The Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS) annually awards a number of research grants to encourage the study of birds in Maryland.

MOS research grants encourage ecological and conservation research on birds in Maryland. Graduate school projects, projects which involve volunteers, and proposals which are not normally funded through traditional academic, governmental or professional sources are of most interest. Applications for projects that are funded from a variety of sources are strongly encouraged, but grants are open to all levels of researchers from amateurs to graduate students to professionals.

Proposals are accepted throughout the year, but reviewed only twice annually. To meet review deadlines, proposals must be submitted by December 1 for February 1 review or by June 1 for August 1 review; selections are announced shortly thereafter. Late or time sensitive proposals are eligible for unawarded funds, if any, or, at the discretion of the chair, may be considered along with new proposals at the next formal review session.

The number of grants awarded varies each year depending upon the number of entries and the amount of the available grants. The combined value of all grants seldom exceeds $3,000, but individual grants may range from a few hundred, up to one or two thousand dollars. Well-presented multi-year requests may be considered.

Grants support relatively modest requests to defray the expense of short-life items such as expendable equipment, travel, food, lodging, communications costs, laboratory costs, etc., and are usually awarded to individuals. Grants are not intended for major expenses, such as capital equipment (e.g. binoculars), student stipends or administrative overhead. Any long-life equipment approved for purchase with the grant must be turned over to a public-sector custodian upon completion of the study. Grants may not be used for studies already completed, or to replace funds promised to a researcher.

Proposals should contain a thorough, but concise, description of the study. Items usually included are:

  • Introduction;
  • Objectives — including the research question(s);
  • Justification — why the research question(s) are important;
  • Location — where the research will be conducted;
  • Methods — including a timeline. Provide sufficient detail for an evaluation of the study’s validity and potential for success;
  • Literature Review — written in sufficient detail to demonstrate an awareness of previous work in the project area and to help justify the need for the study;
  • Relevant Literature — a bibliography; and
  • Budget — written in sufficient detail to demonstrate how the funds will be used. This section is mandatory.

An electronic copy of the proposal should be sent to the Research Committee Chairperson, Dave Ziolkowski Jr.

A written report of the study results must be submitted to the Research Committee within one year of completion of the project. Grant recipients also will be asked to give a presentation at the MOS Annual Convention or submit a paper to Maryland Birdlife prior to publishing results elsewhere.