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Biodiversity Challenge Conditions


The IAPT Biodiversity Challenge seeks to catalyze interdisciplinary research and promote small herbarium collections (<100,000 specimens) that enhance our understanding of biodiversity. It also seeks to encourage revisionary systematics and innovative research based firmly on botanical collections.

Today, we face a rapidly accelerating loss of plant and animal species driven by human-led activities. It is estimated that a million species may face extinction — many within decades — from the destruction of natural ecosystems, the overharvesting of plants and animals, pollution, climate change, and the transport of species (and their pathogens) outside their natural ranges. Alongside the loss of biodiversity we are also observing the loss of regional collections, often due to financial hardship. Since the taxonomists of tomorrow will be critical stewards of biodiversity, all funding proposals should include opportunities for training young taxonomists, or contemplate new opportunities for sharing gained expertise and fostering independent research or other creative work.

The IAPT Biodiversity Challenge welcomes proposals that focus on groups of organisms that are understudied, or for which taxonomic expertise is limited or vanishing and that include the exploration of poorly collected or threatened areas.

Applications will be accepted under one of the following two initiatives:

The IAPT Biodiversity Challenge seeks to support Small Collections (with <100,000 specimens) with funding for initiatives that will enable them to:

  1. Maintain or upgrade collection infrastructure to best-practice standards, including basic curation, pest management, georeferencing, and digitization.

  2. Enable botanists worldwide (with an emphasis on developing countries) to fill the most substantial geographic gaps (based on review of distributional records) in our understanding of biodiversity through field expeditions and collection development, all in support of documenting local floras.

  3. Develop specimen repatriation initiatives.

  4. Curate significant orphan collections otherwise in danger of being lost.

The IAPT Biodiversity Challenge seeks to support innovative Taxonomic and Systematic teams committed to collections-based work with funding that will enable them to: 

  1. Lead collections-based research aimed at filling gaps of knowledge to test hypotheses of the processes underlying the assembly of biodiversity (How many species are there and what do we know about them? How is biodiversity distributed in time and space?) as well as refining understanding of plant relationships.

  2. Broaden the systematic and taxonomic expertise of researchers, students, and trainees focusing on understudied groups of algae, fungi or plants, or where taxonomic expertise is limited or vanishing. 

  3. Promote the results of their research through publication and broaden outreach activities.


The following conditions must be followed:

  1. The project proposal should be succinctly written in English and should include an introduction, materials & methods, objectives, literature citations and other relevant information, especially noting if any other financial support for the project exists, and exactly what aspects of the project IAPT will be funding. The length of the proposal should not exceed three pages (single-spaced, 12 points typeface minimum). There will be no exceptions, and proposals exceeding three pages will be rejected without review.

  2. Short curricula vitae (CVs) of the team must be supplied. Include CVs of maximum 3 team members, written in English in free format no longer than 1 page, single-spaced, 12 points Arial typeface.

  3. General information (name of applicant, country, institution, project title, etc.) as well as a clear and detailed prospective budget are to be provided, along with a project proposal. An Excel template for budget specification is available.

  4. Two recommendation letters written in English should be included, preferably by experts from the field and/or by members of the host institution. The letter writers need to be closely familiar or have familiarized themselves with the proposed project and the proposal text, and help ensure it meets the IAPT review criteria.

  5. The maximum individual award is US$10,000.

  • All supporting documents must be submitted in Portable Document Format (PDF).

  • Applications should preferably be submitted via the IAPT website using an online form. If this is not possible, applications may be submitted via email to Dipl.-Ing. Eva Kráľovičová, Managing Secretary IAPT ( Any applications via email must abide by the character and file size limits imposed on online applications.

  • Applicants will be informed by email of receipt of their proposals.

  • The awarded projects will be listed on the IAPT web page and notification sent by e-mail to all applicants.

  • IAPT funding must be acknowledged in any publications resulting from the award.

  • Award recipients are required to submit a final report on the results of the grant-funded activities. The report should include photographs and details that can be used to write a social media post or website blog/article on the grant.

Applications opened: 3 August 2022

Applications closed: 15 September 2022

Award distribution deadline: 31 December 2022

Evaluation of Proposals

Individual review criteria for each of the two grant proposal initiatives are listed below each initiative.

Small Collections Initiative (30 points total)

1. Collection generation/improvement/maintenance (10 points available total)

(1a) contribution of physical and/or digital images of specimens (10 points)
(1b) infrastructure improvements including enhanced access to the physical collections, database development, database enhancement, digitization (10 points) 
(1c) improvements to the physical collections (for example, better folders, better glue, paper, pest management, storage systems) (10 points) 
(1d) distribution of duplicates (or orphan collections) to other regional or international herbaria (10 points)


2. Training (10 points available total)

(2a) Training of staff and students (10 points) 
(2b) Outreach and/or community activities (10 points)

3. Perceived need (10 points)

Taxonomic and Systematic Initiative (50 points total)
1. Originality of the proposal
(10 points)

How well does the proposal advance knowledge in terms of a biodiversity perspective as well as from a taxonomic and systematic perspective?

2. Methods and funding consistency (10 points)

How well do the methods and funds requested match the effort needed to achieve the objectives?

3. Perceived need (10 points total)

(3a) Demonstrated need and discussion of threat and/or understudied taxa (10 points) 
(3b) Vanishing taxonomic expertise (10 points)

4. Qualification of the team (10 points)

Based on reference letters and CVs

5. Training (10 points total)

(5a) Training of staff and students (10 points) 
(5b) Outreach and/or community activities (10 points)

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