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AOU Competitive Grants Program

To support infrastructure development and capacity building of western hemisphere professional ornithological societies

Versión en español - Spanish Version

As the largest, and one of the oldest, ornithological societies in the western hemisphere, the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) aspires to increase its role as advocate for the study and conservation of birds throughout the Americas. Therefore, the AOU hereby continues its International Grants Program to support western hemisphere professional ornithological societies through funding of activities to develop their infrastructure, train ornithologists, and build strategic partnerships within the western hemisphere.

Deadline: 15 April of each year. Awardees will be notified will be notified one month after, on 15 May of each year.

Scope of the Grants

This program will support the organizations that demonstrate the greatest promise to increase their impact on the study and conservation of birds into the future, ideally beyond the boundaries of particular countries.

Projects and activities that will be considered for funding include, but are not restricted to, the following: costs of startup and growth of fledgling ornithological societies; the dissemination of ornithological information by societies (publishing or translating journals); web-based (or other) activities that link ornithological societies from different western hemisphere countries to achieve common, concrete objectives; and activities that provide international expertise to ornithological societies to provide training or solve a local problem (e.g., training through technical workshops on research design, field techniques, fundraising, publishing, science-based conservation activities). The purpose of this program is NOT to fund a single event (e.g. a conference), a single local conservation, education, or ornithological research initiative, a project focused on a particular region or set of species, or the publication of papers by professional or amateur ornithologists


A total of $5,000 USD is available for this year, and proposals will be considered for grants in the amount of $1,000-$3,000 for a period of one year. The due date of proposals for this competition is 15 April of each year and awardees will be notified one month after, by 15 May of each year. Proposals should be submitted using the attached form. Proposals may be submitted either in English or Spanish. The proposal should be submitted either as a PDF or as a MS Word document attached to an e-mail, and addressed to the AOU Competitive Grants Program (send copies to both Brent Burt and Ernesto Ruelas ).

The proposal form should describe as specifically as possible in the available space the nature of the organization (with up-to-date e-mail, phone, and postal address contact information for the person representing the organization), the proposed activities, use of requested funds, and the intended impact of the activities. All parts included in the form MUST be filled for proposals to be considered. The review committee consists of members of the AOU International Affairs Committee. Awardees will receive checks in USD made out to an organization, not an individual.

Application Form: Download (doc)

Review & Oversight

Successful grants carry the obligation of a report due 15 months after the issuance of the check. The narrative of this report must contain

  1. Description of any “deliverables”, i.e., reports, accomplishments, products (such as CDs or training modules); and
  2. A detailed itemization of how funds were spent and what they accomplished, with a return of any unspent portion and copy of any receipt for large items (e.g. >$500) such as equipment purchased or airfares. This information will be used to assist the AOU in targeting the most promising programs for future support.

Evaluation Guidelines Used by the International Affairs Committee

  1. Number of stakeholders/ornithologists to be affected by proposed activities—Professionals? Graduate or undergraduate students? Public? (In other words, will the proposed activity affect, reach or have an impact on many people from within or among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region?)
  2. Coincidence of proposed activity with program guidelines
  3. Objectives of proposed grant are concrete and achievable
  4. Likelihood of overall project success, based on description of proposed activities and on personnel involved
  5. Budget—is it reasonable or adequate for proposed activities (or supported by matching, in-kind or other auxiliary funds)? Not inflated? Underestimated? Sufficient detail to understand needs, uses for funding?