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AOS Research Awards - Eligibility and Guidelines

Deadline: All proposals must be received by Noon EST, 27 January 2017. Please submit proposals using the OSNA Member Portal.** After logging in to the OSNA Member Portal, view open competitions in the "Awards & Competitions 2017" section. Then view the AOS Student and PostDoc Research Awards Competition in order to apply.

**The OSNA Portal is the required method for submissions. We are here to help you. If you experience any difficulties logging in or with the grant competition submission process, please first contact Scott Gillihan, OSNA Member Manager, for help logging on, at, 312-883-4670. Then, for submission assistance, contact Crystal Ruiz, AOS Administrator, at, 312-883-4645.

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) gives Research Awards annually in amounts up to a maximum of $2,500. Applicants need not indicate that they are applying for a particular award. After evaluating and ranking all proposals, the Committee Chair will determine which fund is most appropriate for supporting the top proposals. All applicants will receive an email confirmation upon successful submission of their application, and will be informed of the outcome of their application by 1 May. The official announcement of awards will be made at the annual meeting.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Student or postdoctoral researcher, or researcher without access to funds from major granting agencies
  • Membership in AOS (if you are not a member, join now); students who have no prior membership may be eligible for an AOS Student Membership Award
  • Maximum of one research award per year
  • Maximum of two research awards per lifetime

Typically, awards would be for an M.S. project and, later, for a Ph.D. project. However, undergraduate students, postdoctoral research associates, and individuals engaged in independent research (not associated with a university) also may apply. Thus, other scenarios are possible, such as an award for an undergraduate project and later for a Ph.D. project. Individuals are limited to one award per degree program or project (e.g., a doctoral student can only receive one award during his/her doctoral program). Applicants for an AOS Research Award may apply for funds from other sources such as the Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund, Sigma Xi, Animal Behavior Society, and those listed on the BIRDNET grants page. However, requests for funding from other sources must be noted in your application. If successful in obtaining funds from both AOS and other sources, applicants are expected to notify the Committee Chair.

Submission Detail

Applications are due 27 January 2017, 12:00 PM EST. The submission process is now open in the OSNA Member Portal. After logging in to the OSNA Member Portal, view open competitions in the "Awards & Competitions 2017" section. Then view the AOS Student and PostDoc Research Awards Competition in order to apply.

You must be a current student member of the AOS to apply. If you are not a student member, it is very easy to apply through the OSNA Member Portal.

Application Format

Applications need to enter all required information in the AOS research award competition fields online. In addition, applicants must upload their application as a single PDF file that does not exceed 8 pages. Applications not using this format will not be accepted.

A complete application consists of:

  • Proposal Statement
  • Budget
  • Curriculum Vitae

Applicants should read the "Guidelines for Application Format" and "Hints for Writing a Successful Proposal" (PDFs below) when preparing and submitting their application. Questions about the application process should be directed to Brian Peer.

AOS Research Awards - Guidelines for Application Format (PDF)

Hints for Writing a Successful Proposal (PDF)

Application Evaluation

Successful applications are usually built around one, or a few, carefully defined, feasible, and clearly delineated question(s). Other characteristics of a good proposal include necessary background information, alternative hypotheses (if appropriate), relevant citations and figures, and clear, concise writing. Common problems with applications include: proposed research projects that are too broad and overly ambitious, objectives defined too loosely, and the methods stated too vaguely. Review and critique of the application by your advisor and one or two additional colleagues will likely improve its readability and overall quality. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Significance and originality of the scientific question
  • Clarity of the objectives
  • Feasibility of the plan of research
  • Appropriateness of the budget

Reporting and Accounting

Successful applicants are asked to write a brief report summarizing their accomplishments at the completion of their project, or by one year after receiving the award, whichever comes first. Successful applicants are required to keep records of their expenditures and to submit a table and receipts to the Committee Chair at the end of their project or by the end of a year following award receipt. Successful applicants must acknowledge their AOU award in any publications resulting from the funded project. One copy of any such publication (or thesis abstract) should be sent to the Committee Chair as soon as the publication is available.

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