Kaplan Graduate Awards

Please note that the next intake for the Kaplan Graduate Award will be in November 2015.

The Kaplan Graduate Awards Program (KAP) was created to help develop the next generation of wild cat biologists. The program supports the conservation efforts of outstanding young biology graduate students working on wild felids in situ. We welcome applications for projects on all wild cat species in all regions. Award amounts vary; the maximum is $25,000. All Kaplan Awards are granted for one year, but renewals for subsequent years may be requested. Funding for subsequent years will be decided based on the progress and results reported for the first year’s activities, and is not guaranteed.


The KAP is designed to support projects on wild cats with a conservation focus and a significant field component. Applicants must be post-graduate students pursuing a higher degree (MSc., PhD or equivalent).This is a prestigious award with a very competitive approval process. Successful candidates will demonstrate outstanding academic credentials and conservation experience, field experience that has prepared them to undertake the proposed work, and a history of publishing work in peer-reviewed journals and/or ‘soft’ publications such as reports, magazine articles, web sites, etc.

Species and Location

The Kaplan Graduate Awards supports wild cat conservation and research projects in all areas of the world where wild cats are found. Although work on all wild cat species is considered, preference is given to species that are endangered, threatened or vulnerable on - in order of priority - a global, regional, or local scale. Applications for work on species that do not meet these criteria will have a stronger chance of approval if they can demonstrate that their results can be applied to other species or other areas with greater conservation outcomes. In addition, sites with high conservation significance will be given priority.

Budget Guidelines

The KAP will consider applications for up to $25,000 annually, for both project and tuition costs. However, preference is given to projects requesting primarily field and research costs. Panthera will not consider large requests for expensive first world university tuition, except in exceptional cases where the applicants are nationals from developing countries and provide convincing rationales that the institutions will provide critical graduate training that is not available in their home country.

Panthera does not support:

  • Conferences
  • Travel to scientific meetings
  • Legal actions
  • Overhead costs
  • Captive breeding

Panthera will consider local salaries, per diems and stipends for local field personnel only. We will not fund salaries for core administrative and management personnel.

Genetic Analysis

In partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Panthera has developed the Global Felid Conservation Genetics Program. The program focuses on the molecular ecology of endangered felid populations and promotes, when preferable, the use of noninvasive sampling to understand genetic issues relevant to felid conservation. Applicants may apply to Panthera for genetic analysis funding, but the applicant must agree to process all genetic analysis through the AMNH. For details on the program, please visit the Global Felid Conservation Genetics Program page.

Applicants may apply to Panthera for genetic analysis funding; however, applicants who do so must agree to process all genetic analysis through the AMNH.

Please note that the partnership can only undertake genetic analysis for projects that include but are not necessarily limited to the following priority species: tiger, lion, jaguar, snow leopard, cheetah, and clouded leopard. In the case of multi-species surveys, we can identify other felids in your samples (so please send all your samples to AMNH), but your project must include at least one of these priority species. If your project does not involve priority species, you can still apply for fieldwork that includes genetic analysis of other species. In such cases, we will consider funding the fieldwork (for example, to undertake surveys, collect scat samples, etc.), but applicants will need to secure separate funding for the analysis itself, outside the AMNH. Panthera will ask that you provide the resulting genetic data for archiving at the AMNH under the normal terms of the data-sharing conditions we require in making grants.

Evaluation Criteria

Projects are evaluated on a competitive basis. Letters of Inquiry and applications are reviewed by Panthera staff and Panthera’s Cat Advisory Council, and may be sent for external review. Projects are evaluated in terms of the:

  • Potential contributions to wild cat conservation
  • Scientific merit and value
  • Qualifications of the Principal Investigator

How to Apply

The application process opens with a call for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs). The LOI asks for the title and location of the proposed project, the target species, the project budget and the amount requested from Panthera, and an abstract of the project. Qualified students who submit LoIs for projects that appear to be a good fit for the program will be asked to submit a full application and supporting documents. Both LoIs and applications must be submitted though Panthera’s grant management system, Foundant.

Panthera uses an online grant management system, Foundant. All applications for Panthera grants must be submitted through the Foundant portal, accessed by the green button below. Applicants are only permitted to apply to one Panthera grant program per intake round.

If you are seeking renewal for a previous grant, please contact us directly.

*Please read all Application Instructions thoroughly before applying.

To work offline, please download the application instructions and the following templates:

Please note that these templates are only a portion of the application. In order to be considered for funding, you must submit a complete online application using the Click Here to Apply button.


8 West 40th Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Email: grants@panthera.org

Main Grants and Prizes page.

Read the press release,"Kaplan Graduate Awards Program Grants More Than $1 Million To Become The Largest Funder of Students With A Passion For Cat Conservation"