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Apply for Research Funding

Submit a pre-proposal for consideration



We fund the following field expenses: 
  • field equipment 

  • PI and co-PI transport to the field

  • participant field transportation

  • field technicians

  • support staff (including: cooks, logistics coordinators, wildlife guards, etc.) 

  • food and housing for PIs/co-PIs, field technicians, and Earthwatch participants 

We do not fund the following:
  • scientist salaries

  • student tuition

  • institutional overhead

  • capital equipment

  • post-fielding data analysis 

Earthwatch’s  overarching goal is to support research projects that produce rigorous, relevant, and impactful science, address global change, and actively involve citizen-scientist participants. We distribute requests for proposals (RFPs) annually. We evaluate proposals based on scientific merit, appropriateness of citizen-scientist activities, expected project outcomes and impacts, safety, and logistics. 

Annual budgets range between US $20,000–$80,000, with most of this covering participant expenses. We follow a per-capita model of funding, with final field grants provided based on the number of participants fielding on the project. We provide funding for 3 years, subject to passing an annual performance review. Funding is renewable, upon submitting a research renewal proposal.  

“No Go” Regions

Earthwatch takes the safety of all people involved in projects we support very seriously. Therefore, we are unable to support research projects in certain regions of the world due to safety concerns, with no exceptions. Please review our current Earthwatch “No Go” List  prior to applying for funding.
 

VIEW PROJECT REQUIREMENTS



RESEARCH ETHICS STANDARDS

Supporting research conducted in an ethical manner is a priority at Earthwatch. Our research ethics standards are as follows:

WORKING WITH ANIMALS

All projects must follow any existing institutional, national, and international standards for working with animals. We only support capture and handling of animals when it is justified and absolutely necessary to answer research questions and when data cannot be obtained in a more noninvasive manner.

WORKING WITH HUMAN SUBJECTS

All projects must follow any existing institutional, national, and international standards for working with people. Participants are not to conduct social surveys or interviews in local communities independently or unsupervised, although they may assist the research staff in this when deemed appropriate.

REDUCING BIAS

All PIs and their staff must apply rigorous quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) measures.

IMPROVING ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY

Projects must be designed to minimize their carbon footprint and operate in as ecologically sustainable of a manner as possible.



FUNDING REQUIREMENTS

To fit our citizen-science model, unless otherwise stated in the request for proposals, all proposed projects must:

  • Have a 3-year or longer duration (longer-term research may receive priority support);
  • Incorporate field-based research;
  • Have data gathered primarily by citizen-scientist participants recruited by Earthwatch;
  • Field 4 to 10 teams per year that span 7 to 14 days, each accommodating 4 to 20 participants per team as needed for data collection. Team size should not exceed the capacity to effectively engage participants in fieldwork;
  • Provide housing for participants within a reasonable distance from the research site;
  • Be conducted in English, with all communications and supporting documents in English;
  • Educate each team of Earthwatch participants about the research and its relevance; and
  • Share project data with appropriate natural-resource managers and (when feasible) contribute to open-source datasets to maximize the impacts of the project.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Below are the current open RFPs. The deadline for submitting an abstract is Sunday, July 30, 2017.

PI REQUIREMENTS

All proposals must be submitted by a researcher with a PhD, who is planning to function as the project PI. Degrees must be from an accredited academic institution in the area of study of the proposed project. Graduate students currently working on their PhD may have their faculty advisor submit a proposal for their research. The advisor must be listed and function as the PI of record and maintain all scientific oversight of the research until the student’s doctoral degree is awarded. All submitting researchers must be affiliated with a university, government agency, or science-focused NGO.

We encourage graduate student participation in projects as research technicians. We particularly are interested in helping support developing scientists from emerging nations, although such applicants must still meet the above requirements.

We strongly encourage scientists with an interest in working with 15-18 year-old students to apply for funding. PIs and support staff with relevant experience should highlight this experience in their proposal.

While in the field, Earthwatch participants must be led by qualified personnel. PIs are required to field on at least 20 percent of the teams during the field season. Co-PIs and/or qualified research technicians can lead the remaining teams.  

The person leading Earthwatch participants must have experience leading groups afield. The leader must be fluent in English, familiar with Earthwatch safety protocols and guidelines, and certified in first aid. Additionally, that individual must be able to communicate about the research effectively with participants, respond to questions, and connect the research to a larger global context. 

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION PROCESS

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION PROCESS

The Earthwatch application process begins with the submission of a pre-proposal. Requests for pre-proposals (RFPs) are distributed annually and will be accepted through the deadline indicated on them. 

Proposals for new projects to begin in 2019 will be accepted beginning in April 2017.

We select pre-proposals for development into full research proposals, based on: 

  • PI qualifications;
  • rigor and relevance of the proposed science; and
  • goodness-of-fit for citizen science.
APPLY FOR FUNDING

Are you a researcher with a PhD, who is planning to function as the project PI?

YES. I HAVE A PHD.