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Voluntary Fund for Small Cetacean Conservation Research

The IWC Small Cetacean Conservation Research Fund supports high priority research that improves conservation outcomes for populations of small cetaceans, particularly those that are threatened or especially vulnerable to human activities.  Since 2009, a number of generous donations from several Governments, supplemented by valuable contributions from several NGOs, has made it possible for the Commission to establish periodic calls for new small cetacean conservation proposals.  Large or small, each of these contributions has helped launch the proposals listed below.  Click here for a table of donors. 

News on successful proposals

 
Successful proposals are listed in the table below.  Follow the links for more information on particular projects. 

List of funded projects (2010, 2011, and 2013 calls)

Year (duration) Principal investigator Project title

2010

(1 year)

Zerbini Threatened franciscanas: Improving estimates of abundance to guide conservation actions.

2012-13

(1 year)

Aguilar-Ramirez Supporting the assessment of alternative fishing gears for replacing gillnets that cause bycatch of vaquita in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico.

2011-14

(3 years)

Cerchio Ecology, status, fisheries interactions and conservation of coastal Indo-Pacific humpback and bottlenose dolphins on the west coast of Madagascar.

2011-13

(2 years)

Collins Abundance and distribution of the Atlantic humpback dolphin in Gabon and Congo, with a focus on improving field-survey methods and monitoring protocols.

2011

(1 year)

Danilewicz Estimating abundance of an isolated population of the threatened Franciscana: moving towards conservation action.

 2012-13

(1.5 years)

 Minton/Peter Monitoring and threat assessment of coastal cetacean populations in Sarawak, Malayisa.

 2011-2013

(2.5 years)

 Oremus Genetic and demographic assessment of dolphins taken in live-capture and traditional drive-hunt in the Solomon Islands.

 2011

(3 years)

 Smith Investigation on the population identity of Indo-Pacific humpback in the northern Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, and implications for population-level conservation and taxonomy of the species.

 2011-2012

(I year)

 Turvey Identifying conservation solutions for the Yangtze finless porpoise through community research.

2012-14

(2 years)

Wang Photo-identification monitoring of the eastern Taiwan Strait population of Indo-Pacific humback dolphins.

2013-14

(1 year)

Chen Defining the units of conservation and historic population dynamics for two small cetacean species affected by directed and incidental catches in the North Pacific.

2013-14

(1 year)**

Kelkar Strengthening the meaning of a freshwater protected area for the Ganges River dolphin: looking within and beyond the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, Bihar, India.

2013-14

(1 year)**

Mustika A pilot study to identify the extent of small cetacean bycatch in Indonesia using fisher interview and stranding data proxies.

2014

(1 year)

Rajamani Capacity building in conducting cetacean abundance surveys in south east Asia through a training workshop and actual surveys.

2013-14

(1 year)

Wakid Investigating the distribution and abundance of dolphins in Indian Sudarban.

** Given the amount of funds available in 2013, these selected projects were partially funded to an extent that still allowed them to achieve their main objectives.

Calls For Funding Proposals

The Small Cetaceans Fund is replenished on a voluntary basis thanks to generous donations from Governments and NGOs.  If sufficient funding is available, calls for proposals will normally be announced in years when the IWC biennial meeting is held (2016, 2018 etc).

In years where sufficient funds are gathered the following deadlines will be applied:

  • Calls for projects published here: end of January
  • Proposal submissions: end of February
  • Proposal evaluations: March-May/June (depending on the dates of the IWC Scientific Committee meeting)
  • Funding recipients pre-proclamation: end of Scientific Committee meeting
  • Final decision on recipients: September (depending on dates of the IWC biennial meeting)
  • Contract definition and signature: October-November
  • Payment of first instalment: December-January

The awards process is Iengthy and cannot be reduced due to processes incumbent on the IWC which is an intergovernmental body. The Application Form can be found here (word document) or here (PDF) and Review Criteria can be found here.  More details on the selection process can be found below.

Preference will be given to projects in-line with the previously established priority topics and recommendations of the IWC sub-committee on small cetaceans.

In order to maximise the number of projects supported by this fund, proposals shall be considered on two tiers; small grants up to GBP 5000 and larger grants which shall be limited to a maximum of GBP 20,000.  Proposals for partially funded projects will also be considered.

The closing date for 2016 applications is 14 March 2016 (midnight GMT)

Frequently asked questions on the application process can be found here.

 

Read more about the funding proposal selection process...

 

The Review group consists of the Convenor of the Sub-committee on Small Cetaceans, the Head of Science at the IWC Secretariat, and a number of competent members of the Scientific Committee who provide a wide geographical scope.  This group may suggest improvements to proposals where appropriate and can solicit the assistance of other researchers in the review process if necessary. The projects recommended by the Review Group are considered by the Sub-committee on Small Cetaceans and then the full Scientific Committee. Recommended proposals will be included in the Scientific Committee’s budget, as given in its report to the Commission under the heading of a specific request to the Voluntary Research Fund for Small Cetaceans. Projects will be awarded after final approval by the Commission.

 

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This year the group consists of Meike Scheidat and Lindsay Porter (Convenor and co-convenor of the sub-committee on small cetaceans), Greg Donovan (Head of Science at the IWC Secretariat), Debra Palka (ex-Chair of the IWC Scientific Committee), Arne Bjørge (ex-chair of the Scientific Committee and of the sub-committee on small cetaceans), Randall Reeves (Chair of the IUCN/SSC Cetacean Specialist Group), Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho (member of the IWC Scientific Committee and Chair of the IWC Conservation Committee), Mike Double and Tim Collins (members of the IWC Scientific Committee).

 

This group may suggest improvements to proposals where appropriate and can solicit the assistance of other researchers in the review process if necessary.

 

The recommended projects by the Review Group will be considered by the sub-committee on small cetaceans and the full Scientific Committee. Recommended proposals will be included in the Scientific Committee’s budget as given in its report to the Commission under the heading of a specific request to the Voluntary Research Fund for Small Cetaceans. Projects will be awarded after final approval by the Commission.

 

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