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Keystone Grant

Grants to Support USA, Canada and International
Projects and Activities Related to Ocean Animal Research

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

09/30/18 6:00 PM CET (Central European Time)


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Grants starting at $10,000 to support USA, Canada, and International research, education, and conservation projects with particular focus on threatened ocean wildlife species and their habitats. The first stage application must be submitted and approved prior to submission of a full proposal. Only projects concerned with marine chondrichthyan species (sharks, rays, skates, sawfishes and chimaeras) will be considered.

A special call for 2019 applications is aimed at supporting projects that promote the recovery of sawfishes, wedgefish and guitarfish. However, any chondrichthyan projects are welcomed.

Most of the projects supported by the Foundation currently fall into one or more of three major program areas:

– Research
– Conservation
– Education

The costs of short-term employees or the short-term extra costs of an individual’s participation in a project may be eligible for funding by the Foundation. Specialist services (e.g. film editing, laboratory testing, library facilities) may also be eligible.

General Approach:

- The Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) is committed to supporting activities that have the capacity to make a real difference to the health of the oceans and to the survival of threatened aquatic species and habitats.
- With a view to achieving this aim, the Foundation has developed a policy of supporting, in particular, applicants working on exceptional projects, on remarkable species or habitats and/or in unique locations.
- The purpose of this policy is to support research, conservation or educational projects that are capable of attracting significant public attention and that, as a result, may genuinely increase public and government awareness of the urgent need to protect the marine environment.
- As part of this approach, the Foundation requires all grant holders to undertake public awareness and environmental educational activities (giving talks, issuing press releases, etc.) as part of their project.
- Foundation staff (including the dedicated SOSF Conservation Media Unit) is available to assist grant holders in such public relations work, and grant holders are expected to collaborate with them in preparing public awareness materials.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 156544

Estimated Size of Grant:

$10,000 - $100,000 (average $25,000)

All equipment funded remains the property of the NGO or institution.

Term of Contract:

Funds are allocated on an annual basis, with the option to apply for continued funding every year. The usual project duration is limited to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The SOSF promotes local projects by local people; it funds project leaders and projects.

Financial Restrictions:

- The Foundation does not support the annual salaries (full-time or part-time) of researchers or of other individuals working on projects.
- The Foundation does not support publication-associated costs through regular funding.
- The Foundation does not support the attendance of conferences in allocated funding.
- The Foundation will not consider applications in which more than 10% of requested funding is allocated to travel expenses.
- The Foundation is not able to pay overheads, administration and handling fees to large commercial or non-commercial, governmental or non-governmental institutions or organizations (such as universities or non-governmental organizations).

Pre-Application Information:

Application Window:

Stage I: July 26 - August 24, 2018; Deadline: August 24, 2018, 6:00 PM CET (Central European Time)
Stage II: September 15-30, 2018; Deadline: September 30, 2018, 6:00 PM CET

Applications must be submitted online by the dates and times specified above.

Application Process:

- The Keystone Grant application process consists of a two-stage online application: Stage I involves completing a short online form, equivalent to four to six pages. Stage II, by invitation only based on the Stage I application, will involve the completion of a longer and more detailed online form, equivalent to 10 to 12 pages.
- It is the policy of the SOSF to provide, where practicable, a degree of continuing support to the projects it is funding; the leaders of such projects may be invited by the SOSF to complete an application for a continuation grant in the coming year.
- Only one application will be accepted from any one applicant.
- If a project leader has an SOSF Keystone Grant, he/she cannot apply for a new grant.
- All applications are reviewed by the SOSF Scientific Committee, and external scientific advisors may be approached for their comments and review. The final approval will be made by the Board of the Foundation.
- The application form is only available in English and must be completed in English to be eligible for consideration.
- All applications must be completed online, and individual deadlines as indicated must be respected.
- If successful, the SOSF grant agreement between the Foundation and the Project Leader must be sent back by the deadline. This agreement cannot be modified.

The Foundation will endeavor to acknowledge all grant applications within 10 days of their receipt. The SOSF staff may contact applicants if further explanation or information is required, or if there are suggestions or recommendations to amend and improve the project proposal. The scientific committee will review all the applications during the last quarter of the year, and recommendations will be forwarded to the next SOSF board meeting. The final decision on successful applications should be available during the first quarter of the following year.

The funding cycle is biennial, with the grant application window opening in even years (2018, 2020, 2022, etc.), and the grant covering the period from March 2019 to June 2020, for example. Funds are allocated on an annual basis, with the option to apply for continued funding every year (with the usual project duration limited to three years).

Joint funding/Co-funding of a project by SOSF with another funding agency is welcomed, but not essential.

Obligations of Grant Holders:

Grants are awarded subject to the applicant and/or their organization agreeing to a simple contract valid under the laws of Switzerland (the country in which the Foundation is registered). For a complete list of Obligations of Grant Holders, see the Funding Guidelines listed below.

Funding application information:

Funding Guidelines:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Application Portal:

Save Our Seas Foundation
Rue Philippe Plantamour 20
CH-1201 Geneva
+41 22 552 01 58/59

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.