Darwin Fellowships offer support to promising individuals who have links with recent or current Darwin Initiative projects and are working in biodiversity or related fields, or whose work may have an impact on biodiversity. Fellows must be from countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources (including the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom).
Up to the equivalent of £1,300 per month will be provided where the Fellow is based in the UK (outside London) or £1,500 per month (within London). Fellowships taking place outside the UK will be offered less. The monthly amount consists of:
- £1,000 per month for Fellows based within the UK but outside London, and £1,200 per month for within London to cover the Darwin Fellow's food, accommodation and incidental costs. Fellowships taking place outside the UK will be paid at a lesser amount (rates are available on request from the Darwin Secretariat);
- £300 per month to contribute towards the Host Organisation's expenses (and any other institutions working with the Fellow) including "bench fees" (eg the cost of lab and desk space), overheads, IT equipment, costs of employment, supervision and research costs. This rate may be reviewed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where a Fellowship takes place outside the UK.
Funding will be paid biannually (ie 6 monthly) to the Host Organisation on receipt of claims. The Host Organisation will be responsible for making necessary payments to the Darwin Fellow.
Reasonable fees for academic qualifications will be granted, but a Fellowship consisting entirely of a programme of study towards an academic qualification will not be eligible for bench fees in addition to course fees.
Up to £2,000 will also be available for the Fellow's actual travel costs. This is available to cover the following costs:
- One standard return economy air fare from the Darwin Fellow's home country to the UK, plus travel to and from airports.
- The cost of any visas or other necessary travel documents.
An additional provision (up to £500 for travel within the host country or up to £1,500 for international travel) may be included for travel and conference fees during the course of the project, where this will contribute to development of policy skills (for example, attendance at national or international workshops or meetings).
Darwin Fellowships are targeted at promising individuals who have links with recent or current Darwin Initiative projects who are working in biodiversity or related fields or whose work may have an impact on biodiversity, and are from countries which are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources (including the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom).
By drawing on expertise in biodiversity from the United Kingdom, the Darwin Fellowship Programme aims to give Fellows the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and experience in biodiversity, in order to assist their organisations, communities and countries in working towards the following objectives of the Biodiversity Convention:
- Conservation of biological diversity.
- Sustainable use of its components.
- Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources (including by appropriate access to genetic resources and the transfer of appropriate technologies).
Fellowship will not be provided for work that already has, or would otherwise secure, full funding from alternative sources.
Applications must be made by the Host Organisation. Eligible organisations or institutions must be based in the United Kingdom and must possess expertise in the sustainable use or conservation of biodiversity, or in disciplines that are biodiversity-related and whose work has an impact on the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. Applications are invited from both the public and private sectors.
The Host Organisation will provide experts from within the organisation with a proven track record and at the forefront of their discipline(s) to work closely with or supervise the Fellow. This expertise is typically expected to be of at least postdoctoral quality or equivalent professional standard.
The Darwin Fellow should:
- Be a national of a country rich in biodiversity but relatively poor in financial resources, including the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom.
- Be associated with a recent or current Darwin Initiative project.
- Have at least five years' relevant work experience, or a degree from a university/equivalent higher education institution and at least two years' work experience in a relevant field.
- Have the ability and willingness to train others and/or disseminate knowledge (including for policy development) and technology upon their return to the respective communities, organisations or work.
- Have the application supported by his/her government or organisation.
- Have a good working knowledge of the English language (if they are to be based in the UK).
Age is not a consideration. Applications for Fellowships for mid-career as well as early-career applicants are encouraged.
Darwin Fellowship applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
- Fellowships will draw on UK expertise in the field of biodiversity.
- Fellowships will result in the transfer of knowledge and/or technology relating to biodiversity between the UK and the Fellow's country.
- Fellowships will be collaborative, involving the Darwin Fellow and the Host Organisation in a dual partnership at all stages (including development of the proposal).
- Fellowships will contribute, directly or indirectly, towards implementation of the Biodiversity Convention, and/or CITES and/or CMS.
- Where appropriate, Fellowship work will raise awareness of the potential worth of natural resources and encourage their sustainable use in order to directly or indirectly help eliminate poverty and develop sustainable livelihoods in those countries.
- Fellowship work will be of high quality and scientific (or other appropriate professional) excellence.
- Fellowships will leave a legacy, through a real and lasting impact on the Fellow's capacity to help his/her country meet its obligations under the Biodiversity Convention.
- The outputs and outcomes from Fellowships should be additional, and will not cut across work being funded through other mainstream environmental or research programmes. Research projects, in particular, must tackle work in an area of biodiversity that has previously been neglected or undervalued.
- Fellowship work should be, wherever possible, innovative and distinctive.
- Fellowships should demonstrate good value for money.
The Department reserves the right to terminate the Fellowship at any time and reclaim any monies paid for part or full months remaining.
The lead UK organisation is responsible for ensuring that the following reports are submitted:
- An interim report, at six months, providing a brief account of experience gained and showing progress against the work plan.
- A final report, no more than six months after the completion of the Darwin Fellowship, showing how the Fellow has achieved his/her objectives, and the objective and criteria of the Darwin Fellowship Programme.
Both reports should be compiled by the Darwin Fellow in consultation with the Host.
Fellows and Host Organisations will be required to declare all other sources of funding. Fellowships will not be provided for work that already has, or would otherwise secure, full funding from alternative sources; although match funding to complement support is acceptable.
Fellowships will typically provide an opportunity for skills development in areas covered by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and/or the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
At the end of the Fellowship, Fellows should be able to do at least one of the following:
- Be capable of giving training within their communities and organisations in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and more generally providing a reliable source of good practice and information.
- Have the tools to solve practical country-specific problems related to the sustainable use and/or conservation of biodiversity.
- Be able to widely disseminate the information and knowledge gained during the Fellowship.
Darwin Fellows will typically be based in UK institutions for the majority of the Fellowship, except where value is demonstrated in their being based in their own country or other Darwin target countries (for example on a regional project).
Fellows are not limited to working in or with the Host Organisation. They should be given the opportunity to establish contacts with other biodiversity institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. The value of contact with, and work in, the private sector should also be considered.
Where needs are clearly identifiable and demonstrable, the Initiative will consider support for Fellows:
- undertaking formal qualifications (where these are linked to the broader criteria of the scheme and fall within a Fellowship length of one year);
- developing policy skills (for example, attendance at relevant national or international workshops or meetings).
All Fellowship work should contribute - directly or indirectly - towards the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.