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Small Grants Scheme

The Association offers multiple awards each year, in honour of four donors, to fund palaeontological research, travel and fieldwork; these are integrated together under the Small Grants Scheme. These grants are open to any member of the Association, although preference is given to students, early career researchers, and members of the Association who are retired.

  • Sylvester-Bradley Awards: Multiple awards up to £1500 GBP each, for palaeontological research.
  • Callomon Award: An award up to £1500 GBP for a project which is normally field-based.
  • Whittington Award: An award up to £1500 GBP for a project which is normally based on museum collections.
  • Stan Wood Award:  A maximum of two awards of up to £1500 GBP for projects in vertebrate palaeontology, and ideally involving fieldwork and fossil collecting.

There is one online application form with a deadline of 1st November. The successful applications will be reported at the December Council meeting, and at this meeting Council will decide on the allocation of the awards based upon the nature of the project made in the application. The awards will be announced at the AGM, and funds will normally be available from 1st January.

Successful applicants will be required to produce a final project report that will be published in the Palaeontological Association Newsletter, and are asked to consider the Association’s meetings and publications as media for conveying the research results. 

Further details and a full list of terms and conditions for the Small Grants Scheme can be found below. Enquiries may be made to the Secretary (secretary@palass.org). 

Before applying, applicants must first read the Terms and Conditions for Small Grants Awards (below).

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions for Small Grants Scheme applications (comprising the Sylvester Bradley Awards, the Callomon Award, the Whittington Award, and the Stan Wood Award) are as follows. Applicants need not specify which award they are applying for; this will be decided by the Association, as appropriate.

  1. Applicants should be members of the Association. 
  2. Proposals must align with the charitable aims of the Association and comply fully with the Instructions to Applicants.
  3. The Association offers multiple awards each year, in honour of four donors, to fund palaeontological research, travel and fieldwork; these are integrated together as the Small Grants Scheme. Applicants need not specify which award they are applying for as this will be decided by the committee following assessment of all proposals.
  4. These grants are open to any member of the Association, although preference is given to students, early career researchers, and retired members. Those in one of these categories should indicate this on the application form.
    An ECR meets all the following criteria: 
    (1) has less than ten years experience after PhD graduation (adjusted pro rata for any periods where an individual was employed in a position where research was not a significant part of the role);
    (2) does not hold an open-ended/permanent contract;
    (3) has not been the PI or equivalent on a research project.
  5. Each application should be accompanied by one reference. Upon submission of an application, the referee will automatically be emailed a link to a web form requesting a short commentary on the applicant’s capabilities to undertake the research proposed. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that this is received by the deadline.
  6. Awards are made to assist palaeontological research (travel, visits to museums, fieldwork, analytical costs, etc.), with each award having a maximum value of £1,500. 
  7. Grants are not made to attend meetings. 
  8. A strong case needs to be made for the purchase of non-specialist equipment (e.g. cameras and lenses, computers). The expectation is that such underpinning equipment is widely available as part of well-found laboratory facilities.
  9. The total project should be achievable within the sum requested. The project should not be a component of a larger project and this should be made clear in the application (see also 11, below).
  10. If applications to other bodies for funding the same project are successful, then payments will not be granted, or will be withheld. 
  11. If an application is made for funding that relates to a PhD or a MSc, then a strong case should be made as to why funding is required above that made available to support the PhD/MSc project, and why the proposed research project was not included when the project was designed. 
  12. We do not fund credit-bearing elements of BSc/MSci/MSc projects.
  13. Funding will not be made retrospectively. 
  14. In normal circumstances awards are made to single individuals, and a case must be made for funding of people other than the applicant.
  15. In planning research and recognising contribution and authorship, we strongly encourage investigators to recruit, and involve at all stages of the research and publication process, suitably qualified/experienced local researchers, especially where specimens, materials and/or data are from low-income or middle-income countries. Please consult the Palaeontological Association Publication Policies and Ethics page.

Assessment of Proposals

Projects are assessed by a panel of five Council members.  Proposals that do not meet the criteria above are not considered further. The remaining applications are scored as A, B, or C by each panel member separately, based on the Small Grants Scheme Criteria for Assessment.

Projects scored as A or C by at least four panel members are awarded this as their final score; all others are scored B. Funding is awarded by a series of random draws. At each step (1-5), the next category is added to the pot; no projects are removed. The draw ceases when the monies available are exhausted.  

  1. A-graded applications from students, early career researchers, and retired members are awarded funding. We would normally expect to fund all these applications. If, exceptionally, the amount required to fund A-graded applications at step 1 exceeds the funding available, a random draw will be used to select projects, and the allocation process will not proceed to step 2.
  2. All other A-graded applications are considered for allocation of funding. If the amount required to fund all these applications exceeds the funding available, a random draw will be used to select projects, and the allocation process comes to an end. If funding remains, step 3 is invoked.
  3. B-graded applications from students, early career researchers, and retired members are considered for allocation of funding. If the amount required to fund all these applications exceeds the funding available, a random draw will be used to select projects, and the allocation process comes to an end. If funding remains, step 4 is invoked.
  4. All other B graded applications are allocated funding. If the amount required to fund all these applications exceeds the funding available, a random draw will be used to select projects. The allocation process comes to an end.

Deadline

1st November 23:59 GMT.

Note: On submission of the application form, an automated email will be sent to your referee requesting a reference in support of this application. This reference needs to be submitted by the deadline shown. As such, please submit your application with enough time to allow your referee to provide their reference. Applications which are not complete (including reference) by the deadline will not be considered. 

Online Application

Applications must be submitted electronically. You will be asked to provide the information outlined below. There is a link to the application form at the bottom of this page. 

Instructions for Applicants

In support of your application, we require you to demonstrate that you possess the capability to deliver the research proposed. You will be asked to enter these into the online application form as follows. Applications are assessed relative to career stage, and allowances are made for any career breaks or other interruptions; section 1B is an opportunity to detail these.  

Section 1

Provide a summary of career to date in list form (Section 1A: 300 words maximum). In addition, if you wish, include in Section 1B details of periods of leave, unemployment, and other career breaks that have impacted on your career progress; dates and duration should be indicated. 

Section 2

This section (400 words maximum) should provide evidence of your experience and hence capability to deliver the proposed research successfully. The level of experience expected, and how this is evidenced, is commensurate with career stage; for example, it is not expected that research students and other ECRs will have the same portfolio of training, outputs and other experiences to draw upon as established researchers.  Two criteria are paramount:

  1. You demonstrate you (and, where appropriate, collaborators and others providing technical assistance) have the relevant skills to deliver the project successfully; 
  2. You have a track record, appropriate for your career stage and positions you have held to date, that has involved independent or supervised research that has addressed important research questions in your field and has resulted in novel research outputs. 

As part of demonstrating your capability to undertake the research proposed we encourage you to describe up to 5 outputs arising from your previous research to demonstrate you have the required skills.  Some latitude as to the number of examples offered is anticipated, based on career stage and recognising not all positions afford the same opportunities for research outputs; the priority is that the outputs referred to are relevant to the proposal, rather than the absolute number thereof.

These outputs can include peer-reviewed publications. For all outputs a brief explanation of the positive impact on the research field is essential. Journal Impact Factors or other metrics for the journal in which an output is published should not be provided as proxy evidence of the significance and impact of the output itself.

Other examples of equally valid outputs, especially for those in the earlier stages of their research career, would include: (1) underpinning datasets or analyses, or software, especially if methodologies used, ideally developed, were innovative at that time and introduced new tools to the field; (2) other means of communicating scientific results (poster and oral contributions at conferences; media activities); (3) demonstrated expertise in particular methodologies (e.g. via participation in, or leading training courses); (4) activities involving project management and leadership (e.g. public engagement and outreach contributions; curatorial activities).  This list is not exhaustive. 

Where there are multiple authors credited for any output listed it is imperative that the applicant details their individual contribution.

Section 3

In this section you will be asked to provide:

  1. Details of any previous Small Grant Scheme award applications.
  2. Details of the proposed project consisting of:
    • Detailed description of the project (max. 5000 characters including punctuation/spaces/line spacing/new paragraph headings).
    • A summary of the project for inclusion into the Palaeontology Newsletter (max. 1500 characters including punctuation/spaces/line spacing/new paragraph headings).
    • Total of funding sought for the project from the Small Grant Scheme in GBP (£).
    • Detailed costings for the project - a breakdown of the proposed expenditure, up to ONE A4 page in length. If your application overlaps with other research you are undertaking, please explain how the total project for which you are seeking funding can be achieved within the sum requested. If the total funding required for the project is in excess of the specified maximum grant amount (£1500 GBP), then details must be given of the amount of additional funding required, the potential funding body or bodies and the current status of any applications. This must be formatted as a single PDF file that can be uploaded during the application process. Maximum 2 MB file size. The document must be single-spaced with a minimum font size of 11 points, and a minimum margin size of 1.5cm.
  3. For current research students ONLY: give details of your current research project, including the title. If your current research project significantly overlaps with this application, provide an explanation of why funding is required above that available for the normal degree programme, together with details of all relevant work that has been or will be undertaken prior to the commencement of the work for which funding is being sought.
  4. Name, address, and email address of ONE referee. This referee will be invited to comment as follows via a webform only after your application is submitted, and in advance of the deadline. (1) In what capacity is the applicant known to you, and how familiar are you with their research capabilities? (100 words). (2) Do you consider the summary provided an accurate self-assessment of the applicant’s capabilities to undertake the research proposed? Explain briefly the basis for your conclusion (250 words maximum).

Online Submission

Application Form

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