Wildlife Health and Disease Challenge Grant


While diseases among wildlife are anything but new, they continue to evolve and require close monitoring to protect stable ecosystems, and ensure vulnerable species that have been already pushed to the brink of extinction due to human activities are not lost.

All wildlife diseases, all one health, all conservation, all the time.

The Projects

Browse the participating projects

How does avian social behavior relate to risk of infection by malarial parasites?

Blood parasites can have devastating effects on bird populations, and climate change is expected to increase...

Can we utilize natural bat colony behavior as a vaccination strategy?

Bats are one of the most prolific and ecologically important groups of mammals on the planet, but they are...

Building an active surveillance system for lead in Northeastern wildlife

Many species of wildlife are exposed to lead in the environment, sometimes with devastating consequences...

Effects of lead exposure in Scandinavian brown bears

Toxicants of human origin are a growing concern to conservation. Lead (Pb) is a toxicant that accumulates...

Investigating the role of innate immune function in snakes battling fungal disease

Ophidiomycosis (snake fungal disease) is a threat to snake health. Caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola...

More About This Challenge

The sciency details

Challenge Amount:
Submission Deadline:
May 10, 2019
Campaign Launch:
Jun 03, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

How do challenge grants work?

Wildlife Disease Association is sponsoring a challenge for projects that submit proposals by May 10th, 2019.

When will the grant be awarded?

On June 24th at 5PM PT, the prizes will be awarded according to the posted schedule.

Can I still submit a project?

We are no longer accepting projects for this grant, however we will be launching many more challenge grant opportunities. Sign up for our mailing list for up-to-date community news.

Please Note:

If we see suspicious acitivity of researchers or backers potentially cheating during the challenge, the project will be completely disqualified from winning the grant.

Challenge Aims

In partnership with Experiment, the Wildlife Disease Association is calling for research proposals in the area of wildlife health and disease. In 2018, this grant challenge produced 11 funded research projects and raised over $55,000 for wildlife disease research.

The call is open to all wildlife disease researchers worldwide. The Wildlife Disease Association is particularly interested in work on the following diseases:

  • small ruminant rinderpest and other morbiliviruses
  • chythrid disease
  • white-nose syndrome
  • chronic wasting disease
  • autoimmune diseases
  • tuberculosis
  • rabies
  • insect or bat borne viral diseases
  • any wildlife population health problems of anthropogenic origin
  • wildlife zoonoses
  • diseases that threaten survival of free-ranging species or discrete populations

Experiment is the largest crowdfunding platform for scientific research with a funding success rate of 44%. Experiment's mission is to democratize the research process and remove barriers to scientific success often faced by young or early-career researchers. The average budget of a successful proposal is $4,000. This funding mechanism is commonly used by graduate students paired with a faculty member, but is not required.

The call for proposal will last for 31 days from April 10, 2019 until May 10, 2019. Proposals should be submitted directly on the Experiment site at experiment.com/grants/WDA2019.

Proposals submitted for the call will be approved or rejected by May 17th and launched on June 1st for a 30 day campaign. Projects will be promoted by Experiment, WDA and allied organizations. Researchers should expect to spend time weekly during the campaign working outreach. Past experience shows that projects whose proponents and research team mount a strong outreach campaign are most successful.

During the 30 day campaign participants will be expected to share the projects with their networks. 

WDA will sponsor 7 prizes.

$1,000 will be awarded to the project with the most number of donors on the 21st day of the campaigns.  $500 will be awarded to the project with the second most number of donors on the 21st day (June 24th).  Five additional $100 prizes will be awarded to the top 4 crowd supported proposals whose author(s) are WDA members on the 30th day of the campaign (July 3rd).

Previously funded wildlife disease projects:

Why are some bats naturally immune to White-nose Syndrome?
Can we stop amphibian extinction by increasing immunity to the frog chytrid fungus?
Do birds carry Lyme disease?
Development of non-invasive diagnostics for endotheliotropic herpesvirus in free-ranging Asian elephants
Assessing the pathogens of wild mammals in Los Angeles County
Can DNA collected from pond water help save frogs?
Are Costa Rican salamanders susceptible to Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans?
Probiotics for wild boreal toads facing a deadly fungal disease
Is habitat quality a key factor in determining whether koalas develop chlamydial disease?
Do Pacific Northwest marine mammals carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria from land animals?
Do zoonotic pathogens exist in Fijian bats and if so what are the risks of exposure to humans?
Creating a refuge from amphibian chytrid fungus for the critically endangered mountain chicken
Dead wombats walking: Seasonal nutrition and mange in free-ranging bare-nosed wombats
Ticks and tick-borne pathogens of the Mojave Desert Tortoise

About Wildlife Disease Association:

In March 1951, a group of 28 U.S. and Canadian scientists interested in wildlife diseases founded the Wildlife Disease Committee, which became the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA), a 501 non-profit organization. The mission of WDA is to acquire, disseminate, and apply knowledge of the health and diseases of wild animals in relation to their biology, conservation, and interactions with humans and domestic animals. 

Project Eligilibity

To qualify, proposals must meet the following requirements:
1. Involve a significant health or disease issue in free-ranging marine or terrestrial wildlife.
2. Have implications for wildlife populations and ecosystems in which wildlife live.
3. Emphasize species conservation and application of a One Health approach.

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