Request for Proposals: U.S. Research Opportunity for Studying Oak Culture Initiation


13 December 2022



The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) are now accepting proposals for a unique opportunity in a collaborative research study on the in vitro culture initiation in Quercus species. Five grants of up to $5000 will be awarded to study either shoot culture or somatic embryo culture initiation of any species of oak. Cultures must be initiated from trees at least 1 year in age. Protocols will be provided, although additional protocols can also be proposed and tested.

Eligibility: U.S. botanical gardens, zoos, governmental and academic institutions, and others with the ability to conduct in vitro research.

Goal and Scope of the Project: The goal is to create a large dataset of information on factors that can affect the success of initiating shoots or somatic embryos of oaks in in vitro culture. These will include species, the stage of the tissue used, age of the tree, habitat of the tree, and pre-collection weather information. These types of tissues will be needed in the future for cryobanking tissues of oaks for ex situ conservation, and this project is directed at better understanding and improving the success rate of initiating such cultures. CREW will be creating and managing the dataset and adding data from their own studies. These grants are provided to evaluate the effectiveness of technology transfer by providing a standard protocol to other labs, as well as to solicit additional ideas and approaches for improving this process. Guidance will be provided for the types of data on tissue responses needed for the study and will require the use of a dissecting microscope for observations. Data will be uploaded by the collaborators into a common electronic notebook that will be administered at CREW, where the larger dataset will be analyzed.

Timeline: The projects will begin in March 2023, and must be completed by February 2025.

To apply: see PDF for details


Applications should be emailed to and must be received no later than midnight, U.S. Eastern Time, January 6, 2023.

Questions: Please email the PI, Dr. Valerie Pence, at with any questions

Quercus microphylla. Photo credit: Dan Crowley