Research Grants

These grants support scientific ecological research where there are limited alternative sources of funding. Small projects can be awarded up to £5,000 and early career ecologists can apply for funding up to £20,000.

British Ecological Society image of desert

Objectives

We support projects where there is a clear ecological science focus to the work; any other aspects, i.e. sociology, economics, etc., must be clearly integrated into the ecology and scientific goals of the project. The grants are to support work of the highest international standard and applicants need to show how the work will advance ecological science.

Research grants are to provide funding:

  • for new and innovative ecological research
  • for pump priming projects
  • to help early career ecologists to establish an independent research career in ecology

Deadline

The current round is now closed.

The next round will open to applications in January 2017 with a deadline in March. All project start dates will need to be after 14 May 2017.

To Apply

REGISTER ONLINE

When applications open, register/log in to our online grants system, complete your contact details, and navigate to ‘Your Applications’.

We aim to notify all applicants within two months of the grant deadline. Shortlisted Large Research Grants applicants will be notified via email with details of how to apply to Part B.

Applicants are only able to submit one grant application per round, across all grant schemes.

Eligibility and Conditions

Grants up to £5,000:

  • These grants are given to individuals, not organisations
  • Only current BES members may apply
  • Applicants cannot use a Research Grant to fund a component of a larger, already funded study. We understand that there may be additional contributors to the project, but our contribution must make up the majority of the project funding, or form a recognisable and distinct component which would otherwise not take place
  • Funding is not available for work that will form part of a degree/thesis/fellowship. Those with research fellowships that cover their salary only, can only apply for funds to cover research that is additional to, and independent of, any already funded research programme
  • Applications to take part in an expedition will not be considered. We shall, though, consider applications for a stand-alone research project which take place during an expedition
  • Applicants are responsible for obtaining all relevant permits and permissions required to undertake the proposed work
  • Applications for projects based outside the UK should demonstrate appropriate liaison with collaborating organisations, local environmental agencies, NGOs and/or communities
  • This grant will not fund attendance to a conference
  • This grant will not fund publication costs
  • We will not award more than one grant to any one applicant in any one year, and no more than three grants in any five year period.
  • Failure to submit a satisfactory report at the end of a grant will mean the grantee is ineligible to apply for further grants

Grants over £5,000 up to a limit of £20,000:

  • These grants are given to individuals, not organisations
  • Only current BES members may apply
  • Grants are limited to ecologists at an early stage in their career. In the absence of extenuating circumstances, ‘early career’ is defined as less than 5 years post- Ph.D. or -D.Phil. experience according to the date of your graduation certificate
  • The investigator must have a Ph.D. or D.Phil., or have submitted a thesis that will have been examined by the time the application is submitted
  • The investigator must demonstrate that the project is distinct from other current research activities, or if there is any overlap, that it would substantially extend their existing research into new and distinct areas
  • The investigator should undertake at least part of the research him/herself
  • Funding is not given to individuals who already have full time permanent academic positions in universities or equivalent positions in research institutes
  • Those who have received an early career grant are ineligible from applying again
  • Applicants cannot use a Research Grant to fund a component of a larger study – we understand that there may be additional contributors to the project, however our contribution must make up the majority of the project funding, or form a recognisable and distinct component which would otherwise not take place
  • Applicants are responsible for obtaining all relevant permits and permissions required to undertake the proposed work
  • Applications for projects based outside the UK should demonstrate liaison with collaborating organisations, local environmental agencies, NGOs and/or communities
  • Costs for travel funds to attend a conference and present work relevant to the project will be considered. The name of the conference and a justification for attendance should be highlighted within the application
  • Requests to cover publication costs will NOT be considered
  • On accepting a Large Research grant, applicants agree to join our Review College for a minimum of 3 years

Value

Small projects can be awarded up to £5,000 and early career ecologists can apply for funding up to £20,000.

There are no restrictions on where applicants come from nor where they carry out their research work.

Reasonable travel costs will be supported. All costs must be clearly justified within the budget section. Any costs that are not justified will not be considered.  Please note that the maximum rate for car travel is 25p/mile.

Funding is available for the employment of casual and short-term assistance (short term defined as no longer than 11 months), the purchase of small items of equipment which are essential for successful completion of the project and consumable or recurrent costs.

Funding is not available:

  • for items of equipment costing more than £2,000
  • for overheads
  • to supplement the salary of the applicant
  • to cover replacement costs of the applicant

We will not cover the salary of the principal researcher, bench fees or the direct costs for the hire of departmental vehicles. Living costs and subsistence will be covered where this is essential to the project being completed. These costs need to be justified within the budget section to be considered.

It is a condition of all grants that our contribution is acknowledged in any publication or publicity that may arise from this study. Please notify us of any publications supported by this funding.

Statements of Support

Each application requires two personal reference statements. If the applicant is a student, at least one should be from their institution and verify that the proposed project is not part of a degree or thesis. We will automatically contact the referees using the emails provided in the application; both reference statements must be completed online before the application deadline. You will not be able to submit your application until these have been provided.

Maternity/Paternity Statement

For Large Research grants, Maternity and Paternity leave is included as an extenuating circumstance. The total time of maternity/paternal leave will be deducted from the total time that you are post PhD. For example if you are 6 years post PhD we would expect that you had been off for nearing on a year in order to be eligible.

Assessment Criteria

Competition for our large grants is intense. Only exceptional candidates of the highest all round standard doing international level research are likely to be successful.

Grant application reviewing criteria are:

  • Excellence of the ecological research being proposed
  • How the project develops the hypothesis and provides evidence for the next stage of the research
  • Feasibility of the proposal
  • Promise and productivity of the applicant, and ability to work independently
  • Value for money and justification of the resources requested

Where an application is associated with an existing funded project, the relationship of the proposal to that existing project needs to be made explicit in the proposal. The research should be distinct from timetabled teaching activities and should primarily have been planned and organised by the applicant.

Scoring Criteria

View the scoring criteria to find out how your application will be assessed.

Re-submission Policy

We do not accept re-submissions of the same project. Applications will be rejected without review if they are re-submissions of a proposal rejected in a previous round, or if they represent only a minor revision of such a proposal (for example, with a modified experimental design). As a guide, to be significantly different, at least 80% of objectives and activities should be different to the original proposal.