BOU - Research Grants - guidelines

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

The next round of applications are for awards made in March 2013 for projects commencing or wholly running between 01 April 2013 and 31 March 2014. Applications for projects taking place outside this period will not be considered. Deadline for applications 30 November 2012.

Application is by email only.

Application forms will be available here, or from the BOU Office, from July.

Please email your completed application form to the BOU Office by 30 November 2012.

When completing your application, please note the following carefully:

1. 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. Such projects will be prioritised ahead of larger projects and expeditions.

The BOU has limited funds at its disposal and grants are normally awarded to a maximum of £1000. 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 here for details of past awards.

2. Research areas
The BOU tries to support as wide a range of research projects as possible, and welcomes applications from both amateurs and professionals.

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.

The BOU will look favorably on projects following up previous BOU-funded projects.

Funding will not be provided for salaries (of the applicant – salaries for local participants can form part of the request) or to cover course fees.

3. Expeditions
It is essential that you make clear what specific aspects of the expedition the BOU funds are requested for. If the application is from a multi­-disciplinary expedition, the application must be made by the ornithologist(s) and must describe the ornithological research that will be undertaken.

4. Species
As part of your application, you are required to provide details of the key species your project aims to study, including the conservation status of each species (globally and regionally/nationally if applicable). You must provide references for the conservation status you are quoting. Up to date global conservation status (IUCN Red List category) for all species, and regional conservation status (SPEC category) for European species, can be found on the BirdLife International website here.

5. Project costs/budgets
As part of the application form you will be asked to details of the total projects costs, the amount requested from the BOU, any funds already obtained and any other funds applied for. Please be as transparent as possible, cost your project as carefully as possible, and cost the items for which funding is being sought as carefully as possible. 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.

Total project costs must include all costs of running the entire project/expedition and not just the total for the items for which funding is being sought from the BOU. The BOU needs to be able to accurately assess the size of any contribution it may wish make to a project.

Some past applications have been jeopardised by a lack of transparency and accurate costing of project costs and/or for the amount being requested from the BOU.

6. UK-based applicants
Applications are welcome from anyone in any country, but UK-based applicants seeking funding for overseas projects should note that the funds being sought should only be used towards defined project requirements outside the UK.

7. Graduate and undergraduate studies
Undergraduate and graduate research will be considered, but only if the research meet the following three criteria – 
(a) the research is self- or part-funded;
(b) the funds being sought are for expenses incurred outside the UK;
(c) the funds are being sought for a well defined or specific aspect of your research.

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.

Students should check the BOU’s other funding scheme, Career Development Bursaries, which aim to support short-term research positions for young (or early career) ornithologists, between a first and higher degree programme 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.

8. Conferences and meetings
Funding will not be given for attending conferences or meetings.

9. Publications
Funding will not be given to publish work from an existing project, for books (if you want to submit a book proposal to the BOU please contact the BOU Office) or for work on a title to be published commercially.

10. 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:
- To maintain the publication of the Ibis as a leading international journal of ornithological science.
- To continue the publication of the BOU Checklist series, together with other publications.
- To organise and/or hold an active programme of meetings and conferences.
- To make available grants for ornithological research.
- To facilitate liaison between those actively engaged in ornithological research.
- To provide, as a representative of the scientific community, ornithological information and advice to government and other policy makers.
- To maintain and publish the official British List of birds.

11. BOU Ethical Policy
You should note the Union's ethical policy here
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).

12. Fulfilling BOU policy
In order to fulfil the above, the following factors will be considered in judging applications, but it is recognised that any one project should not be expected to fit all of these:
- Scientific quality of the research
- Feasibility in terms of resources and time allocated
- Involvement of local people, where appropriate
- Support of local organisation/insititute, where appropriate (e.g. see for contact details of BirdLife International Partners in each country)
- Likelihood and means of dissemination of results
- Utility, interest and significance of results to pure and applied aspects of ornithology

13. Timing of applications
Applications are for awards made in March 2013 for projects commencing or wholly running between 01 April 2013 and 31 March 2014. Applications for projects commencing or wholly running outside this period will not be considered.

The deadline for grant applications to be awarded in 2013 is 30 November 2012. Applicants are informed of their success in March 2013 and awards are paid to successful applicants in March/April 2013.

Applications for projects which start in the early part of the year (January-March) can be applied for the year before the project is due to start, i.e. for projects starting January to March 2013 can be applied for award in 2012 (deadline 31 December 2012).

We will not support projects which run or are completed during January-March 2013 or are completed by 30 April 2013 in this round of applications.

14. 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 the BOU Office.

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

Your application must be accompanied by an up to date CV which includes publication history (of most important papers if extensive).

Applications are only accepted via email, do not post or fax your application.
The BOU will acknowledge (by email) receipt of your application. Any correspondence will be undertaken by email.

15. References
All applications must be supported by a referee who must send letters of support (by email) direct to the BOU Office.

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).
- References should not come from anyone actively participating in the project, but where possible should come from a partner organisation (e.g. local BirdLife partner, local institute) and an independent referee.
- Applicants should include the name, address, telephone number and email address of their referee on their application form.

Please note that it is up to the applicant to arrange for references to be submitted by the above deadline. The BOU will not normally write to referees except in exceptional circumstances.

16. Consideration of your application
Applications are circulated to members of the BOU’s Grants Committee who then make their recommendations to BOU Council (March meeting). Applicants are contacted after this meeting (late March) to inform them if they have been successful.

17. 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 2013 for awards given in 2013).

If an award is not taken up by the deadline, and the award is still required, the recipient must write to the Chairman of the Ornithological Affairs Committee 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 after the year the award was given (i.e. by 31 December 2013 for awards given in 2013) will render the award void and will have to be refunded.

18. Reporting back to the BOU
A strict condition of accepting an award is that successful applicants will submit a report on the results of their work within three months of the completion of the project. This report should clearly state the background to the work, the main findings and their implications, and whether or not the work will be submitted for publication in Ibis or another ornithological journal. Photographs that can be used by BOU to promote the grants scheme are welcomed. For an example of the format required for publication in Ibis please contact the BOU Office. these reports take the form of a Short Comm item in Ibis.

A copy of the final report and reprints of any papers published be deposited with the BOU library. Also, a 1000 word report suitable for publication, stressing the ornithological relevance of the work, should be submitted to the BOU Office within six months of conclusion of the study. These reports may be edited by the Union for publication in Ibis. From January 2010 these reports will appear as Short COmmunication-style pieces and no longer form part of the BOU's News & Notices section providing both the project and report increased exposure and benefit. The reports will be available free to view online via the Ibis journal website and this website (see here).

IMPORTANT NOTE - acceptance of an award is acceptance of the condition to adequately report back to the BOU. The BOU is a charity and in order to comply with charity regulations we need to illustrate where our funds have been spent. Failure to adequately report back to the BOU within six months of the conclusion of the work will render yourself, and any other person from your institute, ineligible to apply for future funding from the BOU.

19. 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, then the BOU reserves the right to request for the award to be returned.

20. Unsuccessful application
If your application has been unsuccessful, then you will receive notification of this by email. We will normally provide brief feedback as to why your application was unsuccessful. No correspondence will be entered into with regards an unsuccessful application and/or the feedback offered to the applicant.

The BOU look forward to receiving your proposal.

Guidelines and application form - download here.

Previous BOU awards and project reports

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