This year, over 200 grant applications were received, requesting a total of over US$ 5.5 Million of grant aid from the Save Our Seas Foundation in year 2013-2014. 53 of all these applications were successfully passed through to Stage 2. These figures do not take into account projects that are already receiving funds from the Foundation; some of these Principal Investigators will be invited to apply for continued funding next year.
The open invitation for researchers to apply to SOSF for funds also stressed the Foundation’s interest in supporting research that will contribute towards the conservation and management of whale sharks and mobulid rays (Manta and Mobula species) besides research on other shark and ray species. The Foundation received over 40 applications for funding in these categories. There were also many applications for hammerhead and white sharks, and sawfishes, and numerous interesting projects in other research areas. Many applicants proposed work in developing regions, where much needs to be done to improve our knowledge of shark and ray populations and the threats they face. The Foundation also received a large number of applications for research and awareness projects.
It was extremely difficult to narrow the application list down to a much smaller number of projects for further consideration at Stage 2. Ultimately, 53 projects were selected for more detailed consideration. These include 15 research projects focused upon the mobulid rays, whale sharks, or sawfishes and 13 education and awareness projects. Other projects approved also include elements of research into these species within broader objectives. Sadly, it was decided not invite to include a larger number of the very good project proposals received to proceed to the next stage. This is because Stage 2 requires a great deal of effort on the part of the Principal Investigators, still with no guarantee of receiving funding.
The Save Our Seas Funding Team