Building a community of bat researchers
Each year, BCI supports exceptionally talented students in their research through our Student Scholars program. Funded research projects contribute new knowledge to our understanding of bat ecology and conservation and help inform conservation strategies to protect bats locally and globally. Our Student Scholars program grows global capacity for bat conservation by supporting students and their research and building a connected community of bat researchers around the world.
- Improve scientific knowledge to aid conservation on threatened and data-deficient bats
- Increase research capacity and efforts for bat conservation around the world
- Contribute evidence for conservation interventions to protect bat species
Since its founding in 1982, BCI has supported hundreds of university students and aspiring conservationists in dozens of countries. Our annual Student Scholars program grows the global capacity for bat research by providing opportunities for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students to expand their bat research experience and professional network, emphasizing that research is key for evidence-based conservation.
Research by BCI Student Scholars is targeted to address these priorities:
- Investigate the impacts of human-caused environmental changes, such as land development or climate change on bats. Research topics can include, but are not limited to, impacts of land-use change, pollution, or drought.
- Test interventions to resolve bat and human conflicts, such as hunting, roost disturbance, and persecution.
- Answer behavioral or ecological questions that aid the protection of a bat species considered Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, or Data Deficient.
Our Student Scholars live and work in countries around the globe including, but not limited to, Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, India, New Guinea, Mexico, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
We encourage and support student researchers that incorporate training and mentoring opportunities as part of student research projects. However, BCI does not support projects that use unpaid technicians. Learn more about our Policy on Fair and Inclusive Training Opportunities for Student Scholars.
Our Reach & Impact
- Countries served
- Student Scholars Funded
- Million Awarded Since the Program’s inception
Growing the global capacity for bat research
- We offer financial support and guidance to students around the world working to further their educational and research goals.
- Student researchers share their findings on bat ecology with their local communities, which improves understanding of the vital role bats play in the ecosystem.
- We support students with their targeted research activities, reinforcing the need for evidence-based research in conservation.
- We encourage the study of bats in countries where critical information to support conservation is limited.
BCI bestows annual special recognition to Student Scholars with exemplary work and impacts through five distinctions:
- Thomas H. Kunz Innovation in Bat Research Honor
- Verne & Marion Read Bat Conservation Honor
- Equitable Conservation Award
- Women in Science Award
- Conservation Evidence Special Recognition
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Student Scholar: Bangladesh
Scholar: Dr. Jobaida Khanam
Project: Minimizing bat-human conflict by increasing the bats’ food source and dissipating the Nipah fear
Special Recognition: Women in Science Award and Conservation Evidence Special Recognition
Student Scholar: Brazil
Scholar: Cíntia da Costa
Project: Effects of fire on occupancy patterns and diversity of bats in Neotropical savannas
Student Scholar: Brazil
Scholar: Diego Esquivel
Project: Conserving invisible species: revealing cryptic diversity in the neotropical bat genus Lophostoma (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)
Student Scholar: Brazil
Scholar: Maria Lavanholle Ventorin
Project: Response of aerial insectivorous bats to different levels of forest cover in Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Student Scholar: Colombia
Scholar: Kevin Lievano
Project: Colombian Bats and Parasites of Their Parasites
Student Scholar: Ghana
Scholar: Michael Adjei Ayeh
Project: Home Range Dynamics and Behavioural Roosting Ecology of the Gambian Epauletted Fruit Bat Epomophorus gambianus
Student Scholar: India
Project: Population size and distribution of Latidens salimalii in Southern India
Student Scholar: Malaysia
Scholar: Isham Azhar
Project: Community Processes Structuring Forest-Interior Insectivorous Bat Assemblages Across a Habitat Degradation Gradient
Papua New Guinea
Student Scholar: Papua New Guinea
Scholar: Peter Amick
Project: Understanding ecological roles of bats in the New Guinean rainforests
Papua New Guinea
Student Scholar: Papua New Guinea
Scholar: Elise Sivault
Project: Impact of rainforest fragmentation on dietary diversity and microbiota of bats from Papua New Guinea
Special Recognition: Thomas H. Kunz Innovation in Bat Research Honor
Student Scholar: The Philippines
Scholar: Paul John Tolentino
Project: Diet composition of the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus Eschscholtz, 1831) in Infanta, Quezon, Philippines
Special Recognition: 2023 Verne & Marion Read Bat Conservation Honor
Student Scholar: South Africa
Scholar: Alexandra Howard
Project: Diversity and ecosystem services of bats on apple fruit farms of the eastern Free State
Student Scholar: Vietnam
Scholar: Ha Nguyen Manh
Project: Conservation of bats at wind farms in Vietnam
Student Scholar: Japan
Scholar: Fay Taylor
Project: Finding the Forgotten Frosted Myotis: Uncovering Ecology and Behaviour of an Endangered Species in Ashiu
Student Scholar: Priscila Carlos
Bat-plant interaction networks across a gradient of forest loss and fragmentation in the Brazilian Cerrado
Student Scholar: Elyce Gosselin
Ecology and conservation genetics of the Galapagos bats
Student Scholar: Cecilia Montauban
Who’s adapting to change? Unraveling the role of cryptic bat diversity in shifting African ecosystems
Student Scholar: Laura Torrent
The enigmatic Badger Bat and other fantastic beasts: understanding Equatorial Guinea’s bat diversity
Student Scholar: Thangsuanlian Naulak
Bats of Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya: effect of forest patch sizes on species diversity
Student Scholar: Eluid Omusotsi
Using native languages and intergenerational learning tools to appreciate human-bat relationships around Kakamega Forest, Kenya
Student Scholar: Anecia Gentles
Determining the role of cross-species overlap as drivers of Henipavirus persistence
Student Scholar: Sanjeev Baniya
Hibernation roost selection and winter activity of cave-dwelling bats along an elevational gradient
Student Scholar: Elijah Okwuonu
Parasite diversity and conservation of cave-dwelling bats in Enugu State, Nigeria
Student Scholar: María Elena Torres Ruiz Díaz
Monitoring of bats in two green areas of the Metropolitan Area of Asunción, Paraguay
Student Scholar: Veli Mdluli
Quantifying the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on bat communities in a montane grassland ecosystem
Student Scholar: Mallory Davies
Assessing drivers of long-nosed bat movement at the northern extent of their range
Student Scholar: Carlos Linares
Light pollution as a structuring force for bat communities: an experimental and mechanistic investigation
We grow capacity for bat conservation through student research scholarships
“Student Research Scholarships for Global Bat Conservation Priorities”
Bat Conservation International requests proposals through BCI’s online application system from exceptionally talented student researchers interested in seeking financial support for their bat conservation research projects.
This RFP is only open to students who are registered and in good standing with a recognized academic institution. We anticipate granting up to the amount of $3,000. These awards are not intended to cover the full cost of a project and BCI hopes these funds provide opportunities for matching grants from other funding sources. We seek proposals for research in the following categories:
Category #1: The project contributes to the understanding of the effects of human-caused environmental changes, such as land use and climate change, as threats to global bat biodiversity, including projects focusing on habitat destruction or degradation, wind energy development, pollution, impacts from drought or extreme weather, invasive species, etc.
Category #2: The project contributes to the understanding of bat/human conflicts, such as persecution, hunting, disturbance, etc.
Category #3: The project will answer ecological or behavioral questions essential to the conservation of one or more bat species currently listed as Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, or Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species or officially recognized on a national list of species of concern.
From the awardees, we will recognize outstanding students for the following:
- Thomas H. Kunz Innovation in Bat Research Honor: BCI offers a Distinct Honor to recognize the many contributions of Dr. Tom Kunz to the field of bat ecology and conservation. Dr. Thomas H Kunz dedicated his productive career to ecology and conservation of bats and inspired, mentored, and encouraged a generation of scientists around the world to pursue the study and conservation of bat species. The Thomas H Kunz Bat Conservation Honor will be awarded to a student scholar applicant whose proposed research project uses innovative approaches to bat conservation research.
- Women in Science Award:to a student identifying as a woman who demonstrates a commitment to advancing women in science, which can be demonstrated through an initiative to support other women in science or their own personal development. Eligibility is restricted to women from the Global South. This recognition comes with additional support for the woman’s professional development or proposed initiative up to $500 USD.
- Equitable Conservation Award: to a student(s) who includes a component in their proposal to promote and support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of conservation science. This award may come with additional support for the proposed program, up to $500 USD.
- Conservation Evidence Special Recognition: a badge and recognition added to any Student Scholar who plans to test or implement a conservation intervention or action.
Funds are often the limiting factor for wildlife-related research, and despite having an extremely supportive network of partners, we would not be able to accomplish our objectives without outside funding sources. BCI’s support shows that this research is valued, and important to the larger bat conservation effort.Former BCI student scholar