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AOS Student and Postdoctoral Research Awards

Congratulations to the 2019 AOS Student and Postdoctoral Research Awards Winners!

The American Ornithological Society gives research awards annually in amounts up to a maximum of $2,500. Research awards support undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs conducting research in various areas of avian biology. AOS encourages undergraduate students, masters students, doctoral students, and postdocs from any region to apply. 

The next application cycle will open December 1, 2019. These awards are administered by the AOS Research Awards Committee.

The AOS Research Awards:

  1. Donald L. Bleitz Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  2. Herbert and Betty Carnes Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate); designated to support women who are non-smokers (i.e., have not smoked for at least the previous six months).
  3. Joseph Grinnell Award: Supports beginning research efforts of doctoral students in their first or second year of enrollment, in any aspect of avian biology.
  4. Werner and Hildegard Hesse Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate), with preference given to those studying birds in the wild.
  5. Mewaldt-King Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in any area of ornithology that relates to the conservation of birds. Studies of species from threatened ecosystems or that reference large-scale conservation issues such as climate or landscape change are especially welcome, as are studies that involve the demographics, breeding biology, or disease ecology of  species that are endangered, threatened, or otherwise of management concern.
  6. Margaret Morse Nice Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate); designated to encourage ornithological research by women students.
  7. Josselyn Van Tyne Memorial Research Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in all areas of avian biology.
  8. Alexander Wetmore Memorial Research Award: Supports graduate student research (Masters or Doctorate) in avian systematics, paleo-ornithology, biogeography, and especially neotropical biology.
  9. AOS Student Research Awards: Multiple awards supporting student research (Undergraduate, Masters, Doctorate, non affiliated researcher) in all areas of avian biology.
  10. AOS Postdoctoral Research Awards: Multiple awards supporting postdoctoral research, in all areas of avian biology, for those that do not have access to major funding and can demonstrate need.

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.


  • The applicant must be an AOS member (renewed for 2019) and a full-time or recently graduated undergraduate, masters, or doctoral student, OR a postdoctoral researcher without access to funds from major granting agencies.

  • The applicant is the individual conducting the specific research project and responsible for data analysis.

  • Maximum of one research award per year and two research awards per lifetime.

Typically, two lifetime awards would be for an M.S. project and, later, for a Ph.D. project. However, other scenarios are possible. Individuals are limited to one award per degree program or project. Applicants for an AOS Research Award may also apply for funds from other sources such as the Frank M. Chapman Memorial FundSigma Xi, and Animal Behavior Society. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can I submit my application after the deadline has passed? No. This is a firm deadline and we strongly encourage you to apply early to avoid any last-minute complications.
  • Does the Literature Cited have to be double-spaced? Yes. The proposal text through the Lit Cited should be double-spaced. Your Budget/CV can be single-spaced.
  • Is a letter of recommendation from my advisor required? No letters are required, but you must indicate that your advisor has approved the project.
  • Do I have to be an AOS member to be eligible for an award? Yes.

Awardees are required to submit a brief research report to the AOS Executive Office by 31 December of the year that the award is received.

Previous Recipients:

To Apply

Please submit applications using the online Member Portal**. After logging in, click the "View Open Competitions" link in the lower right of your homepage and then select the appropriate award.  

**The Member Portal is the required method for submissions. If you experience any difficulties logging in or with the grant competition submission process, please contact Chris Mulvaney, Membership Coordinator, at or 312-706-7834.

Application Format

Applicants need to enter all required information in the AOS Research Awards online form in the Member Portal. 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

Once applicants submit their application, they will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive an e-confirmation, please contact Chris Mulvaney, Membership Coordinator, at or 312-706-7834.

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 via Please use the subject line "AOS Research Awards - Inquiry Regarding ____." 

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 that are defined too loosely, and methods that are 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 required to write a brief report (one page maximum, with embedded photo(s) conducting their research in the field or the lab) by December 31 in the year they receive the grant summarizing their accomplishments, and an equally brief report at the completion of their project or by one year after receiving the award, whichever comes first. These reports help AOS publish award winners' work and are necessary for IRS reporting on AOS grant programs. Successful applicants are required to keep records of their expenditures and to submit a table of expenditures (with receipts) to Crystal Ruiz, AOS Director of Operations & Administration ( at the end of their project or by the end of a year following award receipt. Successful applicants must acknowledge their award from AOS in any publications resulting from the funded project. A PDF of any such publication (or thesis abstract) should be sent to the Committee Chair, Brian Peer, via as soon as the publication is available.

For questions regarding Student and Postdoctoral Research Awards, contact Committee Chair Brian Peer, via Please use the subject line  "AOS Research Awards - Inquiry Regarding ____."

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