Purpose: The Washington Biologists’ Field Club (WBFC), organized in 1900, annually provides competitive grants to support field research on the natural history of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. The WBFC welcomes proposals that consider aspects of natural history, systematics, biodiversity, ecology, or environmental issues. Studies focusing on organisms occurring on Plummers Island, Maryland, and within the Potomac River drainage typically have priority, but field-based research projects conducted throughout the Mid-Atlantic are considered. The WBFC is particularly interested in studies increasing knowledge of the biodiversity, conservation, and natural history of poorly-known taxa. Awards that were funded in 2020 supported studies of milkweed management, periodical cicada competition and community ecology, carbon dynamics in coastal marshes, urban songbird movement and demography, mosquito populations and urban ecology, abiotic drivers of stream insects, conservation genetics of eastern checkerspot butterflies, host-viral interactions in fence lizards and box turtles, and an insect biodiversity survey of a local marsh.

Eligibility: Applications are accepted from individuals qualified to perform the proposed research. Applicants who are not members of the WBFC are required to obtain a letter of sponsorship from a WBFC member. A list of sponsors is available at the club’s web site (https://wbfc.science/; click on the “Research” link). The sponsoring member need not be involved in the applicant’s research or the publication of results, but must be familiar with applicant’s scientific abilities, credentials, and proposed research. The sponsor will serve as liaison between the grant recipient and the WBFC Research Committee during the term of the award.

Financial information: WBFC provides awards of up to $5000 for selected studies. Proposals requesting smaller amounts ($50–$3000) are strongly encouraged, because these permit WBFC to support a greater number and diversity of studies. Awardees are reimbursed for qualified expenses upon submission of receipts. Funds may be used for travel to study sites, actual field expenses, honoraria for assistants, and cost of specialized equipment and tests. Principal Investigator’s salary, publication costs, and overhead or administrative costs are not supported.

Requests for funds to cover publication costs of studies receiving WBFC funding can be made directly to the Board of the WBFC. Equipment purchased with WBFC funds becomes the property of the institution with which the researcher is affiliated at the time the proposal is funded.

Duration: Grants are officially awarded for one year, but applicants will have until January 1, 2023, to spend 2021 award funds. After that date, unspent funds revert to the WBFC.

Application procedure: An application consists of (1) a description of the project, including title, name and affiliation of applicant, and a concise (≤ 1000 words) referenced explanation of the project that includes its scientific significance and relevance to the Mid-Atlantic Region; (2) a clear, itemized budget listing anticipated expenses and explanations of expenses; (3) a time table that includes the anticipated spending schedule and completion date; (4) a curriculum vitae of the applicant, including educational background and a list of publications; and (5) a letter of support from a sponsoring member. Items #1–4 should be sent as a single electronic file (pdf). The letter of support may be sent separately. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the letter of support arrives before the deadline. Items #4 & 5 are not required for applications from WBFC members. Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

Responsibilities: A status report summarizing project activities is required by 1 February 2022, and a final report must be submitted to the WBFC Research Committee chair before 1 February 2023. Publications from studies supported by WBFC should acknowledge WBFC support, and PDFs of publications should be provided to the Chair of the Research Committee. It is the responsibility of the grantee to obtain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees approvals and all appropriate research permits. Voucher specimens should be deposited in an appropriate institution.

Submission: Applications and letters of support should be submitted by email to:

John Lill, Chair, WBFC Research Committee lillj@gwu.edu

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2021.

You should receive an e-mail acknowledging that your application has been received. The committee anticipates reviewing applications immediately following the deadline, and applicants should receive notification of the status of their proposals by the end of February 2021.

A PDF version of this RFP is available here.