NOFO: USFWS MENTOR-Bat, a global conservation fellowship program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Notice of Funding Opportunity – MENTOR-Bat Program

Notice of Funding Opportunity NumberF22AS00398

Deadline for Submissions – 09 September 2022

Eligibility – public and private institutions of higher education; non-profit non-governmental organizations; multi-national secretariats; foreign national and local government agencies; for-profit organizations; individuals; and U.S. territorial governments;

Project Title – MENTOR-Bat Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting proposals for MENTOR-Bat, a global conservation fellowship program focused on the linkages between the health of bats, people, and the environment. Having co-evolved with a variety of viral pathogens, bats have become reservoir hosts to many pathogens and, therefore, live with the viruses without suffering from the effects of the disease. Disturbance to forest and cave habitats and direct disturbance to bat roosts disrupts this delicate host-pathogen balance, resulting in bats shedding the virus, potentially infecting other animals. Such disturbances may also change the bat hosts’ ranging patterns, resulting in greater contact with humans. For example, in West and Central Africa, the emergence of Ebola virus outbreaks has been associated with areas of elevated forest fragmentation (Rulli 2017). Broadly, the greater the human disturbance of bats and their habitat, the greater the risk of zoonotic disease spillover to humans. The goal of the MENTOR-Bat program is to promote healthy environments where bats and humans coexist with reduced risk of disease transmission.

MENTOR Model Description: The Service currently supports multi-year cooperative agreements to develop the capacity of conservationists through the series of USFWS MENTOR Fellowship programs. MENTOR programs establish transdisciplinary teams of emerging conservation leaders who work together to problem solve on threats to wildlife, such as the unsustainable commercial bushmeat trade and uncontrolled extractive industry exploitation, as well as species conservation focusing on pangolins, manatees, chimpanzees, and fish. For a given MENTOR program, a lead recipient organization works with the Service to further co-design the program. Teams of eight to ten MENTOR Fellows are identified and assembled to participate in rigorous academic and field-based training that emphasizes technical conservation skills, as well as team building, conflict management, environmental governance, outreach, and leadership. Training occurs through a combination of virtual and in-person learning. Fellows learn adaptive management in order to design pilot conservation projects, which they then work as a team to implement in 8-12 months. Fellows work with technical and capacity development Mentors who help them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. At the end of the 18-month program, Fellows earn a post-graduate certificate, diploma, or degree from a national or regional university or college.

This funding opportunity solicits proposals for co-developing a MENTOR-Bat fellowship program. This funding opportunity will award a single cooperative agreement with an expected period of performance of two to three years and a range of $300,000 to $500,000 USD per year and covering multiple countries.

Additional details are available here (LINK).