Grants & Scholarships

The society currently offers five grants and scholarships:

  • Summer Vacation Scholarships - for 2nd or 3rd year undergraduates at a British university, to gain supervised research experience in any branch of lichenology
  • Overseas Members Travel Fund - for overseas BLS members to travel to the UK for collaborative research
  • Wallace-Burnet-Gilbert Fund - for students and BLS members wishing to attend courses, workshops and field meetings they could otherwise not afford
  • Tom Chester Award - for schools or colleges, to support fieldwork involving lichens by students aged 5-19 years
  • Small Ecological Project Grants - to support fieldwork by BLS members on neglected habitats or species.
  • Grants For Ecological or Conservation Research & Survey on Lichens - for research and field work on notable or threatened lichens and their habitats, 
  • Peter James Research Award - to fund research into lichen taxonomy, physiology, ecology etc.

Further information about each of these opportunities is given below. However, please note that the Grants Committee is also open to proposals regarding other projects and ideas, which do not fit in the categories above, but are in line with the aims of the Society. Please fill in a Grants Application Form (see below), outlining the proposal and an indicative budget (not normally to exceed £1000).

Applicants for grants should normally have been members of the society for at least one year, but there may be exceptions to that rule. Please send applications by email or post to the Vice-president, who will also try to answer any queries if you need further information before applying.


Summer Vacation Scholarships

The Society offers one vacation scholarship annually to provide an undergraduate student with research experience in any branch of lichenology. Candidates should be higher education/university students in Britain who are about to complete their second or third year of study.

The maximum value of the scholarship is £200 per week for a maximum of 10 weeks, plus a small grant towards the cost of materials, amounting to an overall maximum of £2,200. The project should be complete in itself, although this need not preclude topics related to broader studies, and it should not constitute a required part of degree work, or an expedition or work outside the UK.

Applications should be made by the supervisor who should hold a post in a UK research institution (e.g. university, museum, botanical garden) and be a BLS member. The application should be accompanied by:

  • title and brief outline of the research proposal (maximum two sides of A4), with a budget showing how the funds would be allocated, a timetable for the work, and a brief outline of the support that will be available to the student in terms of resources, facilities, supervision and training;
  • name of student and their CV (typically one side of A4);
  • supporting reference from their supervisor.

The supervisor is expected to oversee the work, and to have discussed with the student prior to the application. A brief synopsis of the findings must be submitted for publication in The Bulletin.

Overseas Members’ Travel Fund

This fund is intended to help and encourage overseas members to visit the UK, primarily to collaborate with BLS members here either in laboratory and/or field research. Visits to use facilities such as reference collections will also be considered, but visits to attend conferences are excluded. An award will not exceed £2,000. This is intended to support travel costs in full, and a contribution to accommodation costs, not exceeding £10 per day or £200 in total, may also be made.

Applications should be made by the overseas member, and should be accompanied by details of their professional position, the name of the UK collaborator, the aims and objectives of their project and how it will benefit from the collaboration, approximate dates of visit and an estimate of travel costs. The UK collaborator should submit a letter of support direct to the Vice President, and applications will not be considered until this has been received.

Successful applicants will receive their grant on arrival at their host institution. It is usually simplest to pay it through the collaborator.

Recipients will be expected to submit their findings in a form suitable for publication in The Lichenologist or The Bulletin within one year.

Wallace-Burnet-Gilbert Fund

This fund was set up in memory of Nancy Wallace, Alice Burnet and Oliver Gilbert, one-time members of the Society who wished to foster an interest in lichens among the young. All were active members who, when they started developing their interest in lichens, appreciated the encouragement and support they received from other members.

The purpose of the fund is to enable students and members to attend courses, workshops and field meetings where attending at their own expense would cause financial hardship.

Awards are for travel, accommodation and course fees (not books and equipment), and will normally be of up to £500 although in exceptional circumstances more may be considered. They are payable on production of receipts after the course or meeting. If that presents a problem then the Treasurer may pay in advance or arrange to be invoiced directly.

Applications should be made at least one month before the event. Recipients will be expected to attend the whole course or meeting concerned and to submit a brief report to Council.

Tom Chester Award

Tom Chester had a deep interest in churchyard lichens, developed while he was head-teacher of a Northamptonshire primary school. His bequest enables the Society to offer awards of up to £250, to schools or colleges for fieldwork involving lichens by an individual or group of students between the ages of 5-19 years.

In 2009 the bequest was awarded to Ponsbourne St Mary's Primary School in Hertfordshire, and in 2010 to Baskerville School for autistic students in Birmingham and Nottingham High School for Girls. Information on possible projects.

Applications should be accompanied by a brief proposal (no more than 250 words) on school or college-headed paper, signed by the headteacher or principal, and outlining the purpose, location and duration of the project. This should describe the observations to be made, how they will be recorded and how the award would be spent. The Society may be able to offer technical guidance such as advice by a local lichenologist.

On completion of the project a hard copy of the report should be made available, and an edited selection may be featured in The Bulletin.

Responsibility for all work carried out in relation to this award must be taken by the school or college concerned.

Small Ecological Project Grants

The Society sponsors fieldwork focused on neglected habitats or species. Grants are intended to cover expenses (fuel and B&B) while in the area but will not exceed £750, so rather than claiming for long distance travel it may be more appropriate to apply for funding to extend your stay for a few days if you will already be in the area. Applications should be accompanied by an outline of the project, including its aims and objectives, approach and expected costs.

The grant will only be paid on receipt of a satisfactory report within a year of being awarded the grant. Recipients will be expected to summarize their findings and submit them to The Bulletin .

Grants For Ecological or Conservation Research & Survey on Lichens

The British Lichen Society invites applications for between £1000 and £5000 for research and field work on notable or threatened lichens and their habitats, where this leads to increased understanding of their conservation and management. Both non-members and members of the BLS are eligible to apply. Although not essential, the BLS encourages applicants to seek other contributions to the costs of the work from other parties with an interest in management and conservation of the habitats and species covered. Unlike the Small Ecological Project Grants this grant is intended to include reasonable consultancy rates, as well as reasonable expenses. Contributions in kind from the applicant are appreciated where they can afford this, but this is not essential.

The applicant will be expected to be responsible for planning and supervising the work. This grant is not suitable for those requiring supervision or mentoring. Training and mentoring of less experienced lichenologists within a project, however, would be very much welcomed.

A detailed report on the work should be produced and distributed to the BLS conservation officer and other interested parties, the grant not released until Chair of Conservation agrees that a suitable report has been received. Also, applicants may be requested to summarise the work in an appropriate publication, including contributions to peer reviewed journals.

Grants For Ecological or Conservation Research & Survey on Lichens application form

Peter James Research Award

The BLS is excited to announce the launch of a new Peter James Research Award. The purpose of the grant is to fund excellent research, which advances our knowledge of lichens. There is an annual deadline of November 1, with an expectation of funding a single project up to a maximum of £5000; announcements will be made at the AGM for that year. Proposals will be assessed by peer-review, and research leading to production of an article in The Lichenologist, normally submitted within one year of receipt of the funds, are especially welcome.

Grants are expected to clearly advance the state of knowledge or understanding of British lichens. This may include a study outside the boundaries of Great Britain, as long as the outcomes have relevance for British lichens, e.g. a taxonomic or phylogenetic study of a group of lichens, with some, but not necessarily all, of its members found in the UK; a physiological study of a widespread species (known to be a single genetic lineage based on prior study of gene flow to ensure cryptic species do not confound results); an ecological analysis relevant to British species or habitats, with a method allowing for repeatable studies.

The scheme encourages collaborations between institutions and field lichenologists, and applications including both academics and active members of the recording community are welcome. A budget must be submitted justifying anticipated expenses. Costs related to fieldwork and lab costs will be supported, and per-diem rates for field expertise can be requested; salaries or overheads are not supported by this scheme.