Sponsorship and Fieldwork Grants

A common question I get asked is how to raise money or find sponsorship for expeditions or adventures. I've been lucky enough to receive a variety of grants and bursaries to support expeditions and projects, but I've also funded a lot of it myself through plain old work. Despite what most people think though, there's a staggering amount of money out there to turn dreams and ambitions into reality. The list below is a good place to start...

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Science, Research and Fieldwork Grant Funding Links

Really Big Grants

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund – Targeted grants up to $25,000 for individual species conservation initiatives. Its focus is global and all plant, animal or fungi species are eligible, without discrimination on the basis of region or selected species.

Saving Species – Fund large conservation project aiming to buy areas of land for conservation. (currently calling for new proposals)

Ruffords Small Grants Foundation – Funding for small nature/biodiversity conservation projects and pilot programmes in developing countries. (It says ‘small’, but they can actually be quite a lot!)

Save Our Species Grants – Huge grants to address key species conservation goals.

Earthwatch Programme Grants – If you’re a scientist with research aligned with the Earthwatch mission, they want to hear from you.

Whitley Fund For Nature – They offer awards and grants of up to £35,000 to outstanding nature conservationists around the world. In particular, they locate and recognise some of the world’s most dynamic conservation leaders and support projects founded on good science, community involvement and pragmatism.

British Ecological Society Grant Programme – They award up to £300,000 per year to a range of projects. Grants for outreach, travel, training and research are all available. Research grants particularly support scientific ecological research where there are limited alternative sources of funding.

Moderate Sized Grants

Terra Viva Grants – Information about grants for agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources in the world’s developing countries.

RGS-IBG Grants Programme – A vast array of grants totalling in excess of £180,000. It’s worth looking at this entire programme in detail as there will probably be a grant applicable to you.

Scientific Exploration Society Award Scheme – A variety of awards, with grants ranging from £2000 – £8000. Recipients must embody the spirit of ‘Pioneers with purpose’.

Alfred Russel Wallace Grants for Outstanding Field Ecologists – Grants specifically for students planning to join an Operation Wallacea field project.

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust – 150 WCMT Fellowships Awarded to British Citizens each year. Applications are from May – September

Lord Mayor’s 800th Anniversary Awards – I was lucky enough to get one of these for the Haardangervidda Expedition. Awards are made twice a year (late Spring and late Autumn) and range from £50 – £1000.

Anglo-Omani Society Grants – Proposals accepted for projects that promote and support the relationship between Oman and the UK, including support for conservation and education initiatives.

ZSL Conservation Expedition Grants – The intention is to contribute funds for short field expeditions (maximum 3 months) that carry out surveys to gather information to address a field conservation question. Grants range up to £5000.

National Geographic Grants – A range of grants for all kinds of projects including conservation fieldwork grants.

The Frederick Soddy Trust – Expedition and fieldwork grants of £500 – £2000, aimed at human geography. (deadlines – 18 January and 18 September).

Conservation Leadership Programme Grants – The CLP offers three different grants for team projects each year allowing for progression and development.

Royal Scottish Geographical Society Grants – Funding Expeditions, fieldwork, research and travel.

RSPB Research Fund for Endangered BirdsThis fund allows researchers working in their own countries to undertake basic research on these species to generate the knowledge we need to design conservation actions. (As far as I know these are up to about $1000.)

African Bird Club – They give away grants totalling £10,000 each year supporting small to medium sized conservation projects in Africa.

Big list of bird grants – Here’s a nice resource for projects focusing on ornithology.

Young Explorers Trust Grant Aid – A number of grants available for young people undertaking a Young Explorers Trust approved expedition.

The Explorers Club – Their Youth Activity Fund offers fieldwork grants to students conducting scientific or exploration research projects ranging from $500 – $5000. (Thank you to Sheyka for suggesting this one!)

UCL Expedition and Travel Grants – Two different types of grant enabling students to undertake challenging exploration and travel.

Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust – Grants awarded to UK and overseas projects in the range of £500 – £1500. They support a wide variety of projects such as practical habitat or species management, research, training, education, awareness raising or campaigning. Applications are considered in May and December.

British Trust for Ornithology Grants – Grants of up to £500, to support ornithological research projects by BTO members, members of Garden BirdWatch, and holders of BTO ringing permits.

Botanical Society of the British Isles – Small grants supporting research to enhance knowledge of the flora of the British Isles.

Betham Moxon Grants – 30-40 Small grants awarded annually to support research that furthers the work of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The JPT Family Trust Medical Science Award – The Royal Society for Asian Affairs invites applications from individuals aged 21-30 for an award established by The JPT Family Trust, supported by long-standing members of the Society, who have a special interest in medical science and practice in challenging environments. The aim of the award is to encourage purposeful travel in Asia by medical students.

Grants mainly for individuals based in Africa or Developing Countries

Tropical Biology Association – Database of grants and scholarships, training opportunities, and funding lists, to help aspiring African conservation biologists develop their careers.

EDGE Fellowships – The EDGE Fellowship programme is more than just a source of funding. In addition to receiving a grant of up to £8,000, EDGE Fellows attend two regional training courses; undertake online modules in relevant topics; and receive one-to-one support from a scientific advisor based at ZSL or a partner organisation.

Grants for US and Canadian citizens

National Geographic Student Travel scholarship – Travel scholarships mainly to US and Canadian students.

Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund – Grants of up to $1000 to support conservation programs that protect threatened wildlife and habitats worldwide.

Mazama Bob Wilson Expedition Grant Application – $10,000 given away annually to citizens of the US or Canada, with a particular focus on climbing expeditions.

Adventure and Travel Focused Grants

Next Challenge Expedition Grant – A small annual expedition grant, plus a host of links and useful fundraising articles. Tim also curates a big list of expedition grants, here.

Berghaus Adventure Challenge – £1000 cash and £1000 of gear to help realise an adventure.

Captain Scott Society Awards – Two different awards (£2500 and £500) for individuals and groups that display the ‘spirit of adventure’.

John Muir Trust Grants – Grants of £300 – £2,000 will be made on merit to a person who wishes to “go – and do it” in the spirit of Bill Wallace.

The Adventure Fund – The Adventure Fund, in association with Sidetracked Magazine, is an annual grant established to support individuals or groups who display a creative and innovative approach towards adventurous travel.

Timmissartok Foundation – Partial support of projects that involve travel with a purpose.

Mount Everest Foundation – Aims to support expeditions planning geographical exploration or first ascents. Travel to previously inaccessible or little explored areas is particularly encouraged. Application dates are in September and January each year.

Bill Wallace Grant – A grant of £200 – £2,000 will be made on merit to a person who wishes to ‘go and do it’ in the spirit of Bill Wallace. The project will involve travel to wild places, must be adventurous, of educational or scientific significance – and be a life-changing experience leading to a commitment to practical action to conserve wild places.

Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust – Grants of £300 for all manner of projects and expeditions, including those organised as part of a gap year.

Julie Tulis Memorial Award – A small grant to assist deserving female mountaineers or any disabled climbers or mountaineers, both male and female, to achieve their climbing or mountaineering ambitions.

Science Communication and Outreach Grants

Science Communication Awards from the Royal Society of Biology – Awards of £750 and £1500 to reward outreach work carried out by young scientists and established researchers to inform, enthuse and engage the public.

Science and Society Community Challenge grant scheme – Supporting individuals and organisations to create and run pilot projects which take science to diverse audiences. There are 3 levels of project funding: up to £10,000, up to £20,000 and up to £40,000, depending on the size and difficulty of the project. [This scheme has currently closed, but check back in case it reopens]

List of public engagement grants – mainly focusing on public health.

British Ecological Society – Outreach grants of up to £2000, to promote ecological science to a wide audience.

Award for Communication in Ecology – $500 grant from the New Zealand Ecological Society

The Awesome Foundation – $1000 grants for anything really! Would definitely suite a science communication project.

 

Useful Sponsorship and Fieldwork Articles

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