SOC operates two grant schemes; The Birds of Scotland Fund is used to support ornithological publications and special projects and the Endowment Fund provides finance for the field study of Scottish birds

SOC's Endowment Fund

The Endowment Fund was established in 1966 from gifts and bequests with the specific purpose of supporting ‘the advancement of ornithology’. The principal objectives of the fund are:

  • to support studies to further the knowledge of the birds of Scotland.
  • to contribute to the conservation of the birds of Scotland

Recent projects to have received funding from the Endowment Fund include: Little & Arctic Tern Ringing on Tiree, Jack Snipe geolocator project and Rousay Skua Project. Further past awards can be found on our Surveys page.

Who is eligible to apply for an SOC Research Grant?

Grants from the Endowment Fund are available only for amateur projects – PhD and other student research projects will not be supported. While priority will be given to SOC members, applications will be considered from any individual or group. SOC Branches can also apply to the fund.

Applicants must state whether or not they have applied for, or intend to apply for or have received, grant aid from other sources as this may be taken into consideration in determining the level of grant awarded.

What type of projects will be supported?

Projects must relate to the study of Scottish birds and will be assessed according to their ornithological merit and the likelihood of their objectives being fulfilled. Research that targets species in the Knowledge Gaps Database is particularly welcomed. The Fund is seen as being of particular value towards meeting reasonable extra costs such as travel and/or accommodation incurred while undertaking research, as well as the purchase of appropriate equipment, especially for groups. Funding to support nationally-organised (UK-wide, or Scottish) surveys and projects, or regionally-organised atlases, will not be given priority. Normally the costs of purchasing BTO rings will not be supported; however, the costs of relatively expensive inscribed colour-marks may be supported since they generate a high number of valuable re-sightings, the data from which are of scientific and conservation value. The Fund will not support time and only in very exceptional circumstances will the purchase of computer hardware/software or computing equipment for an individual be supported.

What is the level of grant aid?

Currently (2022), the total amount of money available from the Fund is £3600 per annum, and in some years the requests for grants can exceed the amount available. However, there is no upper limit applied to grant awards. Each application will be considered on its merits and the level of grant aid awarded will be dependent upon the funds available, balanced against other worthy applications.

Can grants be awarded to a project for more than 1 year?

Grants for no more than 3 years can be awarded to encourage longer-term projects. The amount of grant aid awarded for 2 or 3 year grants will be fixed over the 2 or 3 year period but payment of 2nd and 3rd years’ grants will be subject to the receipt of satisfactory annual progress reports (to be submitted by 31 December of the year prior to renewal) and a request for continuation of the grant. For 2 or 3 year projects, two-thirds of the annual amount will be awarded in advance each year, with the remainder to be awarded at the end of the project and following submission of a report on the project. For single-year projects, two thirds of the grant will be awarded in advance, with the outstanding one third to be awarded on receipt of a report on the project. Applicants can reapply for their project on an annual basis when the level of grant aid will be dependent upon the number and value of other projects that year.

When to apply? Please plan ahead to avoid disappointment

Applications must be submitted to the Club Administrator by 31st January. No late applications will be considered. As such, if you think you might require some funding for a research project, please plan ahead. Shortly after the application deadline, the Research & Surveys Committee considers each application and decides the level of funding, if any, to be awarded. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 31st March.

Conditions attached to Grants awarded from the Endowment Fund

These conditions are intended to safeguard the interests of the SOC in awarding grant aid:

  • A short report on the project results to be submitted to the SOC Club Administrator by the end of DECEMBER in the year of the grant award otherwise further grants may be withheld.
  • Applicants are encouraged to publish their findings in Scottish Birds or another journal. In any event, a brief summary of each project, including awardee name, project title and amount of grant awarded, will be publicised.
  • All project reports will be deposited in SOC Library.
  • Any publications relating to the project results should state that a contribution towards costs was obtained via an SOC Research Grant.
  • The grant must be used for the purpose stated on the application form.
  • Grant recipients are required to follow the legislation on access as stated within The Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Recipients are also required to follow any conditions imposed by licensing authorities such as NatureScot. Any ringing activities conducted by recipients should follow the permission protocol outlined in the current edition of The Ringers' Manual (for the 2001 edition, ch.5). It is recommended that all permissions be acknowledged in reports and papers.
  • The grant must be returned to the Club if it is not used by the applicant for the specific project.
  • Neither the Research & Surveys Committee, nor the SOC, takes any responsibility or liability for any actions and consequential results from the activities of a grant recipient while engaged in activities supported by an SOC Research Grant.

How to apply?


Completed application forms should be sent either via email or post to the Club Administrator at Waterston House by 31st January.