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To visit STRI as a scientific researcher you must first register on our registration website. Once you are registered, your next steps depend on whether you are principal investigator, field course instructor, fellow, intern or student — and whether you are a first-time or returning visitor.

Register as a STRI visitor

If you are coming to STRI as a visitor, or if you wish to submit a research project proposal before a visit, the first step is to create a STRI profile with a username and password on our Registration Website.

Register a new project - Principal investigator, Research Associates & Fellows

To register a project, sign into your STRI profile on our Registration Website. Fill out the appropriate fields as indicated. Contact the Visitor Services Office if you have any questions. A research proposal presents a research question, justifies the need for the study and includes a research plan. A proposal should be concise and well documented. Only complete proposals will be considered for approval.

Please note:

New research proposals must be submitted at least four months before the project’s intended start date. This will ensure that any required permits are applied for in time of and that STRI facilities and resources that your project require will be available and ready for use.

If you have forgotten your username and password, please contact

Required permits

Depending on your research project, certain Smithsonian permits may be required at the time you send your research proposal. Other permits, issued by the Panamanian government, may be required before you can begin research. These are applied for after your proposal has been accepted by STRI. Our Scientific Permits Office will guide you through the permit request process.

Permits at time of application

Human subjects

If your research involves human subjects, you must follow Smithsonian Directive 606: Research Involving Human Subjects and submit the corresponding documentation at the time as you submit your research proposal.

Live vertebrates

If your research involves live vertebrates, you must follow Smithsonian Directive 605: Animal Care and Use and submit the corresponding documentation at the time as you submit your research proposal.

Please note:

If you need to apply for either of these permits, the forms will be provided to you in the Registration Website where you will fill them out electronically.

Permits after STRI approval

Panamanian permits

Once your project has been accepted, the Visitor Services Office will contact you and advise you if your research project requires permits from the Panamanian government or other agencies in Panama. The permits will be provided to you in the Registration Website where you will fill them out electronically. STRI will process the permits for you.

Please note:

STRI does not issue permits for scientific research in Panama, except for the Barro Colorado Natural Monument. In general, Panamanian authorities require 45 working days (63 calendar days) to evaluate and process your permit. The authorities have the final decision regarding the issuance of permits.

Register a Field course

Instructors at universities or educational institutions who wish to hold field courses at STRI can submit a proposal through the Registration Website. Field course proposals must be submitted at least four months before proposed start date. This time is required for STRI to assess availability of laboratory space, accommodations and other resources, calculate fees, and guide applications through permit processes, if necessary.

Visit the Programs and Field Courses section of our website for more information. Please contact the Office of Academic Programs if you have any questions about holding a field course at STRI.

Visit an active project

Co-principal investigators, field and lab assistants and interns may join active research projects at STRI. Please submit your request to join an existing project three months before you intend to arrive in order to assure availability of resources including laboratory space and accommodations.

Please note:

Interns may only join projects where the principal investigator is a STRI staff scientist.

Principal investigators are required to include the names of interns and assistants on permits related to the project.

Join a field course - Students

If your instructor has listed you as a participant in a field course, please register as soon as you are notified that the course has been approved.

Returning Visitors

If you are returning to continue an approved and active STRI research project as its principal investigator, please follow the instructions that pertain to joining an existing project. Please submit your request three months before you intend to arrive in order to assure availability of resources including laboratory space and accommodations.

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