Desert Research Institute (DRI)



Nevada System of Higher Education

Mailing address:

2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512 USA
Phone: +1 (775) 673-730


Mission Statement

We excel in environmental research and the application of technologies to improve people’s lives throughout Nevada and the world. We implement this mission by fostering scientific talent for the advancement and integration of terrestrial, hydrologic, atmospheric and anthropologic sciences. We apply scientific understanding to the effective management of all natural resources while meeting Nevada’s needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities.

The Environment of the Location

DRI operates from two main campuses. The Northern Nevada Science Center is in Reno, Nevada, on the western edge of the Great Basin Desert, an arid expanse of about 500,000 sq km, bordered by the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on the west and the Rocky Mountains on the east, the Columbia River Plateau to the north and the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts to the south. Reno’s elevation is 1,340 m, and mean annual precipitation is 190 mm. The Southern Nevada Science Center is in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the Mojave Desert, a 65,000 sq km transition zone between the Sonoran Desert to the south and the Great Basin Desert to the North. Las Vegas’ has a population of 1.8 million. Its elevation is 620 m and the mean annual precipitation is 104 mm.

Short history and milestones

DRI was established by the Nevada Legislature in 1959 and became a stand-alone institution within the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) in 1969. Today there are nearly 500 researchers, staff and students working on approximately 300 research projects per year that takes place in every state in the nation and on every continent in the world.


Point of Contact

Nicholas Lancaster, Research Professor
Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512-1095 USA

Phone +1 (775) 673-7304
Fax +1 (775) 673-7485