Many wildlife biologists find grants in academia or from the government.
Many scientists undertake research projects with funding made available by grants. Wildlife biologists are no exception. These scientists study wild animals, from birds to mammals to insects, and the relationship they cultivate with their natural environment. The multidisciplinary field incorporates elements of zoology, ecology, entomology, ornithology, cellular biology and more. Grants for wildlife biologists come from a number of sources and provide funding for a variety of projects.
Branches of the federal government, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provide grants for myriad scientific research projects, including those undertaken by wildlife biologists. Colleges and universities with graduate programs in the field offer small grants to students. Wildlife advocate agencies, such as the Environmental Defense Fund, provide grants, as do numerous professional societies, such as the Society for the Study of Reptiles and Amphibians, the American Ornithologists Union and the American Society of Mammalogists. Some museums provide grants, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Small grants, such as those provided by the University of Oklahoma graduate school, fund graduate student travel and research. South Carolina provides a medium-sized grant to counties for hiring a wildlife biologist for one year. NSF also provides medium-sized grants to graduate students for completing dissertation research. Large grants, such as those awarded by the EPA, FWS, NSF and USGS, provide funding for sizable research projects involving teams of scientists. Grants funded through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, for instance, provide assistance to projects to preserving the habitat and population of birds.
Grant amounts vary widely. As of 2011, they range from less than $1,000 to more than $1,000,000. Small grants funding things like student travel and research range in amounts from $250 to $10,000. Simple travel projects receive less money than dissertation research projects.
Large grants providers often stipulate an individual grant ceiling. Such opportunities award funding based on the proposed budget of an individual project, provided that amount fits under the ceiling. In instances of extreme specificity in grant purpose, the award ceiling, floor and total funding constitute the same amount. For instance, total project funding, grant floor and ceiling for the 2011 Common Tern Habitat Restoration grant is $74,000, because the grant only funds one project. The State Wildlife Grant Program, a federal grant, provides very large amounts to state and tribal governments. Maine won $2.4 million through this program between 2001 and 2010.
Applying for Grants
Graduate programs in wildlife biology often prepare students for the grant application process. In some instances, graduate students even apply for grants to complete graduate research. Applying for a grant entails creating a detailed proposal for the intended project, including a budget. Once submitted, a team of professional wildlife biologists reviews the proposal, considering its merit and feasibility.. When a team of wildlife biologists applies for a large grant, the leader of the team prepares and submits all grant material. If approved for a grant, the team leader holds the responsibility of hiring all team members and maintaining regular contact with grant providers.