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 NEAGLES GRANT is being established to honour the late Nicolas Neagle (1959-2023), a conservation advocate, researcher, surveyor and protector. Stay tuned for more information on this grant opportunity available in April 2023.


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 Grant round is currently OPEN

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

Sunday 28 of May 2023

Application forms available here

NEW in 2023 – Neagles Grant

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

Neagles grant will focus on South Australian research supporting ecosystem resilience, and habitat restoration.

More to come in 2023

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.

Neagles 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.

Stay tuned

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 Conservation Biology Grant recipients for 2022 

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

    The Conservation Biology grants awarded over the last two years include:  

    • ‘Poison prey – reducing the impacts of feral mesopredators on native Australian fauna’ – Ned Levi Ryan-Schofield 
    • ‘Assessing population genetic structure and diversity of octopuses through conservation genetics’ – Qian Hui Qiaz Hua 
    • ‘A win-wine situation: do native bats eat arthropod pests of South Australian vineyards?’ Natalie Brown 
    • ‘Fish communities associated with biogenic reefs constructed by the tubeworm polychaete, Ficopomatus enigmaticus in the Coorong estuary, South Australia.’ Laura Schroder 
    • ‘The biodiversity and systematics of the wasp genus Apanteles, a megadiverse group of caterpillar parasitoids: baseline taxonomy to inform conservation priorities.’ – Mollie Slater-Baker 
    • ‘Increasing the drought tolerance of kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) via targeted inoculations of arid and mesic soil microbiota’- Riley Hodgson