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Nature Conservation Fellowship

Up to ₹1,50,000 Grant for Ornithology Projects

VNC’s Nature Conservation Fellowship supports conservation projects by providing funds to individuals to respond to nature conservation issues in India. Applications may be on any aspect of ornithology, but the VNC will look especially favourably on areas where there are particular difficulties in funding research from national or local sources. We will support initiatives to take immediate action to protect our natural world, through rapid assessments, new methodologies, and the protection of critical habitats. VNC will fund projects with clear aims and objectives (ideally with clearly stated hypotheses) where the methods are clearly explained and will provide eligible individuals with the support of up to ₹1,50,000 over 10-12 months for undertaking conservation work with VNC. 

Dr. Bhavbhuti Parasharya Ornithology Conservation Fellowship

Supports conservation  projects in all areas of  avian ecology and conservation.

Dr. Bhavbhuti Mukundray Parasharya was an accomplished ornithologist, having undertaken extensive research on flamingos’ ecology, distribution, and conservation in Gujarat, India. He was born on 4th July 1955 in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, where he retired until his untimely death due to COVID-19 on 9th October 2020. He has been a long-time member of the Flamingo Specialist Group. Dr. Parasharya then served as a Research scientist – from 1984 to 2017 at Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat, where his research focused on managing birds, insects, and rodent predators. Dr. Parasharya took great interest in all forms of flora and fauna and published various articles on insects, reptiles, and mammals in English and Gujarati.

Proposal Themes

  1. Conservation projects that focus on birds and need to be implemented quickly.
  2. Time-sensitive ornithological conservation projects that require a hands-on approach.
  3. Conservation interventions that are urgently needed to address critical threats to bird diversity.
  4. Protection of critical bird habitats.
  5. Engagement of local communities in bird conservation, research, and management.
  6. Bird Educational project that creates impacts in the local community.
  7. Development of technology and innovation for bird conservation.

Past Scholars

Anusua Pal

Winner, Duleep Matthai Conservation Action Fund, 2022

Anusua is a young field researcher with a keen interest in mammals, herpetofauna and animal behavior and has completed her Masters from Pune in Biodiversity. She is the recipient of the Idea Wild equipment’s grants for her study in vine snakes near Pune. Anusua is a trained naturalist and has worked as a naturalist in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the Central Indian landscape, communicating natural science to people. There she learnt to conduct animal rescues and has been actively rescuing and animals since the last 7 years. She pursued her eagerness to work on animal behavior during her masters and worked on the non-breeding behavior of Water Monitor Lizard, the work got published last year. She drove her passion and knowledge to work in a wildlife conservation-based NGO in Kolkata, Nature Mates just after her masters and has poured her heart in working for the wild. In 2022 she earned the Duleep Matthai Conservation Action Fund offered by VNC for working on Small Cats in Sundarban.


Application Open:20th July – 25th August 2023
Shortlist Announcement:5th September 2023
Project/Idea Presentation:13th September 2023
Winner Announcement:15th September 2023
Project duration:31st July 2024

Who We Are

VNC is a leading nature conservation organization in India. For more than 30 years, we have been at the frontline and worked across the western part of India, using different strategies, from awareness, advocacy, training, and research to conserve the natural habitat and wild species better. Looking at the need for small seed funding that can help and encourage individuals to take up priority conservation challenges in India and deliver tangible results to conserve nature better, VNC came up with the Fellowship to support the project and provide training to early career leaders from India.

How It Works

The fellows will work along with VNC, for their dissertation, project work, or independent work and any relevant work under the fellowships offered. Fellows will join a network of students and scholars who are conducting and engaging with innovative wildlife and conservation work. Through this program, VNC brings experienced mentors together nationwide, where they can experience many aspects of the conservation and protecting our nation’s natural habitats. Working side-by-side with knowledgeable professionals and receiving support from the fellowship coordinator, fellows develop a variety of professional and personal life skills. VNC provides a pathway for fellows to establish an effective career in conservation while contributing to the nature conservation sector by fostering creative ideas and multi-faceted viewpoints. Furthermore, the VNC is learning crucial lessons for making conservation relevant and effective by diversifying our organisation via the contributions of fellows from a wide range of backgrounds.

  1. The fellowship is open to Indian nationals (who must also be an Indian resident), below 30 years of age.
  2. The applicant must be without access to funds from major granting agencies.
  3. An applicant may receive a maximum of one award per year and two awards per lifetime.

Primary Screening process will include a proposal that includes necessary background information, clarity of objectives, alternative hypotheses (if appropriate), feasibility of the plan, relevant citations and figures, appropriateness of the budget and clear, concise writing. At the end of the first level screening, selected applications will be shorted for an interview/presentation.

The final level screening (Interview/Presentation) will be based on significance and originality of the project, measurability of impact, replicability and sustainality for nature conservation. Decisions on all three-fellowship will be announced shortly thereafter.

Successful applicants are required to write a report summarizing their accomplishments at the half way through the project, and a complete report at the completion of their project.

These reports help VNC recognize award winners’ work and are necessary for reporting on grant programs. Successful applicants are also required to keep records of their expenditures and to submit a table of expenditures (with receipts) to the VNC office at the end of their project.

Successful applicants must acknowledge their award from VNC in any publications resulting from the funded project. A PDF of any such publication (or thesis abstract) should be submitted to VNC office as soon as the publication is available.

All reports must contain an accounting of funds spent.

The following are the responsibilities that a fellowship grantee is expected to meet under the fellowship grants:

  1. The engagement is for an occasional nature of work and is purely on temporary basis for a period of fellowship. Your fellowship will be governed by the rules and regulations of the Voluntary Nature Conservancy (VNC) passed from time to time.
  2. You will be assigned a supervisor/co-supervisor to provide mentorship during the tenure of your
    fellowship. Having a supervisor is mandatory. If you are student, and have a supervisor, it is mandatory to keep a co-supervisor assigned by VNC. This is to ensure that the project is monitored properly within the designated schedule.
  3. The fellowship is temporary and does not imply any assurance to the fellowship recipient of any future employment at the organisation.
  4. Your engagement can be discontinued without giving any notice and without assigning any reason thereof.
  5. On the expiry of the said period of the fellowship, your engagement will automatically end with  organisation.
  6. Each fellowship recipient shall be required to submit a quarterly report (every 4 months) and the fellow must furnish a detailed report of the work done during the entire period to the VNC office. The assigned supervisor may ask you to submit the progress report more frequently, depending on the requirement as may seem fit by the supervisor or the management of VNC.
  7. The results of research work will be encouraged to publish in refereed journals as well as other forms of scientific documentation. Due authorship will be given to all individuals and other team members, who have contributed to the project work and research papers.
  8. The supervisor and co-supervisor of the project will be responsible for a fair and just authorship order. In case of any dispute, the management of VNC will be responsible to resolve it agreeably.
  9. Due acknowledgement will be given to all funding agencies, collaborating organisation and individuals in all publications arising out of work sponsored by VNC 

Proposal Form

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