"A BES Grant helped us undertake an urgent population and habitat assessment of the Critically Endangered pygmy three-toed sloth."

Craig Turner Research Grant recipient

Ecologists in Africa

Ecologists in Africa

This grant provides support for ecologists in Africa to carry out innovative ecological research. We recognise that ecologists in Africa face unique challenges in carrying out ecological research and this grant is designed to provide them with support to develop their skills, experience and knowledge base as well as making connections with ecologists in the developed world.

We are excited to be launching a new online grants database in 2016. Applications for Ecologists in Africa are considered once a year in our second round of funding. The second round will open in June/July 2016. Please check back then for details of how to apply.

Please applications will only be assessed once the online referee statements of support have been received from the applicant’s institution (if applying for travel funds, one statement must be from the overseas host institution). Therefore please ensure you submit your application in good time before the date above to allow time for your referees to complete this online.

We aim to notify applicants if they have been successful or not within two months of the deadline.


To support excellent ecological science in Africa by funding services and equipment.

Eligibility and Conditions

Applicants must:

  • be a scientist and a citizen of a country in Africa or its associated islands,
    that is a ‘low-income economy’ or ‘lower-middle-income economy’ according to the
  • have at least an MSc or equivalent degree
  • be working for a university or research institution in Africa (including field centres, NGOs, museums etc.) that provides basic research facilities
  • carry out the research in a country in Africa or its associated islands

The proposed work must be completed within 18 months

The grant can be used to pay for basic tools needed to conduct the research project, travel and in some cases part of the applicant’s salary. It cannot be used for tuition fees.

This grant cannot be used to support research degrees, however, researchers who have already been registered at a research institute or university for at least six months by the application deadline for the grant, can apply for funding for research that goes towards a degree. Applicants in these circumstances need to indicate that they have already gone some way in starting their research and that the money will not go towards course fees or personal salary.

Some funding may be provided to cover applicant’s expenses during research where it is shown that they will not be able to afford the time off from other paid employment. In these cases, applicants must state if the research work will be possible without BES funding to cover this lost income.

The BES will not award more than one grant to any one applicant. Failure to submit a satisfactory report at the end of a grant will mean the grantee is ineligible to apply for further grants.


The maximum value of a grant is £8,000 for research. An additional sum up to £2,000 may be requested to fund travel to help grantees develop connections with other ecologists outside their usual peer group.

Travel funds are available for the applicant to spend time working with ecologists in developed countries where facilities and experience will help the grantee on return to their own institution.

Successful applicants also receive two years of free BES membership and free online access to the Society’s journals.

To Apply

Applications will only be assessed once the online referee statement of support has been received from the applicant’s institution, and if applying for travel funds, from the overseas host institution.

This referee statement should include why the project is important, what support will be given to the applicant and a statement that any equipment bought for the project will be made available for anyone in the host institution to conduct ecological research. We will automatically contact the referees using the email addresses provided in the application; both reference statements must be completed online before the application deadline. We cannot accept referee statements sent independently via email or by letter.

Applications for this grant can be made using our online grant system. (this will become available in June/July 2016)

All costs must be clearly justified within the budget section. Any costs that are not justified will not be considered. Please ensure all costs are clearly calculated in GBP (British Sterling).

The BES encourages applicants to discuss their applications with a respected colleague.

Please note it is a condition of all grants that the contribution of the BES is acknowledged in any publications or publicity that may arise from this study. Please notify us of any publications supported by this funding.

Assessment Criteria

The applications will be judged by a panel of reviewers on the basis of the applicant’s personal qualifications, the scientific excellence, novelty and feasibility of the proposal, and the academic and non-academic impact of the planned research.

Applicants need to demonstrate that they have made connections with ecologists in a developed country that can provide advice during the proposed project. If international travel is part of the application, applicants must demonstrate close links with those they propose to visit.

Funding is available for any area of ecological science excluding research focused solely on agriculture, forestry and bioprospecting. Please note that neither purely descriptive work nor studies that might be considered incremental will be funded.

The proposed project could be part of an existing programme but the application should be for a clearly defined piece of research. Researchers must also show how their research will have a wider impact beyond academia.

Scoring Criteria

Find out more about how your application will be assessed by viewing the scoring criteria.

Re-submission Policy

Please note we do not accept re-submissions of the same project. Applications will be rejected without being sent out for 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, in order to be significantly different, at least 80% of objectives & activities should be different to the original proposal.

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