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  Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

Grants in Herpetology

 Roger Conant Grants In Herpetology Program:
Guidelines for Proposal Submission

Proposals will be accepted for the 2014 SSAR Roger Conant Grants-in-Herpetology Program starting on 15 September 2013. This program is intended to provide financial support for deserving individuals or organizations involved in herpetological research, education, or conservation.

Announcements for 2014!
In summer 2013, the SSAR Board of Directors approved additional funds be allocated to support this program.  As a result, a total of 12 awards, rather than the traditional six awards, will be granted (based on merit) in a given year, starting with the 2014 grant cycle.

A new grant category was also approved for the 2014 grant cycle: Undergraduate Research in Herpetology.  See the description of this new category below.

Reminder: a liability waiver must be submitted with all grant requests.  See further details below.


Who can apply?:

All applicants must be students AND members of the SSAR with the following exceptions:

  • Those applying for the International category must be students but DO NOT have to be SSAR members.
  • Those applying for the Herpetological Education category DO NOT have to be a student or a SSAR member. 
  • Those applying for support of regional herpetological society projects DO NOT have to be SSAR members.

In keeping with the Society's goal of encouraging participation by the broadest possible community of applicants, preference may be given to individuals who might not have access to other funding sources.  Applications must be submitted by individuals only (but see special considerations for education categories below).

Amount Available: Successful applicants in each of the categories listed below will receive an award in the amount of $500 (US Dollars).

Deadline for Submission: 15 December 2013 (see special note on membership dues below).

Announcement of awards: The awards will be announced by late April or early June 2014.


Grant proposals will be considered in the following categories:

1. Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles. Proposals should outline a conservation-oriented research project.  This project may focus on species endangered or threatened at the state, national, or international level, or address research on potentially threatened habitats or species, or on introduced injurious species.   

2. The Andrew H. Price Field Research Grant In Herpetology. Proposals may address needs for field station fees or equipment and materials in field oriented projects, or the field work portions of broader studies. This might include in-situ behavioral studies, ecological, life history, or sexual selection studies. Survey work by individuals or regional societies may be submitted here or in TRAVEL below depending on how the funds are to be used.

3. Laboratory Research. Proposals may address needs for equipment or materials in laboratory projects or laboratory portions of broader projects. This might include studies in behavior, biochemistry, molecular biology, biomechanics, or physiology.

4. Travel. Proposals may address support for travel to field study sites near or far, or to utilize distant collections or facilities. If funding is sought to get from one place to another, proposals should be submitted in the TRAVEL category. Proposals normally submitted in the CONSERVATION or FIELD RESEARCH categories should be submitted here if travel funding is being sought.

5. International. Proposals may address needs in any of the above five categories. The applicant must be a student, but not necessarily a SSAR member. Preference will be given to students with limited access to research funds and in countries where herpetological research has historically been under-funded. Note Regarding Eligibility in the International Category: In 2011, the current President of SSAR, the Grants-In-Herpetology Chair, and several members of the SSAR Board of Directors decided that proposals in this category would only be accepted if they were submitted from institutions OUTSIDE of the United States.  Proposals from students who are primarily affiliated with United States institutions are not eligible for this category.   

6. Herpetological Education. Proposals may address an educational project or start up support for an educational program in a zoo, museum, park, nature center, regional herpetological society, etc. The project must focus on a herpetological topic. Note: Although proposals for institutional projects are accepted, education proposals must be submitted by an individual (either sole applicant or principle contact person for the project).  Applicants need not be students or SSAR member.

7. Undergraduate Research in Herpetology. Proposals in this category can outline any research project focused on questions related to amphibian or reptile taxonomy, biology, ecology or conservation.  Funding can be used to purchase equipment, materials, or as re-imbursement for travel to conduct research (i.e., offset the cost of gas for trips to field sites, museums to investigate specimens, etc.).  Applicants must be currently seeking a Bachelor’s Degree at an institution of higher learning.  Applicants need not be affiliated with US institutions, but must be SSAR members.  Students that apply for this award must be working directly with a research advisor at an academic or professional institution (i.e., University, Regulatory Agency, Zoological Garden, Museum, etc.).  This advisor must submit the letter of support for the student’s work.  This letter of support must explicitly confirm that the applicant is currently a student and has the time, ability and guidance to successfully complete the proposed project.  Strong preference will be given for applicants that have limited funding from other sources.


Each proposal must include the following:

(A) Title Page giving the title of the project, the name, mailing address, office and home telephone numbers and, if possible, fax number and e-mail address of the applicant. The title page should also include the following numerated items completed in this format on the bottom left corner of the Title Page:

1) Category:
2) Word count:
3) Student status (give school):
4) SSAR membership since:
5) SSAR budget portion (amount and brief description):
6) a statement indicating that applicants "will comply with all applicable permit regulations, and adhere to all appropriate animal care guidelines in the course of conducting funded projects."

(B) Background and Objectives of the proposed project. This should include a clear statement of the problem being addressed and any outcomes predicted as a result of the research.  Preference may be given to projects that appear particularly unique in their focus, methodology, or predicted results.

(C) Methods proposed for conducting the proposed project.

(D) Complete project budget (regardless of whether the SSAR grant will entirely cover expenses). Include an explicit explanation of how an SSAR award of $500 would be applied toward the objectives of the project (here as well as on Title Page), and provide a listing of all current and pending support for the project.

(E) Brief Curriculum Vitae or Resume of the applicant or project coordinator.

(F) Letter of Support Proposals must be accompanied by a letter of support from another member of the SSAR, the student's major advisor or committee chairperson, or a regional society president.   Note: education proposals must be accompanied by a letter of support from the herpetological curator, the director of the facility, the regional society president, or a professional that can speak to the project/applicant’s qualities.  If the person submitting the proposal is also the president/overseer of the institution or organization seeking funds, a letter of recommendation from someone other than the applicant is required (i.e., a member of the board of directors, a past advisor, etc.).

(G) Liability Waiver All grant applicants must sign, scan and submit an electronic version of the SSAR GIH liability waiver.  A pdf of this waiver can be found here (


Proposal Length: Must not exceed 1,200 words (excluding title page, literature cited, curriculum vitae/resume, budget, and liability waiver). 

Proposal Format: The entire proposal should be typed and double-spaced.

Submitting your proposal: All proposals must be submitted electronically to as a single PDF file named "lastname-category.pdf" no later than 15 December 2013 to be considered (letter of support may be included with the proposal or sent separately). Exceptions to electronic submission and file format may be allowed for special cases with prior approval by SSAR-GIH Chair.

Failure to meet these guidelines may result in elimination of a proposal from consideration.


Important Points To Consider:

  • Membership dues must be paid (to SSAR Treasurer) no later than 15 December 2013 for proposals to be considered.
  • Applicants are limited to a submission of one proposal per year.
  • In June 1999, the SSAR Board of Directors decided that past award recipients are not eligible for any future GIH awards.
  • The committee reserves the right to reassign proposals to categories other than those they were submitted to by the applicant. 
  • If proposals in any of the categories are not forthcoming, or judged not to be of sufficient quality, the funds in those categories may be transferred to other categories.
  • The Society prefers that no amount of grants awarded be used to cover institution Facilities and Administration Costs (i.e. overhead).
  • In 2012, the SSAR Board of Directors decided to make it mandatory that a waiver of liability also be submitted by each applicant.  (see URL above).

General Criteria Given to Reviewers For Scoring Grant Applications:  Please note that these criteria are not rigid and we do not require reviewers to adhere to them implicitly.  Their purpose is to help reviewers organize their thoughts regarding each application.

(1) Strong Introduction

(2) Is the topic unique or does it fill a necessary void in the current knowledge of the species/topic in-question?

(3) Clear Statement of problem being addressed, the objectives, and predicted outcomes of the research

(4) Soundness of Methods

(5) Strong Letter of Support 


Successful applicants are encouraged to submit the results of their research for publication in the Journal of Herpetology or Herpetological Review, or to present their findings at the annual meeting of the SSAR.

Submit proposals or questions regarding application procedures to:

Joshua M. Kapfer
Chair, SSAR Grants in Herpetology
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Whitewater, Wisconsin 53190, USA

 Grants In Herpetology Donor Information

SSAR sincerely thanks Tom Beauvais for his extremely generous support of the Roger Conant Grants-in-Herpetology Program.

Financial contributions by SSAR members, institutions, and other benefactors support this program significantly, and can increase the number and/or size of awards. Your tax-deductible contribution to this program will directly benefit meritorious research and education in herpetology. Contact the Treasurer of SSAR for additional information about contributing to the Grants-in-Herpetology Program. If you are employed by an organization that will match donations made to nonprofit organizations, please notify your employer that you have made a donation to the Grants-in-Herpetology Program.