Applications for AOS Student & Postdoc Research Awards are now closed. The next application cycle will open 1 December 2020.

AOS gives annual Student Research Awards of up to $2,500 to support research in various areas of avian biology by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. AOS encourages undergraduate students from any region to apply. These awards are administered by the Research Awards Committee.

Postdocs may also be interested in AOS’s Kessel Fellowships for Ornithological Research.

The AOS Research Awards

  • Donald L. Bleitz Research Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  • Betty and Herbert Carnes Research Award: 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).
  • Joseph Grinnell Research Award: 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 Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate), with preference given to those studying birds in the wild.
  • Mewaldt-King Research Award: 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 Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate); designated to encourage ornithological research by women students.
  • Josselyn Van Tyne Memorial Research Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  • Alexander Wetmore Memorial Research Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in avian systematics, paleo-ornithology, biogeography, and especially neotropical biology.
  • AOS Student Research Awards: Multiple awards supporting student research (Undergraduate, Masters, Doctorate, non affiliated researcher) in all areas of avian biology.
  • AOS Postdoctoral Research Awards: 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 award. 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.

Research Award Eligibility

  • 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 awards per lifetime. Typically, two lifetime awards 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 Award may also apply for funds from other sources such as the Frank M. Chapman Memorial FundSigma Xi, and Animal Behavior Society (see also “Funding Opportunities” 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

Applications are now closed. The next application cycle will open 1 December 2020.

  • Clicking “Apply Now” will direct you to a login screen. If you have previously created an account, your Login ID is your email address. After logging in, you will be redirected to the Student Research Award application page.
  • If you have not previously created an account, click Create Account at the lower left to set up your profile.
  • You can also navigate to the submission page from the Member Portal homepage under “Open Competitions” in the lower right.
  • Note: Please only create one application in the system. 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 Awards online form in the 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 Awards – 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? Yes. The proposal text through the Lit Cited should be double-spaced. Your Budget/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 write a brief report summarizing their accomplishments so far (one page maximum, including one ore more photos of the applicant conducting their research in the field or lab) by December 31 in the year they receive the grant, and an equally brief report at the completion of their project or by one 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 receipts) to the AOS business office at the end of their project or by the end of a year following award receipt.

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.

    From the field

    Another way I participate in outreach is writing newspaper articles to promote public awareness on biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability. I was excited to receive the 2019 Eco-Challenge Award for this work! Thank you for following along this week with my takeover of the AOS Instagram account.  #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #stemeducation #scicomm
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[Thanks, Adrianne! If YOU are an AOS member and would like to be featured here for a week, please get in touch.]I collaborate with the Puerto Rican Ornithological Society (SOPI in Spanish) on their education projects, such as giving talks at bird festivals and organizing bird identification workshops. SOPI members will be organizing birding tours for participants of #NAOC2020 in San Juan this summer! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #stemeducation  #puertorico
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[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]With support of BirdsCaribbean and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I published a bird book for children. I really enjoy giving presentations to students in schools, clubs, and camps. It is a great experience to share the knowledge with young audiences! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #caribbean
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[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]Last year we celebrated the biannual conference of BirdsCaribbean in the French island of Guadeloupe. Delegates from 34 countries participated in a week of presentations, birding, and networking. These meetings are always a lot of fun! #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #caribbean
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[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]I have been a member of BirdsCaribbean since 1999, when I was a graduate student. As part of this society I have had a chance to meet and work with colleagues from different countries throughout the region. Here I am having good times with Caribbean friends in Cuba in 2017! #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #caribbean
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[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]In 2017, my students and I initiated waterbird surveys in a small lagoon that lies within a Puerto Rican dairy farm. Interestingly, we have found 33 species, including migratory ducks, shorebirds and a single individual of Caribbean Flamingo. The birds are used to cows getting in the water to freshen up!  #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #puertorico
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[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]My undergraduate research group monitors seabirds in the northwestern part of the island. We focus on the White-tailed Tropicbird, which can only be seen near land when individuals come to nest in cliffs from January to June. This part of the island was designated as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. The natural beauty of the site is impressive! Video by Raymond Infante. #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science #conservation #womeninstem #latinainstem #puertorico
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[Our thanks to AOS member Adrianne Tossas, a Puerto Rican ornithologist helping plan this summer's #NAOC2020, who's taking over this account for the week!]
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