About DRI

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. For more than 50 years DRI research faculty, students, and staff have applied scientific understanding to support the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. With more than 500 employees and two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI serves as the non-profit environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

DRI’s faculty members are nontenured, entrepreneurial and responsible for their own salaries from external grants and contracts. This blend of academic rigor and private-sector pragmatism has earned DRI a reputation for delivering rapid, high quality environmental science in a businesslike fashion.

Our Mission

We excel in basic and applied research and the application of technologies to improve people's lives throughout Nevada and the world. We implement this mission by fostering scientific and engineering talent. We apply scientific understanding to the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities.

Our Vision

We seek to be the world's scientific leader investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing environmental technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. We will achieve this vision by increasing scientific knowledge and understanding of the earth's environment, promoting preservation of diverse ecosystems, advancing responsible resource management, and improving human health and welfare.

DRI Facts

  • 560 employees
  • 400+ global research projects
  • 150 Ph.D. research faculty specializing in more than 40 scientific fields
  • 60 specialized labs, including a mountaintop observatory in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and a Solar Research Facility in Boulder City, Nevada
  • $30 million in annual revenue from research grants and contracts, state support and private-sector research and development
  • More than 50 DRI faculty teach courses and advise students at universities and colleges throughout the Nevada System of Higher Education
  • DRI invest $1.6 million in non-state dollars for graduate student research at University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Since 2000, DRI entrepreneurial faculty have leveraged $110 Million in state appropriation from the Nevada State Legislature to attract more than $510 Million in external research grants and contracts from federal, local and private sponsors. DRI provides the State of Nevada with a $4.6-to-$1 direct return on its investment.