Awards & prizes

The Nature Conservancy Applied Conservation Award

Not offered in 2018

The Nature Conservancy and The Ecological Society for Australia Inc have established this award to fund a postgraduate scholarship in the field of applied conservation science. The Nature Conservancy has provided a grant of $9,000 every year since 2008, to support research directed towards practical conservation.

The grant includes $6,000 to be spent on research, and up to $3,000 to cover travel, registration and accommodation costs for the successful applicant to attend the  ESA annual conference to receive their award and the following annual conference to present their research.

The award covers terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecology research with applied outcomes (open to projects including field work, lab-based research or modeling). Projects which include social or economic components are welcome. Additional support will be provided for the recipient to attend two ESA conferences.


Applicants must be:

  • enrolled as a postgraduate research student at an Australian University
  • working on a project that relates to an Australian conservation issue
  • a member of the Ecological Society of Australia.

A condition of the award is that the successful applicant must be able to attend the ESA annual conference in the year of the award to accept the award, and in the following year to present their work as 'The Nature Conservancy Applied Conservation Student Paper'. Registration, accommodation and travel support will be provided as part of the award to assist with attendance at these conferences.

Applications must include the following:

1. Description of the proposed applied conservation research, including background and aims, significance, methods and outcomes (maximum two pages).  This description should include:

  • A title
  • An explanation of how the award would add significantly to the project that is currently planned for the higher degree, and how the research will facilitate an improved understanding of ecological responses of Australia's biota to the impacts of humans and/or facilitate the improved management or protection of Australia's biodiversity and natural and cultural landscapes.
  • Applicants should be able to describe their project clearly and simply to a wide audience (remember that the judges will not necessarily share your specialist expertise in entomology/marine biology/fire ecology etc).
  • You should include citations of previous relevant work in your application, to show how your proposed research advances the field. The reference list does not count as part of the two pages. Use a standard reference format (e.g. you could use the style of Austral Ecology).
  • Make sure you clearly spell out the implications of your work for conservation.
  • The judges will not read past the two-page limit, so be concise.

2. Proposed budget for the grant (just for this grant, not for the whole PhD), including a clear justification for each item of expenditure (maximum one page).

3. A one-page reference from the student's supervisor.

4. A one-page assessment of the significance of the proposed research either from an ecologist who is not involved in the project, or from a representative of a relevant end-user organisation (preferred).

The application (including the references) must be uploaded as a single PDF document. Applications that do not include references will not be considered. We will not give extensions for late referees reports, so line up your referees early.


ESA gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of The Nature Conservancy and the Thomas Foundation in generously funding this significant applied student award.


Event date: 
Friday, April 29, 2016