External Marine Mammal Science Funding Opportunities

We would like to thank and acknowledge our colleagues at Whalefish for developing this list of marine mammal science opportunities. Visit Whalefish to see additional funding opportunities available in the marine mammal science field.

American Cetacean Society – SF Bay Chapter Grants-in-Aid of Research

The San Francisco Bay American Cetacean Society chapter Grants-in-Aid of Research fund offers small research grants for direct costs of scientific, field-based projects focusing on cetaceans. The Society invites proposals from all cetacean-related disciplines, including the social sciences, which focus on cetaceans and/or their habitats.

SF Bay ACS chapter particularly welcomes applications from early-career researchers such as graduate students and researchers with less than 10 years’ post-doctoral experience, and researchers whose work focuses on small cetaceans in Northern California, with emphasis in the Bay Area.
The SF Bay American Cetacean Society chapter has a long-standing commitment to providing young scientists with ‘seed money’ for research projects in cetacean-related disciplines.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums 

Conservation Grants Fund (previously called the Conservation Endowment Fund, or CEF) are awarded in six categories: Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Conservation Education, Field Conservation and/or Reintroduction, Management and/or Breeding and Research. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums of all sizes have received CGF grants. Many grants have been awarded to collaborations among AZA-accredited institutions; state, federal and international wildlife agencies; academia; and major conservation NGOs. Please check their website for eligibility and application guidelines.

Auckland Zoo Small Grants Program

Auckland Zoo supports wildlife conservation in the wild, both in New Zealand and around the world. Please check their website for application deadlines.

Biodiversity Foundation

The Biodiversity Foundation (Fundación Biodiversidad) is a public foundation of Spain’s Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs.  The Foundation funds projects in Spain and internationally in themes of biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable development. Most international cooperation projects are in Latin America, and to a lesser extent in Sub-Saharan Africa.  However, there are no geographical restrictions. Grants in international cooperation are open to Spanish organizations; nonprofit organizations in EU countries; nonprofit organizations in developing countries with international support from Spain and international organizations. Check the website for the annual application deadline.

Cetacean Society International (CSI)

CSI’s goal is to assist cetacean science, conservation and education projects and people in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. Their general priorities are for urgent conservation/management issues and projects, but they will consider travel to conferences and courses. Grant requests may be made at any time, and can be expedited forspecial needs. CSI prefers to give small grants to help as many people as possible, rather than large grants to a few projects. There are several other ways CSI may help, with useful contacts, letters of support, and equipment.

Chicago Zoological Association – Endangered Species Fund

The Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund considers proposals for a specific threatened, vulnerable or endangered species or a specific habitat that is of high biological value or that is substantially threatened (IUCN Red List Status). Applications are evaluated 4 times a year. Please check their website for application guidelines and deadlines.

ESRI Conservation program

The ESRI Conservation Program is the non-profit support arm of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). Through our donations, We have helped to create and develop spatial analysis, computer mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) capability among thousands of non-profit organizations and individual projects of all sizes and types worldwide. Please check their website for application guidelines.

Fondation Ensemble 

Fondation Ensemble aims to promote a sustainable human development, i.e. integrating environmental protection, in every supported project. Their Small Grants Fund is involved in five intervention sectors, under the sign of Sustainable Development: Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Fishing, Biodiversity Conservation, Renewable Energies and Eco-materials. Check their website for application guidelines and deadlines.

Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is a large grant maker on a world scale, and it makes about 2,000 grants per year.  The Foundation’s program in Sustainable Development includes grant making for conservation and natural resources, e.g., climate change and community-based resource management. Most of the foundation’s grant funds are given to organizations.  Ford also makes grants to individuals for fellowships towards advanced degrees in areas of interest to the Foundation. Applications to the Foundation are through its regional offices.  For each region, Ford explains its grant-making priorities, the types of grants it provides, and the application process.

Future for Nature Foundation

The Future for Nature Foundation presents the Future for Nature Award to recognize and financially support individuals for their efforts in species protection. The Foundation gives priority to the conservation and protection of endangered species (i.e., IUCN’s Red List). Check their website for annual application deadline.

Global Conservation Fund

GCF, made possible by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, aid financing protected areas. Check their website for eligibility.

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Marine Conservation Initiative supports marine conservation projects, mainly related to sustainable fisheries. Check their website for eligibility.

J.M. Kaplan Fund

Among other program areas, the J.M. Kaplan Fund supports grant making in Environment.  The emphasis is marine conservation, especially in ocean waters that lie beyond the jurisdiction of a single national government. Organizations submit a brief letter to describe their work and its relevance to the specific program interests of the Fund.

Lighthouse Foundation

The Lighthouse Foundation promotes science and research, teaching, culture, and the principles of environmentalism and international development in relation to the world’s seas and oceans. Themes include coastal and marine ecotourism at the community level; artisanal fisheries; mariculture; marine policy and management; support for marine reserves; mangrove protection; and others. Grant recipients are conservation NGOs, community NGOs, universities and educational organizations, and government organizations. Applications can be made throughout the year.

Marine Conservation Institute – Grants in historical marine ecology

Marine Conservation Institute awards grants to promising young scientists studying what our oceans were like before humans began significantly altering marine ecosystems. This information is essential for helping us set appropriate targets for marine conservation efforts. Check their website for application deadlines.

Marine Mammal Commission — Grants to Protect Marine Mammals

The Marine Mammal Commission makes grants for research and conservation of whales, dolphins, porpoises, dugongs, manatees, polar bears, otters, seals, and sea lions. The Commission also funds conferences, workshops, and other forms of education and outreach in this topic area. The grants program is open worldwide. Small grants are less than US$10 thousand, with one application stage. Grants over US$10 thousand are awarded in two stages.

Nando Peretti Foundation

The Nando Peretti Foundation provides grants to projects which fall into one of the following areas: Charity, Educational, Environmental conservation, Medical research, Construction, Cultural/Artistic. The categories “Campaigns” and “Historical Partners” include projects which are grouped according to various criteria. Check their website for annual application deadlines and application guidelines.

National Geographic’s Conservation Trust

The Conservation Trust is a grant program that supports innovative solutions to conservation challenges and issues of global concern. The Trust encourages projects with a strong emphasis on conservation science. In particular, it seeks to support those projects that test and critically evaluate alternative approaches to conservation. Projects that hold potential as media subject matter are also encouraged, as National Geographic’s vast audience offers our grantees opportunities to make a broad public impact. Please check the website for application guidelines and deadlines.

National Geographic Research and Exploration Grants

The National Geographic Society awards grants for scientific field research and exploration through its Committee for Research and Exploration. All proposed projects must have both a geographical dimension and relevance to other scientific fields and be of broad scientific interest.

Applications are generally limited to the following disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, biology, botany, geography, geology, oceanography, paleontology, and zoology.

In addition the committee is emphasizing multidisciplinary projects that address environmental issues (e.g., loss of biodiversity and habitat, effects of human-population pressures).

Applicants to this program are expected to have advanced degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent) and be associated with an educational organization or institution.

Ocean Care

OceanCare works on conservation and research projects worldwide in a global commitment to protect marine mammals and oceans. Check out their website for contact information.

Project AWARE

The Project AWARE Foundation aims to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy, and action.  Project AWARE makes grants to nonprofit organizations, institutions, and individuals for activities directly related to conservation of underwater environments — both marine and freshwater – on a worldwide basis.  Check their website for application deadlines.

Rapid Response Facility

The Rapid Response Facility (RRF) is jointly sponsored by Fauna & Flora International, the UNESCO World Heritage Center, and the United Nations Foundation.  The RRF delivers rapid conservation funding in times of crisis, with a focus on UNESCO’s natural World Heritage sites.

Eligibility for grants extends to agencies legally responsible for site management; registered NGOs (local, national, international); and the private sector.  Completed application forms are submitted by email at any time.  RRF aims to process applications and make decisions within a few working days.

Royal Caribbean International – The Ocean Fund

The Ocean Fund of Royal Caribbean supports efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on this environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life. Ocean Fund grants are made annually to a variety of nonprofit groups and institutions conducting activities directly related to marine conservation. Check their website for application guidelines.

Save Our Seas Foundation

SOSF offers a series of Grants dedicated to research, conservation and/or education projects worldwide. Projects should integrate at least two of these components, and the focus is on charismatic marine megafauna, and particularly Sharks, Rays and Skates. Please check their website for their application guidelines.

SeaWorld Conservation Fund

SeaWorld Conservation Fund supports projects in 4 key categories: Species Research, Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, Habitat Protection and Conservation Education. Check their website for application guidelines.


SOS offers grants that can be applied specifically to saving threatened species and their habitats. There are two types of grants: Threatened Species Grants and the Rapid Action Grants. Please check the website for eligibility and application guidelines.

Species Conservation Fund (Mohamed Bin Zayed)

The Species Conservation Fund’s reach is truly global, and its species interest is non-discriminatory. It is open to applications for funding support from conservationists based in all parts of the world, and will potentially support projects focused on any and all kinds of plant, animal and fungus species, subject to the approval of an independent evaluation committee. Please check the website for application guidelines and deadlines.

Biodiversity, Conservation, Wildlife – Terra Viva Grants Directory

An extensive directory listing grants for work relating to biodiversity, conservation and wildlife around the world.

The Explorers Club

The Youth Activity Fund Grant supports high school students and college undergraduates. Its goal is to foster a new generation of explorers dedicated to the advancement of the scientific knowledge of our world. The Exploration Fund Grant is for graduate, post-graduate, doctorate and early career post-doctoral students. It provides grants in support of exploration and field research for those who are just beginning their research careers.

Check their website for annual application deadlines.

The Ocean Foundation

The World Ocean Fund is The Ocean Foundation’s most general pooled fund, designed for donors of all sizes who have an interest in the saving our oceans and no particular ocean conservation issue in mind.  The Fund addresses urgent needs, emerging issues, and provides grants in areas that do not yet warrant a specialized fund.  The Foundation has furthermore several other funds such as the Ocean Leadership Fund. Please check their website for eligibility and application guidelines.

The Walt Disney Company

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund provides financial support for the study of wildlife, the protection of habitats and community conservation and education. The goal is to support conservation organizations focused on long-term positive impacts for wildlife and habitats. The Annual Conservation Grants are by invitation only. However, there is also a Rapid Response Fund provided in response to urgent environmental or conservation needs.

Total Foundation

The Foundation supports a program area in environment which makes grants for marine biodiversity, marine invasive species, and marine ecosystem restoration. Grant recipients are a wide range of international organizations, government agencies, conservation NGOs, and research institutes and universities in France and internationally. Applications can be made throughout the year. Check their website for application guidelines.

Walton Family Foundation 

The Walton Family Foundation supports projects that pursue lasting conservation solutions for oceans and rivers. Check their website for application criteria and guidelines.

Waitt Foundation Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program

The Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program is a project of the Waitt Foundation. ROC Grants provide small grants with a quick turnaround time for solutions to emerging conservation issues. This complements the Waitt Foundation’s existing major grants program and is responsive to conservation opportunities, supports higher-risk ideas at a low financial cost, and engages with small, local NGOs on a global scale.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)

WDC supports and leads ground-breaking scientific research, funding whale and dolphin conservation field projects around the world.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

There are several types of grants from WCS such as the Conservation Leadership Programme, WCS Graduate Scholarship Program, Climate Adaptation Fund and the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund. Please check their website for application guidelines.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

WWF works to provide long-term, sustainable financing to biodiversity conservation by partnering with governments, private industries, communities and other non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, WWF’s professional development grant provides support for mid-career conservationists to pursue short-term, non-degree training to upgrade their knowledge and skills through short courses, workshops, symposiums, conferences (if presenting), and professional exchanges. Check their website for eligibility and application guidelines.