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

    I also use small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS, aka drones) in my work in conservation as well as in work for the electric industry unrelated to conservation. Drones can cause much less disturbance than traditional methods when checking the nests of raptors. Drones can also be used to install line markers to reduce avian collisions, to inspect nests for entanglement hazards, or to quantify wildlife. I even get to fly drones in high voltage environments where a person would be killed if they entered! It's been fun taking over the AOS Instagram account this week — if you have questions about my work, you can reach me at jdwyer@edmlink.com! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #wildlife #drones #powerlines
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A big thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer for his posts this week! If you're an AOS member and would like to be featured here, please send us a message.The Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), which I posted about earlier this week, is just one way of addressing avian collisions with power lines. Other methods involve “line marking,” which uses attachments on wires to increase line visibility. Unfortunately, these methods are not as reliable as we would like. In the attached photos, a Green-winged Teal in Colorado, a sparrow in Colorado, a sparrow in Wyoming, a warbler in California, and a Ring-billed Gull in California illustrate the range of species and habitats where collisions occur. #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #conservation #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]Avian electrocutions can be prevented. Electrocutions can cause power outages, damage expensive equipment, start wildfires, and violate state and federal conservation laws. I tend to emphasize the first three concerns when working with utilities because unplanned outages, equipment replacement, and wildfire controls or restitution can be used in sound business cases for investing in avian electrocution mitigation regardless of the political climate. In the attached photos, an electrocuted Black-billed Magpie in Idaho (burned feet), Common Raven in California (burned beak), Bald Eagle in Colorado (burned neck and back), and Great Horned Owl in Arizona (burned wing) illustrate the range of species and habitats where electrocutions occur. All photos by me. #ornithology #birds #conservation #science #wildlife
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]I’ve had great opportunities to work in avian conservation internationally in Africa, Canada, the Dominican Republic, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Hungary, and Spain. In these photos, a Griffon Vulture in South Africa feeds in front of a power line (out of image frame) where numerous vultures have been electrocuted, a Ridgeway’s Hawk in the Dominican Republic jumps through the air gap around a power line to land on a conductor cover installed to prevent avian electrocutions, and an electrocuted Common Buzzard and Griffon Vulture can be seen on pylons. All photos by me. #ornithology #birds #science #conservation #wildlife #raptors #birdsofprey #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]In addition to my research, I give back by contributing to the leadership of the Raptor Research Foundation. I am the current Chair of the Conservation Committee, the former (and founding) Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee, a former Chair (and current member) of the Scientific Committee, and a former Board Member. I’m also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Raptor Research (JRR), and right now I’m working on a special issue of JRR focused on raptors’ interactions with power lines. Here are some photos of my experiences handling and banding raptors, by Angela Dwyer, Melissa Landon, and myself. #ornithology #science #birds #conservation #wildlife #raptors #birdsofprey
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]In addition to having a peer-reviewed scientific article on the Avian Collision Avoidance System published in The Condor (see my last post!), I was lucky enough to publish an article about it in an electric industry trade magazine. Though not always emphasized in academia, encouraging communications with industry can have important conservation implications! #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #conservation #scicomm #sandhillcrane #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]I was part of the team that developed the Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), described in a recent publication in The Condor. This system shines UV lights on power lines to make them more visible to Sandhill Cranes, and tests showed that it reduces crane collisions with power lines by 98%. The video clip included in this post shows what can happen when cranes encounter power lines WITHOUT a system like ACAS in place. Photos by me, video by Laura McHale. #ornithology #birds #science #sandhillcrane #wildlife #conservation #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]
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