The next application cycle for AOS Student & Postdoc Research Awards will open December 1, 2019.

AOS gives annual 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.

The AOS Research Awards

  • Donald L. Bleitz Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  • Herbert and Betty Carnes 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 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 Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate), with preference given to those studying birds in the wild.
  • Mewaldt-King 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 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.

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. 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

Please submit applications using our online Member Portal. After logging in, click the “View Open Competitions” link in the lower right of your homepage and then select the appropriate award. 

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 I submit my application after the deadline has passed? No. This is a firm deadline and we strongly encourage you to apply early to avoid any last-minute complications.
  • 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.

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

    Finally, I’m so pleased to share with the AOS community the newest @audubonsociety report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink. Five years in the making, this report finds that 389 of 604 species evaluated are highly vulnerable to climate change. We compared the effects of a business-as-usual emissions trajectory (3.0 C average warming) to a scenario of drastic emissions reductions (1.5 C warming). The good news is risk to 76% of these birds can be reduced by emissions mitigation, and Audubon will be mobilizing its broad base to #ActOnClimate now.
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In a changing climate, birds are coping with disruptions in food, shelter, competition, extreme weather events. Looking at a combination of climate and vegetation predictor variables, we project spatial patterns of net loss and gain across continental Canada, U.S., and Mexico under 3.0 C of warming (figure 2). The boreal forest may see concerning rates of species loss in summer, and the Midwest and mountainous west may also see losses.
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As we know, climate change encompasses more than just long-term changes in average precipitation, temperature, and vegetation. In a novel analysis, we mapped nine acute climate-related threats (like fire risk, extreme heat, sea level rise) across the contiguous 48 states for which data were available. Risk (figure 3) is the product of the number of threats, the number of bird species under future conditions, and the number of vulnerable species under future climate—showing areas of high conservation priority.
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This can seem like a dreary message, but Audubon has a long history of achieving policy solutions that protect birds and better the environment; this effort is no exception. Reduce your energy use at home, ask your elected officials to expand clean energy development, advocate for natural coastlines and rivers to help with climate adaptation, or simply tell your elected officials that climate and conservation are election issues for you. Thank you for following me this week and let’s create a better future starting with climate.audubon.org! #BirdsTellUs #birds #wildlife #conservation #science #ornithology #climatechange
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[Thanks for a great week, Joanna!]@audubonsociety is also a powerful voice for environmental advocacy. Our work has led to the banning of lead ammunition in California, the proposed listing of Tricolored Blackbirds under the Endangered Species Act, and the defense of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to name a few. In photo 1, a group of us are lobbying for the protection of California's public lands. Learning about issues surrounding women in the workplace is another personal passion of mine, and at the #AudubonConvention earlier this year, I was lucky to be among like-minded colleagues on a panel for women about making our voices heard (photo 2, by Hannah Waters). #birdstellus #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #environmentaladvocacy #science #ornithology
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]As Project Manager & Avian Biologist at @audubonsociety, I work now mostly in R. My projects here include climate-related research, point count data analysis, research on North American grasslands and grassland birds, and managing Important Bird Areas. Last year I led a study done in partnership with the @nationalparkservice looking at how bird communities in these protected areas may be affected by climate change (photo 1). It was really gratifying to see this work visualized by @stamendesign on a 50-foot mural in downtown San Francisco (photo 2)! In doing all this work, I get to collaborate with great teammates. Some of us were at #AOS18AZ (photo 3), and this June many of us met again in Alaska at #AOS19AK (photo 4). Photos by Zach Slavin, Andrea Jones, and me. #birdstellus #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #environmentaladvocacy #birds #science #ornithology
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]After finishing my master's degree, I moved back to California and conducted point count surveys in sometimes remote areas of the Sierra Nevadas (first photo; not a bad way to spend your summers!), compiled the state’s first conservation strategy on the Great Gray Owl, and worked in burned areas (second photo) to study impacts of fire on riparian birds and bumblebees. I was elated the day we caught swallows, which almost never end up in mist nets! It seems a flock of young Violet-green Swallows were flying low, perhaps chasing insects, and a number of them landed right in our nets. Their tiny feet and incredibly long wings were definitely different from the riparian birds we were targeting! Photos by me and Spencer Hardy.  #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #fieldwork #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]For my master's research, I worked in the lava fields of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Hawaiian birds are the most imperiled group of birds in the United States, and some ecosystems have collapsed following habitat alteration, predation by invasive species, and diseases like avian malaria. I worked in the relatively undisturbed kīpuka forests, naturally fragmented by lava flows. There, I studied how the native thrush, ʻŌmaʻo, differed in seed dispersal capabilities from the introduced Japanese White-eye. I found that the white-eye flew farther, but because it was much smaller than the ʻŌmaʻo, it dispersed smaller seeds and couldn’t fully replace the native frugivore where ʻŌmaʻo are extirpated. Ecosystem services like this are already lost for the bigger ʻAlalā, and conservation of Hawaiian birds is direly needed. Photos by Mark Kimura and Nick Turner. #hawaii #ornithology #science #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #fieldwork #birds #wildlife
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]I learned how to use binoculars from my first field job! Just kidding, but I did learn the invaluable skill of closely observing nature following the ways of naturalist Joseph Grinnell. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant, I did not know that conservation biology was a career option. It was only when I came across a summer field assistantship at @ucberkeleyofficial that I got a taste of ornithology—and I’ve been hooked ever since. Scientists there were welcoming mentors and invested their time in undergraduates. I mist-netted birds and fell in love with them up close. A whole functioning creature less than the size of my hand—how amazing birds are! The key thing about that field assistant position was that it was paid. I didn’t have the privilege of working for free, and had the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology not had funding to pay assistants that summer, I would have taken a different job and not have found my passion so early on. It may seem trivial, but working funded internships and assistantships into grants will actively benefit a diverse pool of candidates. Photo: Madeline Tiee. #science #WomenInSTEM #WomenInScience #conservation #BirdConservation #fieldwork #ornithology #ConservationBiology #birds #wildlife
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]Hi! My name is Joanna Wu. I'm an #AOSMember and a Project Manager and Avian Biologist on the Science team at @audubonsociety. I have mostly worked on climate projects here ⁠— I led Audubon's 2018 Birds and Climate Change in Our National Parks scientific publication and ensuing products, and I conducted a similar project with @parks.canada this year. Before joining Audubon, I worked at @instbirdpop in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, and I worked on Hawaiʻi Island for my masters research, studying seed dispersal in a landscape naturally fragmented by lava flows. I will be sharing about all of these projects this week here on the AOS Instagram account! Photo: Luke Franke/Audubon. #climatescience #birdstellus #climatechange #science #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #ornithology #birds
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