Coronavirus (COVID-19) Campus Updates

Access to DRI’s research campuses remains limited to essential research functions only. Face coverings and social distancing is required at all times. More information is available at

DRI is working with local and state health authorities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our state. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the most up-to-date information about the status of COVID-19 in the United States, prevention measures, and what to do if you are feeling ill. To remain vigilant and prepared, DRI will continue to align our communication and information sharing with the Washoe County Health District, the Southern Nevada Health District, the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, and the Nevada System of Higher Education.

60 years of scientific discovery and innovation, in Nevada and around the world

Since 1959, the faculty, students, and staff at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) have advanced scientific knowledge to help solve pressing environmental challenges and improve human health and welfare.

With more than 400 employees, over 300 projects on all seven continents, and two world-class research campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI serves as one of the eight institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Learn more about Atmospheric Sciences

Atmospheric Sciences

Research and services related to air quality and associated health risks, climate, cloud and aerosol physics, renewable energy, fire science, and atmospheric dynamics.

Learn more about Hydrologic Sciences

Hydrologic Sciences

Research, development, and education services contributing to society’s fundamental understanding of hydrologic systems and advancing the sustainability of water resources.

Learn more about Earth and Ecosystems Sciences

Earth & Ecosystem Sciences 

Research in the life and earth sciences, particularly those dealing with the complex interactions of geological processes, organisms, biological communities, and human societies.

Learn more about Education and Workforce Development

Education & Workforce Development

Training Nevada’s K-12 teachers and providing professional development opportunities and training for education-based activities.

31st DRI Nevada Medal 

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in a virtual event, Governor Steve Sisolak will formally present the 31st DRI Nevada Medal to Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, a distinguished scientist, astronaut, and explorer.

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, winner of the 2021 Nevada Medal

Desert Research Institute Foundation Welcomes New Board Members and Officers

Newly-Appointed Trustees and Officers Bring Diverse Experience and Background to Leadership Roles at Global Environmental Research Leader  LAS VEGAS (Feb. 23, 2021) - The DRI Research Foundation, based in Nevada, is announcing the addition of long-time community leaders to its Board of Trustees...
DRI scientist Monica Arienzo collects data for the Tahoe Rain or Snow project with Lake Tahoe in the distance.

Traditional hydrologic models may misidentify snow as rain, new citizen science data shows

Normally, we think of the freezing point of water as 32°F – but in the world of weather forecasting and hydrologic prediction, that isn’t always the case.

Kathryn Sullivan, winner of the 2021 Nevada Medal

DRI Foundation Celebrates International Women and Girls in Science Day Feb. 11; Launches registration for spring event honoring world-renowned former NASA Astronaut

The 31st DRI Nevada Medal will honor Earth Explorer Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan during special evening hour-long virtual program on April 20, 2021   LAS VEGAS (Feb. 9, 2021) - DRI Foundation is marking International Women and Girls in Science Day on February 11 with the launch of
A summer monsoon rain event brings dark clouds and a rainbow to the East River watershed of Colorado.

As climate warms, summer monsoons to produce less streamflow

A new paper led by DRI’s Rosemary Carroll points to both the importance of monsoon rains in maintaining the Upper Colorado River’s water supply and the diminishing ability of monsoons to replenish summer streamflow in a warmer future with less snow accumulation.

Environmental Research Areas

Environmental Research Areas

DRI faculty and staff work in over 40 scientific fields on all seven continents.

40 Laboratories and Facilities

40 Laboratories and Facilities

DRI has more than 40 specialized labs and facilities on research campuses in Reno and Las Vegas.

60 Years of Scientific Excellence

60 Years of Scientific Excellence

Since 1959, DRI has contributed to solving our toughest environmental challenges.

As a non-profit, we rely on your support.

By making a gift to DRI, you’re providing the resources our scientists need to better understand and address the challenges posed by our changing planet.