed me to generate a lot of data that contributed to my dissertation work, and helped an undergraduate student complete a Senior Thesis at Boston University [learn more here]. As part of the grant, Fluid Imaging also funded my attendance at the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation conference in 2017, where I got to share this work and meet other scientists in my field. The FlowCam was easy to use, and everyone I interacted with at Fluid Imaging was incredibly friendly and helpful!" Nick and his colleagues are aiming to submit one of the manuscripts from their FlowCam research in 2020 for publication.

Today, Nick is a coastal ecologist and biogeochemist and recently completed his Ph.D. at Boston University where his research focused on understanding the role of oysters in changing nutrient availability in coastal ecosystems, and the impacts of these changes. When he is allowed to travel, Nick will be starting a postdoc at Stockholm University. 

Keara Stanislawczyk (Award year: 2015)

At the time of her FlowCam award, Keara was a master’s student at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) at the University of Windsor (Ontario), where she compared the FlowCam to traditional microscopy to detecting and identifying rare zooplankton.

“I am very appreciative that Fluid Imaging Technologies has chosen me to receive this award. Use of the FlowCam is essential to completing my master’s degree, and this award will allow me to use the instrument at my University. I hope to understand the FlowCam’s ability to find rare species, specifically rare non-native or invasive species, so that preventative action can be taken in order to protect our natural environments.” Keara presented her work the 2016 International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) conference and Hydrobiologia published her paper in 2017. You can read the paper here.

Today, Keara is a water quality technician in the Stone Laboratory at The Ohio State University. “Our research is focused on harmful algal blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie. In fact, we just got a new FlowCam delivered recently, and we are hoping to start integrating it into our research projects soon.”

Karen Kayfetz (Award Year: 2011)

Karen received the 2011 FlowCam grant as a master’s student at San Francisco State University for her research on copepod feeding dynamics in the San Francisco Estuary.

“The summer I got the award I was about to start the second year of my masters program and had designed an exciting but complicated experiment to measure the phytoplankton prey of an herbivorous copepod,” Karen wrote. “The problem with my experiment was that I needed to rapidly enumerate and identify phytoplankton in up to 48 individual bottles, and I only had a couple of hours to find out what was in the bottles before the rapid growth rates of the phytoplankton would throw off my results. The FlowCam saved me and made this quick work possible! Days or months later I could use the software to verify the automatic sorting, categorize the harder-to-identify particles, and use the data on abundance and size to publish my results!” Karen’s work was published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series in 2017. Read her paper here.

Today Karen is an Environmental Program Manager at the Delta Science Program in the San Francisco area. She leads a team of five scientists working to support the use of science in planning for ecosystem restoration and water management projects in the Delta. For more about Karen’s work, check out @KarenKayfetz on Twitter!

Praise for the FlowCam (2020 Student Grant Program Applicants)

"By having the use of the FlowCam I will be able to collect phytoplankton data for these samples much faster and more accurately than if I do them by use of microscopy alone...I would [also] be able to publish much faster than I originally thought possible." 

"FlowCam will allow us not only to process more samples than we could physically count using only a microscope, but will also afford the opportunity to collect more meaningful and accurate data for size and morphology…” 

"Having this platform used in an undergraduate-only environment would be an excellent benefit for these students, many of whom go onto careers in government or private laboratories that may be using these types of platforms." 

A FlowCam would "improve sample analysis time and quality in two senior thesis projects that have lost significant time...due to campus closures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic." 

"The ability to have nearly real-time data that can be relayed to scientists and resource managers in a changing world is critical. The FlowCam meets the unique challenge of how to rapidly produce quality data." 

"...the FlowCam is perfect for population- and community-level analyses of algae related to their interactions with competitors, predators, and pathogens."

"I can attest to the efficiency a FlowCam can offer and hope that...I can convince my current colleagues through demonstration that a new FlowCam would be a fantastic addition to our lab."