A remarkable amount of science happens in zoos – much of it right in front of peoples’ eyes, though they would never know it is there. Zoo practice itself is science-based, and the zoo world is one where research findings are converted to practice surprisingly fast.

This submission window for this grant has ended.

Submitted Projects


Total Funding


Submission Deadline

Oct 14, 2016

About This Grant

Zoo science occurs in an open forum, where people can be easily engaged in the process and results, and converts to changes in management or animal care rapidly. Zoo science tries to answer big picture questions with limited resources, with goals such as wide-ranging as bolstering endangered populations and understanding why species struggle to reproduce in the wild. Zoo science also often poses these questions to small populations, working with sample sizes that traditional scientists aren’t accustomed to. And to do this, zoo scientists need to be even more rigorous and careful than you would expect, stripping studies down to exactly what is necessary.

Research in zoos is also a fantastic way to engage the public and encourage support for environmental conservation both in captivity and the wild. When zoo patrons see thriving animals in captivity it encourages them to take part in helping the natural world, and when zoo patrons engage with zoo scientists some truly fascinating conversations arise.

We are calling for proposals on any aspect of zoo science, whether that addresses animal behavior, endocrinology, care, or even zoo guest behavior. Projects don’t need to be tied to conservation or management or animal care, but do need to contribute to zoos in some capacity. Projects do need to be conducted at an accredited institution (e.g. AZA, EAZA, ZAA etc.), and we ask that all projects are accompanied by a letter of support from the institutional collaborator. Don’t know if your project qualifies? Contact us to chat, we would be happy to talk about it.

We will review proposals and plan to launch qualifying projects in late October. Projects will have 30 days to fundraise for set “all or nothing” goals. After three weeks of campaigning, the projects with the most backers will receive a bonus amount donated to their campaigns on top of their raised funds.

How It Works

Challenge grants are sponsored prizes. We will accept proposals for campaigns related to zoo research, and all the campaigns will launch together on November 1, 2016. The project that ends with the highest number of backers will receive an additional $1,000. Two runners up will receive $250 each.

Submitted Projects