Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, was a pioneer and trailblazer in research on dolphin sensory perception and cognition, and humpback whale behavioral ecology. This work was carried out through the world renowned Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory (KBMML) that he established in 1969 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also co-founded The Dolphin Institute (TDI), dedicated to dolphins and whales through education, research, and conservation. KBMML/TDI’s findings on marine mammals were published in over 160 scientific papers and featured in more than 230 national and international media articles, television and radio programs, and documentary films. Dr. Herman’s life’s work significantly influenced marine mammal conservation. It also had an enormous impact on the lives and careers of countless interns, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, visiting faculty, and volunteers from around the world, all of whom played important roles in the unique research team he assembled over more than four decades. Dr. Herman will always be remembered for his innovative, creative, and scientifically rigorous approach to the study of the marine mammals he so loved, and for the future generations of marine mammal researchers he and his work continue to inspire. Read more about Dr. Herman’s legacy here.

Dr. Herman’s family, colleagues, and friends established the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship in 2017 to honor his legacy, by promoting the type of research that was the focus of his ground-breaking studies. The Scholarship is given every two years. You can learn about our past awardees here.
The 2024 award will be for USD $6,000.

The Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship supports a research project that contributes to our understanding of either cetacean cognition and sensory perception (laboratory or field studies), or humpback whale behavioural ecology or communication. Work with other marine mammals that especially enhances our understanding of their cognitive abilities will also be considered. Eligible candidates include graduate students and those students who have completed their Masters or PhD within the past three years.


The application must include the following materials and be submitted by Monday, 5 February 2024 (10pm, Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time GMT-10 hours). 

All materials must be uploaded via the upload link.

  • Cover Page and File Upload Link.
      • Applicant Name
      • Email
      • Proposal Title
      • School/Affiliation
      • Degree (include date received or anticipated graduation date)
      • Total Project Budget
      • Project Location/Laboratory
      • Project Start Date
      • Project End Date
      • Project Abstract (300 word limit). Briefly summarise your project.  (This should be the same as the language you enter in the form).
  • Project Proposal. Describe proposed project following the labelled sections below. Proposal should not exceed 3 pages in length (Times font, 12-point type, single-spaced, 1-in margins).
      • Background. Include overarching problem/challenge research will address and literature review.
      • Project Importance and Relevance. What contributions or advancements will the proposed research make to marine mammal science?  In addition, what is the role of the proposed work in enhancing our understanding of cetacean (or other marine mammal) cognition and sensory perception or humpback whale behavioural ecology or communication. Please include how your project reflects or builds upon the research and interests of Dr. Herman and/or how your career has been influenced by his work.
      • Goals and Objectives. Statement of overall goals and measurable objectives.
      • Methods. Include project design, location, field site or laboratory procedures, equipment, and analysis plan. If you are working in a laboratory setting, provide information on the research subjects, including their research experience (e.g., # of subjects, sex, age, years of research experience, etc.).
      • Outreach Plan. Please describe how you plan to share your research progress and findings (e.g., presentations, publications, social media, etc.).
      • Project Timeline. Include a time frame for all elements of the project.
  • References Cited.
  • Project Personnel. List each key person(s) conducting the research and his/her role (e.g., Project PI, Field Leader, etc., and make sure to list yourself).
  • Project Budget. A detailed budget, including itemized justification.  Please make sure to include:
      • Budget for the full project if it exceeds the award amount
      • How the award monies will be used specifically for the proposed project
      • Information on other funding applied for or already secured
  • Current Curriculum Vitae.
  • Letters of Reference. Two (2) professional letters of reference.
      • Letters should include referee’s email address, phone number, and relationship to applicant. One of these letters should be from the student’s supervisor.
  • Research Permits. Verification of necessary research permits and/or authorizations.
  • Degree. Verification that the student is currently enrolled in a university degree programme or proof of a graduate degree.

The award recipient will be notified by April 16 2024, with an expectation that the awardee will submit to present their research project  at a subsequent Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. We will award an additional sum (up to US$500) to support travel costs to an SMM Conference, contingent on an accepted submission and completed presentation relevant to the research conducted for the award.

Please address all inquiries to the Awards and Scholarships Chair, Dr. Lindsay Porter (awardschair@marinemammalscience.org)