Esri Policy for Long-Term Academic Visitors

Learn about our policy for sponsoring research by visitors on sabbatical.

These guidelines govern the visit of an academic researcher to Esri for an extended period, serving to clarify roles and set appropriate expectations. Esri's chief scientist, Dawn Wright, will receive applications for such visits and facilitate approvals from Esri CEO Jack Dangermond and the Esri sponsor's corporate director.


Before applying, the visitor is required to have a prearranged Esri sponsor—an employee or team—with whom the visitor has had frequent communication and developed common areas of research collaboration. Sponsor examples include the following:

  • A lead product engineer in the Esri Software Development or Esri Product Engineering division (e.g., the geoprocessing and analysis team, the spatial statistics team, the projection geometry/geodetics team, the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World team, the ArcGIS Online basemap team)
  • A lead for any of the Esri Global Business Development sectors or Industry Solutions teams (e.g., education, geodesign, health and human services, national government, natural resources, public safety)
  • A lead for an implementation or client consulting team within Esri, including team leads within Esri's Professional Services (environmental consulting) division

Areas of research should be directly applicable to current Esri projects or of common interest and mutual benefit to Esri and the visitor.

How to apply

The visitor must submit the following two items:

  • A 2–3-page description of the research activities to be undertaken during the visit, including the details of the model, algorithm, or curricular materials to be developed, and the expected resultant benefits for both the visitor and Esri.

    The statement must reflect the anticipated benefits to Esri.
    This must go beyond using our technology, as academics already presumably use it on a daily or monthly basis in various ways at their universities and organizations. Describe in detail the practical outcome resulting from the visit that will likely benefit both your university and Esri (e.g., a new ArcGIS toolbox that Esri can leverage or market; a contribution to Esri's existing massive open online courses (MOOCs), Esri Academy, or other educational resources; an ArcGIS Online or Esri Community presence that will involve Esri staff; a contribution to Esri's GitHub catalog).
  • A 2–5-page curriculum vitae (CV)

    Any related peer-reviewed articles that have been published or any technical papers that have been developed in relation to the project idea may also be included, but this is optional.

The items must be submitted to Esri chief scientist Dawn Wright ( for consideration before plans are made. She will contact the appropriate Esri team lead to determine if the sabbatical project has merit.

At the conclusion of the sabbatical, the visitor must submit a short report on their experience. They will sign an agreement that Esri will be acknowledged in all future presentations and publications resulting from the visitor's time with the company.

Intellectual property

If the visitor develops a methodology or piece of software while working on the Esri campus and with the guidance of Esri personnel, intellectual property rights will rest jointly with Esri and the visitor and/or the visitor's university. Questions or concerns should be brought to the attention of Dawn Wright.

Length of stay

The period of the visit (anywhere from two weeks to several months) should be determined in consultation with the sponsor and will depend on the activities to be undertaken. The visitor must arrange for their own housing.


The visitor must already have their own funding to cover salary, travel, and living expenses during the visit (e.g., using sabbatical leave salary from their university or a visiting researcher grant from the National Science Foundation [NSF] or other funding source). Lodging and relocation expenses are the responsibility of the visitor. Esri will help with locating affordable temporary housing and provide a small office space and internet connection for the visitor on the Esri campus.

Student involvement

If the visitor has a student they would like to include (e.g., a student skilled at software coding), the student may apply for Esri's summer internship program. The visitor must notify their sponsor of the need to involve the student so that the student's internship application can be routed accordingly.

Apply for a student internship at In the cover letter, indicate the connection to the visitor and the need to work closely with the visitor and Esri sponsor. 


Final approval of long-term academic visitors will be granted upon consultation with Jack Dangermond and the sponsor's corporate director.