Nature Conservation Research Grants

The Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCSSA) is proud to offer two research grants to South Australian researchers in 2023.

The long standing Conservation Biology Grant, now known as the VONOW CONSERVATION BIOLOGY GRANT aims to assist honours and post-graduate student research into aspects of conservation biology in South Australia. The new NEAGLE’S GRANT established to honour the late Nicolas Neagle (1959-2023), a conservation advocate, researcher, surveyor and protector. The NCS is very proud to be able to offer this new grant opportunity focused on South Australian research supporting ecosystem resilience, and habitat restoration.


Vonow Conservation Biology Grant

Jointly sponsored by the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCSSA) and the Biology Society of South Australia (BSSA).

This grant aims to assist honours and post-graduate student research into aspects of conservation biology in South Australia.

The 2023 VCBGrant round is Closed

The closing date for applications for the 2023 Vonow Conservation Biology Grant was

Sunday 28 of May 2023

Application available again in 2024

NEW in 2023 – Neagle’s Grant

Proudly established in 2023 to honour the late and great Nickolas Neagle (1959-2023), made possible thanks to generous donations from NCS members, AI Carbon and a contribution from the NCS. If you would like to contribute to this research fund, please contact the NCS.

Neagle’s grant will focus on South Australian research supporting ecosystem resilience, and habitat restoration.

The 2023 Neagle’s Grant round is OPEN

The closing date for applications for the 2023 Neagle’s Grant is

Sunday 7th of October 2023

Applications and guidelines available HERE

The Vonow Conservation Biology Grant has been named to honour Helen Vonow, who for over 40 years, continues to dedicate her life to nature conservation in South Australia.

Helen works in the State Herbarium of South Australia, as the State Herbarium Collections Manager since the mid-1990s, managing a collection of over 1 million specimens of plants, algae, fungi and lichen. Her work includes conducting field collections, updating taxonomy, and training staff, researchers and students in collection practices and identification skills. In addition to her paid employment Helen, since the mid-1980s, has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours towards understanding South Australia’s biodiversity, as a member of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCS), and as an NCS committee rep since the early 1990s. Helen continues to contributes volunteer hours as a member of the NCS and as the Public Officer, as a member of the Field Naturalists Society of SA, a member of the Adelaide Fungal Studies Group, on the review panel of Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grants, as a member of the Australian conservation Foundation, a member of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society and a Rail Care volunteer, conducting revegetation for train stations. It is an honour and a privilege to be able to celebrate Helens previous and ongoing contribution to nature conservation in South Australia.

Neagle’s Grant is being established for the first time in 2023 to honour the late Nickolas (Nick) Neagle (1959-2023), who for more than 40 years contributed passionately to biodiversity conservation and protection in South Australia.

Nick had a passion for geography, the great outdoors, vegetation and biological surveys and biodiversity assessments. He also had a natural flair for databases, data analysis and evaluation. This grant, established in Nick’s honour, aims to support research into conservation/environmental restoration best practice, that supports biodiversity and resilience to climate change in SA.

The Neagle’s Grant is availble to:

  • Research students (undertaking studies at Honours Degree, Graduate Diploma, Masters Degree or PhD level) at accredited Universities,
  • Not-for-profits and registered charities undertaking research to support on ground restoration.
  • Research must be related to South Australian flora and fauna conservation.

New in 2023 The Neagles’s Grant will be awarded up to the value of $5,000 to support survey and monitoring for research that contributes knowledge to assist and enable on-ground restoration activities including:

  • Research that demonstrates the benefits and impacts to biodiversity conservation in SA.
  • Research that delivers short-term outputs & documents long-term objectives and values.
  • Equipment, wages, travel or what is essential to you carrying out the project.
  • Research or knowledge gathering (e.g. vegetation &/ or fauna surveys) that assist conservation or restoration activities in South Australia.
  • Research that benefits SA Threatened Ecological Communities will be strongly considered.

    Since 2003, the NCS have provided critical seed funding to early career researchers through the Vonow Conservation Biology grants, in partnership with the Biology Society of South Australia. Students can apply for up to $3,300.  

    The grants support research that will: 

    • Improve understanding of the conservation status of species or ecological communities, 
    • Provide recommendations for improvement of some aspect of biodiversity conservation, 
    • Prove information on the ecology of species or communities, 
    • Identify threats to biodiversity and management of those threats. 

    Successful Vonow Conservation Biology Grant recipients for 2023 – CONGRATULATIONS

    • Jack Bilby, ‘Beating the heat: how do bandicoots respond to extreme heat events in burnt and unburnt habitat’ – University of New South Wales. 
    • Nicole Fickling, ‘Investigating the impacts of edge effects on soil biota in Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) Grassy Woodlands’ – Flinders University.  
    • Kimberley Michael, ‘Assessing the impacts of profitable grazing on the endangered pygmy bluetongue’ – Flinders University.
    • Josephine Lingard, ‘Understanding threats to shark conservation: Identifying spatiotemporal patterns in shark species for sale across the supply chain in the South Australian flake trade‘ – University of Adelaide.

    The winner of the 2023 Neagle’s Grant will be featured here in late October. Stay tuned!

    The Vonow Conservation Biology grants awarded in 2022-23 includes:  

    • ‘Using remote bio-acoustic recorders to detect Plains-wanderers (Pedionomus torquatus) in the semi-arid rangeland, South Australia’ – Saskia Gerhardy. 
    • ‘Co-restoration of seagrasses and oyster reefs in South Australia’ – Lachlan McLeod.  
    • ‘Red-tailed phascogale reintroduction to South Australia: History, Diet, Habitat Use and Genetics’ – Tessa Paris Manning.