2017 Schedule of Events

The Nevada Medal2017 Schedule of Events 

Monday, September 25th (Reno)

  • 11:45 am - DRI faculty and staff luncheon at DRI 
  • 5:30 pm - Nevada Medal Event - Cocktail reception inside the Tuscany Ballroom at the Peppermill Resort Casino
  • 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm - Nevada Medal Event - Main event inside the Tuscany Ballroom at the Peppermill Resort Casino

Tuesday, September 26th (Reno)

  • 9:00 am - Women Shaping the Future of Science and Technology, Panel Discussion at DRI

Wednesday, September 27th (Las Vegas)

  • 11:45 am - DRI faculty and staff luncheon at DRI
  • 5:30 pm - Nevada Medal Event - Cocktail reception inside The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel 
  • 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm - Nevada Medal Event - Main event inside The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel

DRI Innovation Research Program

Supporting DRI's faculty, students, and technical staff to pursue their very best ideas.

The purpose of this Program is to increase the opportunities for DRI’s faculty and technical staff to succeed in their research by financially supporting their very best ideas, thus enhancing DRI’s reputation as the place to be to undertake environmental research on our Earth System.

Postdoctoral Scholar Fund

  • Recruiting the best and brightest scientists to DRI.
  • Impact: Ensures that DRI will have a pipeline of world-class scientific leaders for future succession to the faculty. 
  • Benefits to DRI: Increases the probability of new partnerships with ongoing and innovative research projects that incorporate new ideas and novel approaches. This approach will begin to change the demographics of DRI toward a more junior staff, thus ensuring the future of scientific leadership across the Institute.

Early-Career Faculty Innovation Fund

  • Launches the faculty career of rising researchers.
  • Impact: Provides new faculty with a financial incentive to pursue new ideas, projects and research opportunities, develop new collaborative partnerships (e.g. corporate/public). Allows for professional development through the attendance of workshops, conferences, and seminars. Provides opportunities for teaching/graduate student supervision.
  • Benefits to DRI: Helps in retention of Postdoctoral Scholars and current DRI early-career faculty because it shows that DRI is committed to its faculty thereby increasing morale. Helps leverage future DRI grants and contracts success by providing an opportunity to produce data illustrating that the proposed project is viable.

Mid-Level Faculty Innovation Fund

  • Providing mid-level faculty the time to collaborate on new proposals and programs. 
  • Impact: Affords these faculty opportunities in professional development by pursuing new ideas, projects and research opportunities, and developing new collaborative partnerships (e.g. corporate/public). Offers opportunities for more involvement in teaching and supervising both undergraduate and graduate students from UNR, UNLV, Nevada State College and the community colleges.
  • Benefits to DRI: Helps DRI retain the best faculty at this level in their careers. Enhances their probability of success in competing for federal and state grants and contracts.

Senior Faculty Innovation Fund

  • Providing senior faculty the time to mentor early-career faculty to enhance their opportunity for long-term success.
  • Impact: Affords these faculty members opportunities for developing and leading a major interdisciplinary research program proposal. Affords mentoring opportunities for early-career and mid-level stage faculty. Offers an opportunity to synthesize their breadth of research efforts over their career by writing or editing a book or journal.
  • Benefits to DRI: Offers Senior faculty members time to strategize about long term issues facing the Institute such as how to best use DRI’s intellectual property, DRI’s role in developing partnerships and new programs with UNR, UNLV, Nevada State and the community colleges as well as teaching of undergraduate and graduate students.

Technology Development Fund

  • Offering opportunities for faculty and technical staff to develop the next generation of state-of-the-art instruments and new technology for research
  • Impact: Increases opportunities to develop new corporate/public relationships, which directly support Nevada’s new knowledge-based economy and advances Nevada’s economic development efforts. Provides resources to DRI faculty to develop new intellectual property and/or commercialize existing intellectual property.
  • Benefits to DRI: Helps DRI create an innovative technical environment to recruit the best technical staff for developing unique capabilities in state of the art technology or to expand the capabilities of existing Technical staff. Serves to strengthen DRI’s recruitment and retention of world class scientific leaders of existing technical staff because we have, and so that we can develop the best instrumentation.

New Special Projects Fund

  • Supporting innovative new research and education projects and programs.
  • Impact: Increases opportunities for DRI faculty and staff to develop new ideas and new projects or programs or special events that don’t fit the traditional research funding model.
  • Benefits to DRI: Affords maximum flexibility in DRI’s capability to support innovative research and public engagement ideas from all staff. Offers DRI the opportunity to promote funded special projects externally, thus engaging a wider public audience and external stakeholders.

Dr. Marcia McNutt, 30th Nevada Medalist

marciamcnutt forwebThe Desert Research Institute (DRI) proudly announces the selection of Dr. Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the National Research Council, as its 2017 DRI Nevada Medalist. 

Established in 1988 to acknowledge outstanding achievement in the fields of science and engineering, the DRI Nevada Medal is the highest scientific honor in the state. The 30th DRI Nevada Medal award will be presented by the DRI Foundation during events planned in Reno and Las Vegas in September, 2017.

A distinguished geophysicist, Dr. McNutt’s research focuses on marine geophysics, where she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and helped develop a variety of remote sensing techniques to understand the origin of clusters of volcanoes in the middle of tectonic plates.. From 2013 to 2016, she served as editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, prior to which she served as director of the U.S. Geological Survey from 2009 to 2013, during which time USGS responded to a number of major disasters, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“I am grateful for the recognition of the Nevada Medal not just for all that it means to me personally, but also because it validates the concept that one can forego one’s own personal research career and still have impact through leadership and service to science and the nation,” said Dr. McNutt.

As the first female president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an independent organization conceived by President Abraham Lincoln and chartered by Congress with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology, McNutt serves on the forefront of science education and communication to the highest levels in US government.

Before joining the USGS in 2009, McNutt served as president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), in Moss Landing, California. During her time at MBARI, the institution became a leader in developing biological and chemical sensors for remote ocean deployment, installed the first deep-sea cabled observatory in U.S. waters, and advanced the integration of artificial intelligence into autonomous underwater vehicles for complex undersea missions. 

Her previous honors include membership in the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from the Colorado College, the University of Minnesota, Monmouth University, and the Colorado School of Mines. In 1988, she was awarded the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal for research accomplishments by a young scientist, and she received the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her contributions to deep-sea exploration.

“Dr. McNutt is a true inspiration,” said DRI Acting President, Dr. Robert Gagosian. “She represents the extraordinary achievements that can be accomplished and the significant impact one can have on science and the public’s perception of how to solve our most difficult  problems and the greatest challenges facing our planet and all of humankind. She is an exceptional mentor and has shaped the careers of so many people with her desire to instill in people her love for science.”

The 30th annual DRI Nevada Medal events are scheduled for Monday, September 25th, 2017 at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno; and Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. 

Over the last 29 years, the DRI Foundation has honored individuals in science and engineering whose prominent research contributions have ranged from mapping the human genome and explaining protein folding to discovering  hydrothermal vents from the ocean floor off the Galapagos and advancing our knowledge of archaeological discoveries across the globe.

Recent recipients of the DRI Nevada Medal include Duke University professor and unmanned systems expert Dr. Missy Cummings; NASA astrobiologist and Mars Science Laboratory mission member Dr. Chris McKay; and National Geographic Explorer and University of California, San Diego research scientist Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin. A full list of all 29 award recipients is available online at www.dri.edu/nvmedal.

The DRI Nevada Medal award includes an eight-ounce minted medallion of .999 pure Nevada silver and $20,000 lecture honorarium.

Proceeds Benefit the DRI Innovation Research Program

With a goal of raising $1 million per year, for the next five years, to financially support the opportunity for DRI faculty, students, and technical staff to pursue their very best ideas.

DOWNLOAD the 2017 DRI Nevada Medal Sponsorship Brochure

reserve tickets
Cocktail hour begins at 5:30p.m.
Dinner begins at 6:30p.m.
Dress is business attire.
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Exclusive invitation to DRI Unmanned Aerial Systems Field Day (Fall 2017)        
Special Invitation to Governor’s Mansion Sponsor Reception (Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017)        
Exclusive DRI Antarctic Expedition Jacket (logo’d)      
Event Program Advertisement






Sponsor Recognition During Evening Award Ceremony + Multiple Social Media Mentions      
Premier Table Location Option    
Sponsor Mention on Event Marketing Materials + Website + One Social Media Mention
One Table of Eight (8) at Either Reno —OR— Las Vegas Event
Nevada Medal logo


Iris Stewart
President's Office
(775) 673-7312
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Dawn Coots
Events Coordinator
(775) 674-7555
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