Family Care Program Logo    USPA Family Care Program (FCP)

The USPA Family Care Program (FCP) was created to support and recognize the additional financial and logistical burdens placed upon families within the permafrost community. We believe that caregivers should not have to constantly make the hard choice between personal obligations and career success. The USPA aims to support researchers in diverse familial situations with this novel and newly launched program providing caregiver grants for all types of human care for permafrost families. In addition, the program will organize and host events and provide resources for balancing work and care responsibilities. 

Family care, such as childcare or elder care, is often not an allowable expense on research grants which can create both financial and logistical burdens on permafrost researchers. These care responsibilities can sometimes prevent permafrost scientists and engineers from performing work duties, such as conducting fieldwork, or attending meetings and conferences. The purpose of the FCP is to provide financial support to alleviate research-related financial burdens, thus improving accessibility and inclusivity for caregivers in permafrost-related fields.

April 2024 Caregiver Awards have been awarded!

Congratulations to this cycle's recipients!

Dr. Adrian Rocha, Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
Dr. Jacqueline Hung, Research Scientist, Woodwell Climate Research Center

Fund Eligibility:

Caregiver awards support permafrost-related work for researchers, scientists, and engineers at US-based institutions and companies. Only current USPA members (prior to applying) are eligible for the award. If you are not a current member, please become a new member or renew your lapsed membership before continuing with the application.

Funding distributed by the FCP can be used for any additional caregiving expenses related to conducting travel-related work activities. Examples include, but are not limited to: travel and other costs associated with bringing dependents to meetings and field sites, compensation for professional or informal caregivers in the primary caregiver’s absence, travel expenses such as transportation for an alternate caregiver to travel to the dependent’s home or to accompany the primary caregiver and the dependent to the conference/fieldwork, and breast milk or medicine storage and shipping. 

We accept applications for all types of human care for family members of the permafrost community. Our donation-sourced funds allow us to fund applicants from all career stages, unlike some other funding sources that have specific career stage requirements. 

Application Process:

Applicants must be USPA members and funds can only support work that is related to permafrost science and engineering.

The use of funds will be available year-round with two deadlines to apply. These deadlines are approximately mid-April and mid-October annually with targeted grant award notifications sent out approximately by early May and early November respectively. Two awards of $500 each will be awarded during each funding round.

The application will be available in April 2024.  Applications will be reviewed using a point system inspired by the USPA-PYRN Educational Fund committee. Applications will be reviewed by breaking down criteria categories such as: relevance of research to permafrost science or engineering, financial need, first or previous recipient and quality of materials presented. 

Award Terms:

Two conditions will be attached to the awards that must be met by awardees. These conditions are in place to measure the program’s impact and to support the program’s longevity and growth. 

(1) Acknowledge the award in all associated presentations and published peer-reviewed journal articles.

(2) Provide a short (less than 250 word) testimonial* of how the award was used and how it benefited the awardee’s permafrost-related activities. 

(3) If awarded, provide a mailing address to receive funds.

*Testimonials can be anonymized at the discretion of the awardee to use in program fundraising efforts and in assessing the success of the program. Testimonials will also be featured on the program webpage.


(1) Can I submit two applications in a single application cycle, for example, one to support fieldwork and one to support going to a conference?

No, we only accept one application per person.

(2) Are non-US citizens eligible for a caregiver award?

Yes, both US citizens and non-citizens are eligible as long as you are based at a US institution or company.

(3) Can the caregiver award support fieldwork or conference attendance outside of the US?

Yes, the award supports work-related travel outside of the US as long as you are based at a US institution or company.

(4) How many funding cycles annually are there for an FCP caregiver award?

There are two deadlines annually for caregiver awards, the April deadline supports spring and summer work-related travel, and the October deadline supports fall and winter work-related travel.

Program Funding Acknowledgements:

The USPA FCP is a self-funded program that is supported through individual donations, and a grant. We'd like to thank everyone for their support of the program. Our sponsors include Polar Science Early Career Community Office (PSECCO) through an accepted BAJEDI application (NSF Award #2135176) to support two grants for early career professionals. We also thank Arctic Foundations and an Anonymous Donor for their generous donations!

Thank you to all of our individual donors as well! FCP accepts donations year-round, please consider donating today! The program logo was created by Arctic Haven Studio through a donation from Melissa Ward Jones.


PSECCO Logo     AFI_Logo  Anonymous Donor UAF INE Logo

The Family Care Program was established in cooperation with the USPA DEI Committee. To ask questions or to get involved, please reach out to the current chair(s) of the DEI committee or Melissa Ward Jones ([email protected]). To see a list of current members of the DEI committee, follow the link below.

USPA Committees