Outreach and Engagement Grants
Providing funding of up to £2,000 for individuals, teams and organisations to engage public audiences with the excitement of ecological science.
Engaging public audiences with the relevance and importance of ecological science and careers is vital.
This grant will support BES members to deliver independent outreach, public engagement and science communication activities that engage public audiences with the excitement, importance and relevance of ecological science or enhance the experience and skills of others to communicate ecology with public audiences.
The grant will support diverse formats that reach and engage public audiences in innovative, creative and impactful ways, whether through in-person events, digital formats, or physical resources.
All Grants must be for projects that meet at least one of the top-level BES aims:
- Communicate evidence-based messaging for what ecology is, how nature works, and the use of ecological science as a solution to local and global challenges.
- Raise awareness and public understanding of ecological careers, their relevance and importance, breadth, and diversity, and show that anybody can become an ecologist.
- Share how individuals can take action to benefit the environment, themselves, and society.
- Increase the ability of others to deliver the above aims through outreach and engagement activities.
Whilst all forms of outreach and engagement will be supported, the funding may have the greatest impact if the Grant particularly encourages applications for activities that achieve the following:
- Pilot novel methods of communicating ecological sciences with public audiences.
- Engagement which may stimulate dialogue with ecologists, inform behavioural change and action for both ecologists and the public, or encourage ecological career prospects.
- Encourage interdisciplinary collaborations.
- Produce engagement materials or outcomes others can use or benefit from subsequently.
- Develop the skills of others in communicating ecological science with public audiences e.g., training.
There will be two rounds of funding in 2024.
- The first round of funding will open on January 11th 2024.
- The second round of funding will open on July 11th 2024.
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.
Outreach projects should run for a maximum of 12 months. Any projects 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 ard. Reports will be submitted via our online grants system.
Applications open on January 11th. The deadline to apply during Round 1 is March 8th. You will be notified in late May regarding the outcome of your application.
If you apply during round 1, projects should start from early June 2024 to early December 2024 and be completed within 12 months of the start date.
Applications open on July 11th. The deadline to apply during Round 2 is September 11th. You will be notified in late November regarding the outcome of your application.
If you apply during round 2, projects should start from early December 2024 to early June 2025 and be completed within 12 months of the start date.
Eligibility and Conditions
The lead applicant must have a BES membership. The lead applicant should be the person who will oversee the project delivery and complete the final report.
Awards are open to individuals, teams and organisations across all experience levels to organise ecological public engagement events. Collaborations between two or more people are also welcome.
Your proposal must be aimed at a non-academic audience, and all projects must clearly demonstrate direct interaction with them. They should also show evidence of links to the research community at regional, national and international levels, where appropriate.
There are no restrictions on where applicants come from nor where they carry out their outreach and engagement work.
Applications will NOT be considered for:
- Staff salaries (one-off costs that are relevant to completing the event e.g. sub-contracting for logo design, will be considered as long as these are justified in your application).
- Training courses not associated with developing skills in communicating the science of ecology for a public-facing audience e.g. specific skills training courses for academics, are not eligible for funding.
- Academic meetings.
- Closed meetings.
- Projects aimed solely at delivering curriculum to school children.
- Projects that are delivered to a small number (1-2) schools in a school setting where other members of the public can’t engage.
Applications from museums and schools are welcome, but projects must involve significant outreach beyond schools.
We will not award more than one grant to any applicant in any year and no more than three grants in any five years. Failure to submit a satisfactory report at the end of a grant will mean you are ineligible to apply for further grants.
For repeat, annual events that request funding more than once – the Grants Committee would only consider this if the project showed new novel ideas and development on the previous application.
The maximum award is £2,000. However, the award may be used as part-funding for larger projects involving other sponsors.
If the BES grant is being used to part-fund a project, there must be a guarantee that other funding has already been secured. If other funding has been secured for this project, the additional BES funding should add a distinctive element/activity that would not happen otherwise that will greatly enhance the outreach activities, including increased engagement and impact.
Examples of costs that can be covered
- Travel costs.
- Small equipment and IT costs.
- One-off hiring costs (e.g. a freelancer to deliver an activity, a logo designer).
- Venue hire.
- Evaluation costs.
Scoring Criteria and Assessment
Activities engaging with all public audiences will be considered, but applications can be encouraged for projects that meet specific BES target audiences:
- Diverse – covering the breadth of backgrounds, perspectives, expertise and knowledge of both the public and the ecological community.
- Underrepresented – providing platforms for ecologists representing groups typically underrepresented in ecological careers.
- Next Generation – future ecologists, irrespective of age.
- Inclusive and accessible – for people of all ages, physical, learning, and social needs (though individual projects may reach particular groups). This may include science-engaged individuals, and those not previously interested in ecology.
The following types of projects will be encouraged:
- Seedcorn funding and piloting novel methods.
- Engaging priority target audiences e.g., underserved communities, engaging with and empowering local communities and capacity building with communities.
- From areas where engagement is underfunded.
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 calculated in GBP (British Sterling).
Your applications will be reviewed and scored by three members of our review college.
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.
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.
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