Established in 2005, the IBA Experience and Exchange Grants Program (EEGP) aims to enable biologists and managers to participate in project work and training exchanges.
Goals of the IBA Experience and Exchange Grant Program

The IBA recognizes that working visits to other projects offer biologists and wildlife managers enormous opportunities for learning, sharing expertise, collaborating in on-site problem solving, technical training, and professional growth. Moreover, these experiences broaden the perspective and understanding of the biological and cultural context within which bear conservation programs must operate in different regions. Bears benefit when biologists and managers spend more time applying shared knowledge and less time re-inventing the wheel with each new project.

Current Project Summaries

How Much and what can be funded?

  • Proposals must show that the exchange is a collaborative effort between two parties.  It is expected that both the host project and the visiting participants demonstrate intent to keep living expenses low; for example, host projects or institutions can often provide such things as living space, local transportation, and/or meals for visiting participants.
  • Priority is given to project visits lasting several weeks to several months in which tangible benefits are identified for both host and visitor, and that offer prospects for on-going inter-project collaboration.
  • Grants will be awarded each year through a competitive process based on submitted proposals.

Despite the obvious value of work exchanges, it can be difficult to find financial support. Thus IBA cannot guarantee funding.

Who may apply

Experience and Exchange Grants Program is designed to benefit a wide variety of people:

  • Young biologists and managers seeking specific technical training in preparation for their own projects may desire to work on an established project for a period of time;
  • Biologists starting new projects or dealing with stubborn research questions may benefit from hosting a field visit from someone who has dealt with similar questions, problems, or research logistics;
  • Mid- or late-career biologists who have not had previous opportunity to collaborate with biologists from other countries, or who wish to broaden their understanding of bears worldwide, can learn enormously from an international field experience and can benefit host projects by sharing their many years of experience; and
  • All applicants must become IBA members before initiating the application process.

How to apply

New Deadline for Applications in 2023-24 Cycle is September 1st, 2023

Proposals should be sent electronically with the words Experience and Exchange Grant Application 2023-24 in the subject line to: Frank van Manen and Shyamala Ratnayeke.

Application for grants must be in English and be received by the interim committee co-chairs, Frank van Manen and Shyamala Ratnayeke no later than September 1st for projects to be conducted the next calendar year.

Applications should not exceed 5 pages, and should include:

  • Description of the exchange program and anticipated benefits for the exchange partners
  • Invitation from host institution
  • Budget must be in USD (max. 1 page)
  • Short curriculum vitae (max. 1 page)
  • Letters of reference from at least three individuals familiar with the applicant and/or the project.

Grant proposals will be strengthened if commitments for partial funding from other sources can be shown in the application.

Additional information or supporting documents can be attached, preferably as attachment to e-mails as word or PDF-files.

Important: Applications will require an agreement between two parties – the applicant and the host. The application should be accompanied by a statement from the host that confirms their commitment, and how they will provide supporting logistics and funding to make the visit successful.