The AOS gives annual Student Research Grants of up to $2,500 to support research in various areas of avian biology by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. The AOS encourages undergraduate students from any region to apply. These grants are administered by the Research Awards Committee. All award and grant nominees are expected to have a high standard of ethical and social behavior that is strongly aligned with the AOS Code of Conduct & Ethics.

Applications for AOS Student Research Grants are currently closed.

  • Donald L. Bleitz Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  • Betty and Herbert Carnes Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate); designated to support women who are non-smokers (i.e., have not smoked for at least the previous six months).
  • Penny Ficken Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  • Joseph Grinnell Research Grant: Supports beginning research efforts of doctoral students in their first or second year of enrollment, in any aspect of avian biology.
  • Werner and Hildegard Hesse Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate), with preference given to those studying birds in the wild.
  • Mewaldt-King Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in any area of ornithology that relates to the conservation of birds. Studies of species from threatened ecosystems or that reference large-scale conservation issues such as climate or landscape change are especially welcome, as are studies that involve the demographics, breeding biology, or disease ecology of species that are endangered, threatened, or otherwise of management concern.
  • Margaret Morse Nice Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate); designated to encourage ornithological research by women students.
  • Josselyn Van Tyne Memorial Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  • Alexander Wetmore Memorial Research Grant: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in avian systematics, paleo-ornithology, biogeography, and especially neotropical biology.
  • AOS Student Research Grant: Multiple awards supporting student research (Undergraduate, Masters, Doctorate, non affiliated researcher) in all areas of avian biology.
  • AOS Postdoctoral Research Grant: Multiple awards supporting postdoctoral research in all areas of avian biology for those that do not have access to major funding and can demonstrate need.

Applicants need not indicate that they are applying for a particular grant. After evaluating and ranking all proposals, the Committee Chair will determine which fund is most appropriate for supporting the top proposals. All applicants will receive an email confirmation upon successful submission of their application and will be informed of the outcome of their application by 1 May.


  • The applicant must be an AOS member and a full-time or recently graduated undergraduate, masters, or doctoral student, OR a postdoctoral researcher without access to funds from major granting agencies.
  • The applicant must be the individual conducting the specific research project and responsible for data analysis.
  • An applicant may receive a maximum of one research award per year and two research grants per lifetime. Typically, two lifetime grants would consist of one award for an M.S. project and a second later award for a Ph.D. project; however, other scenarios are possible. Individuals are limited to one award per degree program or project.
  • Applicants for an AOS Research Grant may also apply for funds from other sources such as the Frank M. Chapman Memorial FundSigma Xi, and Animal Behavior Society (see also Funding Resources on this page). However, requests for funding from other sources must be noted in your application. If successful in obtaining funds from both AOS and other sources, applicants are expected to notify the Committee Chair.

To Apply

The application form for AOS Research Grants is currently closed. Applications must be submitted through the AOS Member Portal.

  • You must click the “Submit” button before this deadline. Submissions received after the deadline will not be accepted.
  • Only one application per individual will be accepted. In cases where multiple applications are submitted by the same individual, only one will be reviewed. If you save a draft of your application, please continue editing it the next time you log in rather than starting a new application.

Application Format

Applicants need to enter all required information in the AOS Research Grants online form in the AOS Member Portal. In addition, applicants must upload their application as a single PDF file that does not exceed 8 pages. Applications not using this format will not be accepted.

A complete application consists of a proposal statement, a budget, and a curriculum vitae. Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact us.

AOS Research Grants – Guidelines for Application Format (PDF)

Hints for Writing a Successful Proposal (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can my application be accepted after the deadline on the AOS website and in the competition portal?  No, the posted deadline is firm and applicants are encouraged to complete their application well ahead of the deadline. All applications received prior to the deadline are acknowledged with a confirmation notice from AOS.
  • Does the Literature Cited have to be double-spaced? No. Literature Cited and CV can be single-spaced.
  • Is a letter of recommendation from my advisor required? No letters are required, but you must indicate that your advisor has approved the project.
  • Can an individual receive research award funds directly, or do they need to go through an institution? Funds can go directly to an individual recipient; however, if an individual receives the payment directly, tax documentation is needed and the payment is reported to the IRS as taxable income. If an award recipient receives the check directly, we recommend that they consult with a tax professional regarding the documentation they need for tax filing purposes. It is generally in the recipient’s best interest that the funds go through their institution.
  • Can a proposal be in a language other than English? No, only proposals submitted in English will be accepted.
  • Does my project need to be completed within a year? The Research Awards Committee evaluates proposals based on the expectation that the research will be completed within the calendar year. If delays cause a recipient to deviate from the one-year time frame, they are required to justify a no-cost extension in their reporting.

Application Evaluation

Successful applications are usually built around one or a few carefully defined, feasible, and clearly delineated question(s). Other characteristics of a good proposal include necessary background information, alternative hypotheses (if appropriate), relevant citations and figures, and clear, concise writing. Common problems with applications include proposed research projects that are too broad and overly ambitious, objectives that are defined too loosely, and methods that are stated too vaguely. Review and critique of the application by your advisor and one or two additional colleagues will likely improve its readability and overall quality. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Significance and originality of the scientific question
  • Clarity of the objectives
  • Feasibility of the plan of research
  • Appropriateness of the budget

Reporting and Accounting

Successful applicants are required to provide an update on their research progress by December 31 in the year they receive the grant.
A brief report summarizing their accomplishments (one page minimum, including one or more photos of the applicant conducting their research in the field or lab) at the completion of their project or by December 31st of the year after receiving the award, whichever comes first.

These reports help AOS recognize award winners’ work and are necessary for IRS reporting on AOS grant programs. Successful applicants are also required to keep records of their expenditures and to submit a table of expenditures with their final report. Submit reports via the submission portal; log in, under “My Activity”, select “Submit Research Report” for more detailed instructions.

Successful applicants must acknowledge their award from AOS in any publications resulting from the funded project. A PDF of any such publication (or thesis abstract) should be submitted to AOS as soon as the publication is available.