Opportunities Fund

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Helping to create a sustainable and resilient conservation community

There is increasing awareness that alongside the global economic, social and health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still facing a climate emergency.

IIC has many members who often find themselves working in extreme and hostile environments – at times with very few resources or little support. We want to respond to these challenges – offering practical as well as moral support to our members and helping germinate the new approaches that we will need, as conservation professionals and as members of society, in the years ahead.

IIC is therefore radically revising its Opportunities Fund – expanding the funding available and opening it up to ALL members within two strands. Potential applicants can join IIC to become eligible for the grant.

 There will be two strands to the Opportunities Fund grants with two rounds of funding per year:

Needs-Based and Learning-Focused IIC Stipends (up to £250) 

We are offering funding for up to 50 current IIC Student, Early Career and Individual members to support their learning, research and professional development during these challenging times. This could cover anything from skill building – possibly through attending events on or offline, enhancing conservation and digital skills or learning how to diversify income streams.

Applications Open: 1 July 2021

Applications Close: 30 August 2021

Seed Funding Grants (up to £750)

Providing support for projects and initiatives that promote sustainability, resilience, or adaptation during a Covid world. This strand will be open to collaborative projects involving members, which are led by current Fellows or Institutional supporters. We expect to fund 10 – 12 projects in the first year. In this strand, we welcome applications that meet immediate practical need, as well as more experimental work.

Following significant interest expressed in applying to this fund, IIC is considering open a further round in early 2021.

Applications Opens: 1 July 2021

Applications Close: 30 August 2021


Building the Fund

To get these changes started, we have expanded the Opportunities Fund with support from IIC’s own reserves. We also hope that those members who are able to do so will contribute through our World Member donation scheme, just as numerous members have contributed to the Opportunities Fund over the last few years. Over time we also hope to attract trusts and funders who share our values to contribute to this work, and eventually build a substantial sum to support members and encourage sustainability, resilience and adaptation within our sector.

Many members have already been in touch to express their willingness to donate to the Opportunities Fund to help those, including students and early career professionals, during this time of crisis. Such additional donations would allow us to offer a further grants across the year. To that end, we encourage members to contribute at the same time as renewing their membership and become Bronze, Silver, Gold or World Member donors, by logging in and clicking the link below.

You can  make a donation here or by contacting the IIC office

Ensuring a Global Reach

Any member can apply to the Opportunities Fund from any part of the world. However, we recognise that much of the burden of historical under-resourcing, challenge from climate change and lack of support through the Covid-19 crisis will fall especially hard in those countries designated as Band 2,3 and 4  by UNESCO here. We will therefore aim to award some 75% of the fund in these countries.

How to Apply

IIC Needs-Based and Learning-Focused Stipend

Students, Early Career and Individual Members

To apply for an IIC Stipend, submit your CV and a brief description of how the pandemic has created financial hardship (maximum 250 words), and how you plan to spend the funds in 2021 (max. 250 words). Up to £250 is available as a stipend in this first round. Please also supply your membership status with IIC, funds will be administered to IIC members only.

What can be covered by the Stipend

Specifically, stipends could support research costs, publication-related costs such as photography and reproduction fees, digital access, professional development, skill building and any other relevant expenses for those who experienced the loss or reduction of employment and benefits, such as:

  • Members who have experienced furlough, redundancies or layoffs, decreased teaching time, or lost institutional support
  • Those who have increased financial burdens due to telecommuting and remote instruction, including unforeseen (and otherwise unfunded) technology costs
  • Independent freelance conservators whose projects have been curtailed or cancelled
  • Students pursuing master’s or doctoral research or early career scholars (within 5 years of receiving their graduate degree) who have experienced loss or reduction of research support, including internships, as well as external and internal grants.

Special Note: Nominations from members who are finding it difficult to pay their membership fees for 2021–22 can also be supported through the Opportunities Fund. Requests must be emailed to the IIC Office iic@iiconservation.org and received by the the stated deadline.

IIC Seed Funding Grants

Fellows and Institutions

Please submit a brief description of the project you are seeking seed funding for (maximum 500 words) and how you plan to spend the funds in 2021 (max. 250 words). We also require a signed letter of support from one senior professional conservator or a head of department (or equivalent) who should be named, with their affiliations and full contact details. 

Up to £750 is available. Applications should be submitted by the stated deadline to iic@iiconservation.org . 

Please also supply your membership status with IIC, funds will be administered to IIC members only.

Decision Timescales

The Opportunities Fund Committee will aim to review applications within 2 weeks of the closing date in order to notifiy applicants as soon as possible. We are aiming to administer stipends and seed funding grants as quickly as possible after the stated deadline.