Using a drone to retrace the flight paths, BCI Student Scholar Nayelli Rivera estimates food availability in a grove in Jalisco, Mexico.
Winifred Frick

Building a community of bat researchers

Now Accepting Applications

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.

Apply Now– Closes October 31st


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

Program Details

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

BCI Student Scholar conducts research in the field
Bat Conservation International
Stanimira Deleva

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 Student Scholar Stanimira Deleva seeks to understand how guano washed out of bat caves might act as an important source of nutrients in forests around large roosting sites.
Stanimira Deleva

Distinct Honors

BCI bestows annual special recognition to Student Scholars with exemplary work and impacts. This year, we are proud to announce three new distinctions:

  • Thomas H. Kunz Innovation in Bat Research Honor
  • Promoting Diversity in Conservation Award
  • Conservation Evidence Special Recognition

We will continue to offer these awards to highlight a student and their endeavors:

  • Women in Science Award
  • Verne & Marion Read Bat Conservation Honor

Student Projects

Click to learn more


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

Equatorial Guinea

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

South Africa

Student Scholar: Veli Mdluli

Quantifying the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on bat communities in a montane grassland ecosystem

United States

Student Scholar: Mallory Davies

Assessing drivers of long-nosed bat movement at the northern extent of their range

United States

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

Granting Programs

“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. We are currently accepting RFPs for the 2022 year until October 31, 2021. Submit a proposal here.

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:


  • Verne & Marion Read Bat Conservation Honor: an annual award to a student who inspires education and community action to protect bats around the world and address critical conservation needs. This recognition comes with an additional $500 in support of their project.
  • Thomas H. Kunz Innovation in Bat Research Honor: BCI is pleased to announce we will offer a new Student Scholar 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 Conservation Science Award: an honor to an outstanding woman student from a developing country (low-income and lower to middle income countries as defined by the World Bank. This recognition comes with an additional $500 in support of the student’s professional development.
  • Promoting Diversity in Conservation Award: to a student who includes a component in their proposal to promote and support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of conservation science. This award comes with additional support for the proposed program, up to $500.


  • 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.

Samantha Hoff Former BCI student scholar
A long eared myotis in flight
J Scott Altenbach