The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. DRI conducts cutting-edge applied research in air, land and life, and water quality across Nevada, the United States and on every continent. With more than 500 employees and two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, DRI generates $50 million in total annual revenue.
DRI’s environmental research programs are divided into three core divisions (Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, and Hydrologic Sciences) and two interdisciplinary centers (Center for Arid Lands Environmental Management and the Center for Watersheds and Environmental Sustainability). Established in 1988 and sponsored by AT&T, the institute’s Nevada Medal awards “outstanding achievement in science and engineering”.
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.