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BOU Small Research Grant scheme



PDF version of these guidelines

BOU members apply for a grant here

Join the BOU to apply for a grant.

Please read these guidelines carefully, They contain important information relating to your application for funding and not following these guidelines may jeopardise your application.

Applications are for awards made in March 2018 for projects which begin not before 01 April 2018 and entirely or largely complete by 31 March 2019. Applications for projects taking place outside this period will not be considered.

Application is by email only. Please email your completed application form to ku.gro.uobnull@nimda by 30 November 2017.

Please ensure you have viewed the grant schemes at www.birdgrants.net and the BOU’s Career Development Bursary scheme to see if this BOU scheme is the most appropriate for your project.

When completing your application, please note the following carefully:

1. What we fund

We will fund scientific studies with clear aims and objectives (ideally with clearly stated hypotheses) where the methods are clearly explained, robust and appropriate to answering the questions asked within the application.

Applications may be on any aspect of ornithology but the BOU will look especially favourably on areas where there are particular difficulties in funding research from national or local sources.

All applications are expected to fulfil the following requirements:

  • You must be a BOU member – exception, those from, and still residing/working/studying in, a developing country can apply without being a BOU member (Note, those from a developing country studying or working at an institute based in a developed country must be a BOU member)
  • Applications are from individuals only, not from organisations
  • The applicant must be the principal investigator for the study
  • The research must be of high scientific quality
  • The research must be interesting, innovative or a potentially high impact piece of work
  • The project is feasible in terms of resources and time allocated
  • The applicant must be competent to undertake the research
  • The project has a clearly justified budget
  • The project is a stand-alone research project, where the amount being sought is a substantial percentage of the total project budget (see item 3 below)
  • We often fund small projects outright or were the BOU contribution is a high percentage contribution to overall costs
  • We rarely fund projects were the BOU contribution is only a small percentage of a very large budget, e.g. requests for £2,000 towards a larger project costing say £40,000)

We do not fund:

  • Applications from non-BOU members (see above)
  • Applications from organisations
  • Species inventories, i.e. site based surveys for the purpose of documenting species' occurrence
  • Studies of the abundance of a species at a particular site where there is no wider scientific aim
  • Distribution surveys which do not address wider ecological questions
  • Descriptive studies
  • Baseline studies or the setting up of long-term monitoring schemes
  • Conservation implementation, education, outreach or awareness raising
  • The salary or course fees of the applicant (see item 5 below)
  • Attendance at conferences or meetings
  • Publications
  • Projects already commenced by 31 March following the application deadline.

2. Who can apply?

We welcome applications from both amateurs and professionals from anywhere in the world.

You must be a BOU member:

  • You must be a BOU member
  • Exception, those from, and still residing/working/studying in, a developing country can apply without being a BOU member
  • Note, those from a developing country studying or working at an institute based in a developed country must be a BOU member

Applications are solely from individuals who are principally responsible for undertaking the work outlined in the application. We do not accept applications from organisations.

Undergraduate and graduate research will be considered, but only if the research meets the following criteria -
a) where the applicant is a PhD candidate the project must be a stand-alone element and not the wider research programme (i.e. forming one chapter or paper, rather than contributing to the entire thesis);
b) the research costs applied for are not fully supported by bench fees or fieldwork elements within a studentship or research council award.

The BOU may also consider applications for funding exceptional requirement(s)/opportunities which were unforeseen at the planning/start of a project, but which arise during the work.

Funding will not be provided to cover course fees.

Students should check the BOU’s other funding scheme, Career Development Bursaries (www.birdgrants.net), which aims to support short-term research positions for young (or early career) ornithologists, during a degree, between a first and higher degree programme, during a PhD project, or immediately after completion of a higher degree. Successful proposals will combine the applicant’s development of skills that will be useful for their future career in ornithology with sound science.

3. Size of BOU grants

BOU Small Ornithological Research Grants are aimed at funding small projects in their entirety or part-funding small-to-medium sized projects. Lower priority will be given to those projects to which the BOU's contribution represents a small proportion of the overall project costs.

The BOU has limited funds at its disposal and grants are normally awarded to a maximum of £1500. The BOU may occasionally award a grant of up to £2000 for an exceptional application.

The BOU receives more applications than we can afford to support. Competition is strong, but this should not deter applicants with good projects. See the BOU pages on www.birdgrants.org to view details of past BOU grant recipients.

4. Species

Research can be undertaken on any bird species. As part of your application, you are required to provide details of the key species your project aims to study.

5. Project costs/budgets

As part of the application you are required to submit a credible budget, which details the total project costs, the amount requested from the BOU, any funds already obtained, any other funds applied for or where additional funding will be obtained. Please clarify how any short-fall between the total budget and amount already obtained plus that requested from BOU will be met. Please be as transparent as possible, cost your project and the items for which funding is being sought from the BOU as carefully as possible.

Total project costs must include all the costs of running the entire project (excluding the salary or stipend of the applicant) and not just the total for the items for which funding is being sought from the BOU. Where the cost of equipment is being sought from the BOU please provide an itemised breakdown (and for other budget headers as necessary). The BOU needs to be able to accurately assess the size of any contribution it may wish to make to a project.

The Committee has knowledge of project costs and can often easily calculate if a project, or an individual component, for which funds are being sought, is not accurately costed. Some past applications have been jeopardised by a lack of transparency and accurate costing of the project.

6. BOU Mission Statement

Applicants should note the BOU's objectives and mission statement.
The British Ornithologists' Union will promote understanding and conservation of the world's birds, advance ornithology within the scientific community and promote scientific ornithology to the wider birdwatching public.

The BOU’s mission will be achieved by the following objectives:

i) To maintain the publication of the Ibis as a leading international journal of ornithological science.
ii) To organise and/or hold an active programme of meetings and conferences.
iii) To make available grants for ornithological research.
iv) To facilitate liaison between those actively engaged in ornithological research.
v) To provide, as a representative of the scientific community, ornithological information and advice to government and other policy makers.
vi) To maintain and publish the official British List of birds.

7. BOU Ethical Policy

You should note the Union’s ethical policy (dated March 2012) is as follows:

Ibis is published on behalf of BOU by Wiley-Blackwell and we support Wiley-Blackwell in their policy on ethical issues in relation to scientific publications (see http://authorservices.wiley.com). Authors should make themselves familiar with this policy. In particular the BOU requires that all authors disclose any potential sources of conflict of interest. Any interest or relationship, financial or otherwise, that might be perceived as influencing an author's objectivity is considered a potential source of conflict of interest. These must be disclosed when directly relevant or indirectly related to the work that the authors describe in their manuscript. Potential sources of conflict of interest include but are not limited to patent or stock ownership, membership of a company board of directors, membership of an advisory board or committee for a company, and consultancy for or receipt of fees from a company. The existence of a conflict of interest does not necessarily preclude publication in this journal.

It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to review this policy with all authors and to collectively list in the covering letter to the Editor, in the manuscript (under the Acknowledgment section), and in the online submission system ALL pertinent commercial and other relationships. As part of the submission process, corresponding authors will be asked to confirm whether or not a conflict of interest exists.

The BOU is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The BOU expects all authors of papers submitted to Ibis to act within the standards and procedures laid down by UK national or equivalent legislation in the country where the work is conducted. They must ensure they have the necessary licences and permits for the activities described in the paper. Where work is carried out in places lacking legislation or where this is not adequately administered, the work should conform to the ethical standards expected in the UK.

The BOU expects authors to have proper regard for conservation considerations and best practice in work with wild or captive animals. Attention is drawn to the ‘Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research’ published regularly in the journal Animal Behaviour (Animal Behaviour 2006, 21:245-253) and the specific guidance provided by ASAB/ABS for submissions to Animal Behaviour. In particular authors should consider the potential impacts of disturbance, trapping, and manipulations such as marking or tagging on their study animals and provide details in the paper on how these aspects have been dealt with. Papers will not be accepted if they are based on work involving cruelty to animals or if the work may have put at risk endangered populations, species or habitats.

The BOU is not opposed in principle to the 'taking' of specimens from the wild for scientific purposes but would expect that only in exceptional circumstances is such an approach adopted. Authors are referred to the guidelines on collecting of specimens from the wild proposed by Collar (Bird Conservation International 2000, 10: 1-15).

Grants and bursaries
The ethical approach required for the submission of papers to Ibis will also apply to proposals submitted for BOU grants or bursaries. The application should include details of any potential conflicts of interest and the procedures adopted to minimise any negative impacts on the study animals.

Your application should indicate that the work conforms to this policy.

Also, please make clear whether your work will include the collection of specimens (for which copies of any appropriate licenses are required).

8. Timing of applications

Applications are for awards made in March 2018 for projects commencing after 01 April 2018 and entirely or largely complete by 31 March 2019. Applications for projects running outside this period will not be considered.

The deadline for grant applications to be awarded in 2018 is 30 November 2017.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application in March 2018 and awards are paid to successful applicants from March 2018 (we pay awards no earlier than two months prior to a project commencing as per the application).

9. Submitting your application

Use the application form provided. Complete the fields requested and save as -
'BOU grant application – (e.g. BOU grant application - Dudley) and send by email to ku.gro.uobnull@nimda.

Your application must be accompanied by one reference (see below).

Applications are only accepted via email, do not post or fax your application.

The BOU will acknowledge (by email) receipt of your application. All correspondence will be undertaken by email.

10. Reference

You need a reference for your project. A good referee is someone who knows you, or for students, their project supervisor, and this person will be expected to send in a reference to accompany your application by 30 November 2017 (same as application deadline).

This must be submitted by email to the BOU Office (ku.gro.uobnull@nimda).

Please ask your referee to include the following in the subject header of the email -
'BOU grant application - reference for (e.g. BOU grant application - reference for John Smith).

Referees should not be anyone actively participating in the project, but where possible should come from a partner organisation (e.g. local institute, local BirdLife partner).

On the application form you are asked to provide the name, address, telephone number and email address of a referee which we will match against the incoming reference for your project.

The BOU will not normally write to your referee requesting a reference except in exceptional circumstances. Your application will be excluded if we do not receive a reference for you.

11. Consideration of your application

Applications are circulated to members of the BOU’s Grants Committee who then make their recommendations to BOU Council. Applicants are contacted in March to inform them of the outcome of their application.

12. Taking up an award

If your application is successful, awards must be taken up by the end of the calendar year in which they are awarded (i.e. taken up by 31 December 2018 for awards offered in 2018).

The award will be paid direct to the applicant’s bank account. No other account or third-party recipient will be accommodated.

If an award is not taken up by the deadline, and the award is still required, the recipient must email the BOU Office requesting special dispensation and explaining why the award has not been taken up and when it will be required. Failure to take up an award by the end of the calendar year in which the award is given (i.e. by 31 December 2018 for awards offered in 2018) will render the award void and it will have to be refunded.

Acceptance of an award indicates acceptance of these and any other terms detailed in the award offer from the BOU.

13. Reporting back to the BOU

Acceptance of an award is acceptance of the condition to adequately report back to the BOU. As a charity, and in order to comply with charity regulations, the BOU needs to demonstrate where our funds have been spent, and that this spending complies with charity legislation. Failure to adequately report back to the BOU will render yourself, and any other person from your institute, ineligible to apply for future funding from the BOU.

In such circumstance the BOU also reserves the right to request for the award to be returned in full.

Reporting back to the BOU is done in two parts, with a preliminary report submitted to us within two months of the completion of the project and a full report (usually for publication as a blog on the BOU website) after six months.

Successful applicants will be provided with a reporting form and further guidelines on reporting back to the BOU.

14. Loss of an award / return of award

If the BOU is not satisfied that the funds it has awarded have been spent as per the application for which funding was sought, or a suitable report is not submitted to us, then the BOU reserves the right to request, for the award, in part or in full, to be returned.

An award cannot be transferred to a third party. If the original recipient is unable to complete the project for which the award was made, or is unable to undertake the project in the timescale agreed (i.e. as detailed in their application) then the award must be returned in full.

15. Unsuccessful applications

If your application has been unsuccessful, then you will receive notification of this by email. Due to the number of applications we are unable to provide feedback as to why any application is unsuccessful. No correspondence will be entered into with regards an unsuccessful application.

The BOU looks forward to receiving your proposal.

PDF version of these guidelines

BOU members apply for a grant here

Join the BOU to apply for a grant.

Image credit
Black Grouse | Vnp | CC-BY-SA-3.0 |Wikimedia Commons

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