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.
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).
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.