Darwin Scholarship Programme applications open

Applications for the 2015 Darwin Scholarship Programme are now open. The aim of the programme is to develop better naturalists, in the spirit of Charles Darwin’s love of the natural world.

Aimed at young scientists from around the world, so far over 110 people from 44 countries have taken part. The seventh Darwin Scholarship Programme will take place over ten days in August 2015.

Led by the Field Studies Council (FSC), the Darwin Scholarship Programme is UK based but open to scientists everywhere. Students and staff from NGOs, governmental departments and university biology or ecology faculties are invited to apply.

Applicants need to be under the age of 35 and studying at graduate or post graduate level, be a young lecturer or work for an environmental organisation.

The Scholarship has been designed to address the areas considered to be least developed or under represented in science education on a global scale.

It will focus on skills of observation and identification, recording biodiversity and communicating biodiversity to different target groups.

Identifying freshwater macro-invertebrates. Credit: Richard Dawson.

Students practice identifying freshwater macro-invertebrates to assess water quality. Credit: Richard Dawson.

In a statement released by FSC, course director Richard Dawson stated, “Firstly, there is a global shortage of taxonomists and experts with observation and identification skills. Secondly, there is a need to record biodiversity in a more coherent and robust way both nationally and internationally, and finally there is a huge need for scientists to communicate more effectively with a range of different groups from school students and the general public through to decision makers.”

The Scholarship focuses on these three needs, with overarching aims to:

  • strengthen observational competencies of young field scientists;
  • give greater credence to recording and demonstrate the importance of national biodiversity databases;
  • enhance communication skills for scientists to help them successfully engage with target groups;
  • build community partnerships to aid biodiversity monitoring; and
  • develop resources to promote exploration and observation.

The FSC is offering this scholarship as part of its ongoing international programme of work and to celebrate the work of Charles Darwin.

Although Darwin is usually remembered for his work on the theory of evolution, much of this was based on his enthusiasm for the natural world together with first hand observation and exploration of the natural environment.

Applications close Monday 19 January 2015 – visit their website to find out more about the Scholarship and how to apply for one of the 25 available places.