Global Raptor Research & Conservation Grant

Costa Rican Pygmy Owl© Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Evan R. Buechley

Grant Overview

This grant supports projects addressing global raptor research and conservation priorities. The grant invests in projects led by citizens of developing countries with the aim of increasing diversity and inclusivity in conservation while building local capacity.

In 2019, HawkWatch International led an effort to identify global raptor research and conservation priorities (Buechley et al. 2019). This research identified very stark discrepancies in raptor research efforts worldwide. Ten species (1.8% of all raptors) received nearly one‐third of all raptor research (32%) while over one‐fifth of all raptors (21%, 116 species) had zero research publications. Discouragingly, raptors at risk of extinction and those with declining populations are less studied globally. This effort identified tropical regions of Central and South America, Sub‐Saharan Africa and, particularly, Southeast Asia as the highest priority for investment because they host the highest number of total species, understudied species, and extinction‐prone species. Overall, these findings call for a shift in scientific and conservation resources towards developing countries. This grant aims to provide support and resources to these areas where it is needed most.

In particular, this grant aims to fund projects that are: 

  • Located in high-priority countries for raptor research and conservation, broadly Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as many island countries (see Figure 1 below);
  • Focused on a single species of raptor that is recognized as a high priority species for research and conservation (according to RCPI*, see below);
  • Led by an applicant that is a citizen of the country and who is associated with a registered NGO and/or university in the country where the project will take place.


  • Preference will be given to projects working in low-income countries and to projects that focus on higher priority raptor species;
  • Projects that focus on filling knowledge gaps (i.e. research) or on applied conservation actions, or both, will be considered; 
  • Applicants may apply for up to $2,500 USD; more than one applicant may be funded. 
  • In addition to monetary support, HawkWatch will support successful applicants by providing scientific guidance, networking opportunities, and publicizing project results, as possible and as desired by the awardee.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit the following to by December 31, 2020:

  • Application Deadline: December 31, 2020
  • Applicant Resume or CV (any format is acceptable)
  • Applicant Short Biography (limited to one page, single spaced), detailing the applicants experience, current position and affiliation(s), and how this project relates to other work done by the applicant and to the applicants career goals
  • Support Letter – from the NGO or University that the applicant is affiliated with, specifying that the organization can receive the funds and will disperse them to the applicant
  • Project Description (limited to three pages, single spaced), including:
    • Project abstract (no more than 200 words detailing the species, country, and research question or conservation action that will be pursued)
    • Background – provide background on the species, study site, and research question or conservation action and explain the importance of the project
    • Study Objectives – outline specifically what research or conservation priority the project will aim to fill and how
    • Methods – detail data collection, management, and analysis methods
    • Permits – detail whether permits will be required for the project and the anticipated timeline for acquiring them
    • Expected Outputs – specify deliverables for the project (e.g. project report, scientific publication, number of people engaged, etc., as bullet points)
    • Timeline for project completion (project to be completed within 18 months– detail when each component of the project will start and be completed, including Expected Outputs
    • Literature Cited
    • Budget – detailing specifically how funds will be spent (including if there is any institutional overhead)

Important clarifications:

  • We will not consider applications for projects in the USA, Canada or Europe. 
  • Applications that focus on a raptor species with RCPI* < 0.4 will not be considered for funding.
  • The applicant must be a citizen of the country within which the project will take place.
  • We will not send funds directly to the applicants’ personal account, the money must be received by a registered NGO or University in the country in which the project will take place, and this organization must specify that it is willing to do so in the Support Letter. We will pay no more than 10% of the total grant disbursement in overhead to the NGO or University.
  • The application must be submitted in English (in the future we will work to accommodate other languages)
  • The portion of the project supported must be completed within 18 months of grant receipt. Detailed project reports (specific reporting requirements will be shared with the offer letter).
  • We will consider continued funding of projects upon successful reporting.



Raptor Research and Conservation Priority Index (RCPI) was developed in Buechley et al (2019) to provide a single prioritization metric for all raptor species worldwide that accounts for the conservation status and amount of research on each species. RCPI ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 being lowest priority and 1 being highest priority. Find attached spreadsheet with all raptor species and their RCPI score


Raptor PrioritiesFigure 1
Global geographic patterns in raptor research and conservation priorities. Areas in red are of high priority for raptor research and conservation efforts, and projects occurring in these areas will be given priority for funding. See Buechley et al. (2019) for details.

This grant is funded by HawkWatch International, with the generous support of our donors, particularly the Circle of Life Fund. 

Buechley ER, Santangeli A, Girardello M, Neate-Clegg MH, Oleyar D, McClure, Christopher J. W. Şekercioğlu ÇH. 2019. Global raptor research and conservation priorities: tropical raptors fall prey to knowledge gaps. Diversity and Distributions:1–14. Click here to view file.