Next Generation Bursary Scheme

The BES Next Generation Bursary Scheme supports aspiring ecologists without the finances or opportunities to pursue their passion for a career in ecology.

Since 2019 the BES has been working with partners and donors to administrate bursary schemes. We currently have two Bursary schemes in operation, and these are open for applications annually to BES members, followers, and participants in our activities (subject to eligibility criteria).

In 2024, we will be reviewing the way our bursaries are administered, to deliver a new bursary scheme from 2025 onwards.

(1) Span Trust Bursary Programme

This bursary and professional development programme, funded by the SPAN Trust for 2021/22 – 2023/24, supports UK-based undergraduates who are studying ecology and related natural sciences to develop their careers.

Applications are currently open.

Deadline to apply: 20th March at 12pm GMT (midday).

Please read the following guidance document before applying: Span Trust Bursary – Guidance Document



Awardees will receive 12 months of training and mentoring support, equivalent to £2,000, delivered by the BES and partners. This includes £1,287.6 of direct funds to put towards career development such as paid-for training, work experience, and equipment.

Applicants will be drawn from young ecologists (under 26yrs of age) from low-income backgrounds or who are currently experiencing financial barriers to their career development. Applicants will be wishing to work in the field of ecology or using ecological science to benefit the natural world and people.

Individuals eligible for the Bursary should meet the following criteria:

  • Must be currently based in the United Kingdom
  • Be under the age of 26
  • Be an undergraduate degree student pursuing ecology or related careers
  • Be from a low-income background or lack access to financial support which remains a significant barrier to pursuing career opportunities
  • Have a passion for ecology particularly in valuing the role ecology can play in benefitting the natural world and people.


“It’s changed my life by giving me
the opportunities to attend conferences, start
learning to drive, and even relocate for my work
experience placement.” – Caitlin Thomas, Bursary Awardee 2020


(2) Ecology Resources Ltd. Bursary

The Ecology Resources Ltd. Bursary was launched in 2019, founded through the generosity of John Condron and Naomi Condron, directors of the ecological consultancy, Ecology Resources Ltd.

Applications are closed for this Bursary and will not open in 2024, but do revisit this page and subscribe to our BES Newsletter to be notified of future opportunities.

Aiming to remove barriers and support young individuals from all backgrounds with low opportunities, and create an inclusive ecological community.

The Ecology Resources Ltd Bursary, administered by the BES, has so far provided awards between £200 and £2,500 to enable support for equipment, training and work experience opportunities. The programme is now supporting a growing number of individuals who have attended our BES Summer Schools and beyond.

Our bursary awardees are now successfully pursuing a range of ecological careers, from consultancy and conservation to environmental outreach and filmmaking.

Applications are accepted annually from:

  • Individuals from low-income backgrounds or with significant financial barriers to career development
  • Individuals from low-opportunity backgrounds (e.g. returning from significant parental leave, disabilities, caring responsibilities).
  • Communities currently underrepresented in the environmental sector and ecology careers


“Without the bursary I wouldn’t be able to access these learning opportunities which are so
beneficial for my career. This gave me the boost I needed to get a foot in the door in such a competitive sector.” – Isabel Commerford, Bursary Awardee 2019


Our Bursary impact

Since 2019 our Bursary Awardees have used their funds in many ways to help develop their careers. Below are just a few highlights:

  • Funding work experience placements and field experience trips, covering travel, accommodation and subsistence
  • Field equipment such as weatherproof gear, binoculars, identification guides and more
  • Driving lessons to enable opportunities as an ecological surveyor in remote field locations
  • Training courses in-person and online, including science communication, identification/taxonomy
  • Conference attendance and networking events such as workplace visits

Importantly, through the generosity of our donors, colleagues, and contacts, our Bursary winners have received additional life-changing support such as careers coaching, mentoring, even opportunities to gain practical experience through independent activities.

Bursary awardees are now successfully pursuing a range of ecological careers, from consultancy and conservation to environmental outreach and filmmaking.

Opportunities for funders

If we want to nurture a diverse and vibrant future ecological community, we must act now. We can all help support asprigin ecologists pursue the careers many of us feel fortunate to have.

If you would like to support the next generation of ecologists by participating in our new bursary scheme, or supporting our existing careers work and residential summer schools, please contact Fiona Le Ray