Connecting ecologists with other disciplines grants

Promoting interdisciplinary skills by funding up to £20k towards placements in different disciplines and sectors

Bird of prey and cow both looking at a lake scene

Interdisciplinary science is fundamental to improving our understanding of the world. Most real-world problems require more than one discipline to make progress.

Interdisciplinary work is the process of integrating knowledge and ideas from different subjects or fields.

The essence of this programme is to immerse an ecologist in another professional world where ecology can make a difference. This can include another discipline, NGO/Charity, a public sector organisation, a business etc.

By providing an immersive experience of interdisciplinary collaboration, this grant aims to demonstrate the value of ecology in solving real-world problems.

This grant will foster relationships between disciplines and sectors. It offers successful individuals the chance to build key skills and offers the recipient organisation a deeper understanding of what ecological science has to offer.

This grant is open to those who:

  • Are PhD students, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Early Career Ecologists who would like to develop interdisciplinary skills
  • Have approval from their employer/supervisor to step out of current activities for 3-4 months
  • Have a willing host organisation/department who will collaborate on the grant application
  • Want to immerse themselves in a different discipline or sector

This grant is designed for a secondment. Applicants would need to demonstrate that this is additional to any existing employment or studentship

Undergraduates and masters students are not eligible to apply.

Collaborations must identify an output of their work, not necessarily academic. This could be (but not limited to): a scientific paper; a grant proposal or concept note for a future proposal; a film or blog; a think piece; a contribution to an organisation’s delivery plan; and many other possibilities.

To Apply

There will be two rounds of funding in 2024. 

  • The first round of funding will open in early January 2024 (Deadline March)
  • The second round of funding will open in early July 2024 (Deadline September)


When applications open, register/log into 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.

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

Placements should run for a maximum of 4 months. Any placements running for longer than this should be clearly outlined and justified in the submitted application.

It is a condition of all of our grant schemes that applicants submit a report within three months of the end date of your placement. Reports will be submitted via our online grants system.


Round 1
Applications open in early January (date TBC) The deadline to apply during Round 1 is March (date TBC) You will be notified during the last week of May regarding the outcome of your application.

If you apply during round 1, placements should start from early June 2024 to early December 2024 and be completed within 4 months of the start date

Round 2
Applications open in early July (date TBC).
The deadline to apply during Round 2 is September (date TBC). You will be notified in early November regarding the outcome of your application.

If you apply during round 2, placments should start from early December 2024 to early June 2025 and be completed within 4 months of the start date

Eligibility and Conditions

  • Must have BES membership
  • These grants are awarded to individuals, not organisations
  • These grants are for ecologists only, to work in a distinctly different sector compared to their current one
  • Placements can be full-time or part-time, but must be a maximum of 4 months.
  • Applicants are responsible for obtaining all relevant permits and permissions required to undertake the proposed work.
  • We will not award more than one grant to any one applicant in any one year, and no more than two 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.

Successful applications will:

  • Connect ecologists with other disciplines and professional sectors
  • Require the application of ecological science, or ecology as part of an interdisciplinary piece of work. Ensuring an ecological component is key.
  • Create A ‘learning/training/development plan’ that will enable the ecologist to expand their skill set
  • Partner organisations should show commitment to the project, either financially or a contribution in kind.


Grant awards of up to £20,000 can be claimed from the applicant. This grant allows individuals to take a break from their current employment/research

This grant is not a salary replacement for the applicant or any employee associated with an organisation.

If an applicant has been given permission from their current employer to go on a placement, their employer can not claim any costs or receive any reimbursements.

Costs that can be claimed include:

  • Any small pieces of equipment needed to complete the placement.
  • Expenses that the host organisation might incur, such as training expenses
  • Living expenses such as rental cover, travel and subsistence

If claiming living expenses, evidence must be provided to show the monthly cost of the expenses being claimed.

Evidence can include receipts, invoices, and weblinks.

Any expenses the host organisation requests to be reimbursed must be agreed upon with the applicant. The BES will not be responsible for ensuring the host organisation receives expense reimbursements. A payment plan must be agreed between the applicant and host organisation and evidence of this will need to be provided.

Costs that will not be considered include:

  • Subscription services costs, (e.g. app subscriptions, Spotify, Netflix, gym membership)
  • Any expenses that are not considered essential living expenses
  • Host organisation expenses such as overheads, insurance policies,
  • Anyone’s time, including the applicants or employees from the host organisations.
  • The applicants’ current employer can not claim any expenses

Your provided budget will be one of the key components of your application that will be scored. Please ensure to provide as much evidence as possible for any expected expenses.

Statement of Support

Each application requires two reference statements. One from your potential employer, and one from your current employer or institution if you are a student.

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 cannot submit your application until these have been provided. We cannot accept referee statements sent independently via email or by letter.

Scoring Criteria and assessment

The primary purpose of this grant is to give ecologists a taste of applying ecological science in an interdisciplinary arena or in other sectors, by living the experience for up to four months.

This will also demonstrate the value that ecology can bring to solving some real-world problems and in so doing, build better relationships across disciplines and sectors.

As part of our commitment to support the recommendations and principles set out by the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA;, applicants should not use journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles. Our Review College are also asked not to consider such journal metrics when reviewing applications.

Supporting Ecologists in the Global South

Our commitment to supporting Ecologists in the Global South can be found here.

We recognise the challenges ecologists across the Global South face in their science and research. We have set a target that at least 51% of our available grant funding will be allocated to Ecologists in the Global South.

Awards will be made to successful applications across all our grant schemes rather than having a separate grant scheme.

To be eligible for Global South funding, you must be a citizen of and working/studying in a Global South country. This question will be asked during the application process.