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Our proposal review process is guided by our aim to connect people from all walks of life with leading scientists working on crucial environmental research projects locally and globally.

Projects are evaluated based on scientific merit, safety, logistical viability, appropriateness of volunteer field tasks, and our available support for the project.


Request for Proposals

Earthwatch seeks submissions from field-based researchers to engage members of the public (recruited by Earthwatch) in their research projects. Concept Notes for 2016 projects will be due September 29, 2014. Below are links to the RFPs for projects we are particularly interested in developing for 2016.

Request for Proposal Download RFP
North America Region PDF Download
Central America Region PDF Download
Nordic Region PDF Download
African or Asian Elephant Research PDF Download
Citizen Science PDF Download

What are we looking for?

We are looking to support research projects that align with and contribute to global environmental priorities and agendas. Specifically, we seek projects that aim that improve the management and stewardship of biodiversity, reduce human-wildlife conflicts, investigate/restore degraded ecosystems, investigate threats to ocean health and freshwater systems, and projects that assess and/or mitigate the impacts of a changing climate.

Within these, we are looking for projects with an overarching focus on improving our understanding of nature’s response to accelerating global change, and providing outputs within this theme through peer-reviewed publications, and/or informing local, regional, national or international management plans and policies.

Projects should display a set of clearly identified research questions, with appropriate rigorous research design and methodologies to answer those questions. It is critical that projects involve volunteers meaningfully in collecting data that directly addresses their focal research questions. Scientists should be committed to meaningfully involving participants and providing them with context about the issues and science behind their project. Projects should have a clear and credible pathway from research data collection to impacts.

To help you determine if your research is a fit for Earthwatch, ask yourself:

  • Can volunteers make a significant contribution to your research?
  • Are you interested in leading teams of untrained but enthusiastic volunteers in the field?
  • Are you prepared to share the vision behind your project and inspire nonscientists?

Earthwatch takes the safety of all people involved in projects we support very seriously. Therefore, we are not able to support any research projects in certain regions of the world due to safety concerns. See our current Earthwatch 'No Go' List.


Step 1: Submit a Concept Note


Puerto Ricos Rainforest

If your Concept Note raises interest, you'll be invited to submit a Research Proposal.

Read more.


Step 2: Submit a Research Proposal


Whales and Dolphins Under the Californian Sun

After your Research Proposal is received, we'll contact you to discuss details of your proposed program. If approved, we'll help you launch your program.

Read more.


Step 3: Launch Your Project


On the Trail of the Giant Panda

Find out what happens after your research proposal is accepted, making you an Earthwatch scientist.

Read more.


Frequent Questions from Scientists


Investigating Whales and Dolphins of the Norwegian Arctic

For more information about how Earthwatch grants projects and what costs can be covered, see our Frequent Questions from Scientists.

Read more.