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.

The Projects

Browse the participating projects

How deadly is the emergence of malaria in Common Loons?

Recently, we have documented malaria parasites killing Common Loons, an iconic species of the northern wilderness...

Why are frigatebird chicks so vulnerable to a viral disease?

A novel herpesvirus likely indigenous to the magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) has been linked...

Understanding transmission of a deadly fungus to prevent a salamander apocalypse in North America

Salamanders in Europe are dying from a disease caused by the "salamander devouring fungus", Bsal. This pathogen...

How are cave-dwelling amphibians responding to parasitic and environmental threats?

Amphibian declines are occurring at alarming rates worldwide. To ensure a future for amphibians, we must...

Can aerial photography be used to measure leatherback sea turtle body condition?

Unlike hard-shelled sea turtles, the leatherback’s soft-shell changes shape relative to their nutritional...

More About This Challenge

The sciency details

Challenge Amount:
Submission Deadline:
May 09, 2021
Campaign Launch:
May 31, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

How do challenge grants work?

This grant is for projects that launch crowdfunding campaigns by May 09, 2021. The project that ends with the most backers will receive an additional $1,250 grant, and the runner up will receive an additional $750. Eligible projects must be approved before the launch deadline.

When will the grant be awarded?

On June 21st 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

WDA is once again partnering with Experiment to run a challenge grant for Wildlife Health and Disease. In 2020 the challenge grant researchers raised more than $31,000 in support of 7 projects. In the past three years of WDA challenge grants, more than $100,000 has been allocated to researchers for their projects.

This challenge is open to all wildlife health and disease projects worldwide. In the past, successful campaigns have included morbiliviruses, chytrid disease, white-nose syndrome, tuberculosis, rabies, bat-borne viral disease, plastic ingestion, lead toxicity, and many other disease-related topics -- but WDA emphasizes that researchers need not focus specifically on contagious diseases. Any project that approaches wildlife health can be eligible.

WDA will sponsor six prizes

On June 21st WDA will give two prizes based on outreach and crowdfunding efforts. These prizes will be awarded to the two projects with the highest number of backers on the 21st day of the campaign at 5 PM PST.

$1,250 will be awarded to the winning project if the PI is a WDA member ($1000 award if the PI is not a WDA member).
$750 will be awarded to the runner-up project if the PI is a WDA member ($500 award if the PI is not a WDA member).

Four additional $250 prizes will be awarded to the top 4 crowd supported proposals whose PI is a WDA members on the 30th day of the campaign (June 30th).

Important dates

This challenge grant will be accepting campaign submissions until May 9th. The review process at Experiment is iterative, so researchers are highly encouraged to get their campaigns in early in order to work with the Experiment team on revisions and campaign strategy.

Between May 9th and May 17th campaigns will be reviewed by the Experiment team and WDA for eligibility for the challenge. Researchers will know if they are approved to join the campaign by May 17th.

From May 17th - May 30th researchers are encouraged to work on campaign strategy with coaching from Experiment staff.

May 31st -- Crowdfunding campaign kickoff!

Award decisions will be made on the evening of June 21st.

Campaigns will end on July 2nd. Researchers can expect payout approximately two weeks after campaigns end.

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

Projects must meet the following criteria: 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 life. 3. Emphasize species conservation or application of a One Health approach.

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