OPCFHK Conservation Funding

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong

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Grant amount: Approximately HK $227,000

Anticipated deadline: Jan 30, 2020 8:00pm PST

Applicant type: Research Scientist Faculty Postdoctoral Researcher

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Preferred: Eastern Asia, South-Eastern Asia, Southern Asia Other eligible locations: Asia, Papua New Guinea

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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OPCFHK envisions a world where Asian wildlife remains biologically diverse under the stewardship of humans, corporations and governments. We are committed to advocating, facilitating and participating in effective conservation efforts of Asian wildlife, with an emphasis on Chinese white dolphins and giant pandas, as well as their habitats. This will be achieved through partnerships, fundraising, research and education. With limited funds and given the urgency of conservation efforts, it is important that research studies contribute to effective conservation. Therefore, we seek proposals with measurable conservation outcomes.

Funding Focus

The Foundation solicits projects on threatened wildlife in Asia, particularly on the Foundation’s focal species, the giant panda and the Chinese white dolphin, as well as other threatened wildlife (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, birds, fishes, invertebrates and other aquatic and terrestrial mammals) and their habitats throughout Asia. Study outcomes must contribute to successful conservation and could entail the development of conservation action plans and/or social science-based conservation programmes. All proposals must include relevant and specific conservation targets, measurable milestones and an evaluation of the programme’s effectiveness using quantifiable indicators (e.g. before and after questionnaire). Regular projects (1 to 2 years) should be geared towards one of the areas below, whereas multiple-year projects (3 to 5 years; only available to past recipients of OPCF grants) must address both:

  • Wildlife Conservation
    • Conduct in-situ field studies to enhance the understanding of the target species population, the condition of their habitats and the threats they face in the wild, and/or
    • Collaborate with local communities, institutes and the government to formulate effective conservation management plans to preserve threatened species and their habitats, and/or
    • Conduct ex-situ studies on the target species to promote and improve in-situ conservation efforts.
  • Social Science-based Conservation
    • Design and organise in-situ and ex-situ conservation education programmes to raise public awareness of wildlife conservation and to engage locals to change their daily activities and behaviour in support of conservation efforts, and/or
    • Conduct capacity-building programmes or workshops to advance the nature reserve and conservation education teams' knowledge and skills for effective conservation action.
Funding priority will be given to threatened Asian species listed in the IUCN Red List categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable. Projects addressing species in the Data Deficient or Near Threatened categories will also be considered.

Funding Strategy for 2018/19

About 50% of the total funding for 2018/19 will be allocated to aquatic and terrestrial mammals (including Chinese white dolphin and giant panda), while the rest will be allocated to other threatened species. To encourage local researchers to take the lead in conserving threatened species in their countries and to build local capacity, the majority of funding will be granted to projects with local researchers as Principal Investigators, whilst the remaining portion will support projects led by international institutes and research teams with the participation of local people.

While the Foundation encourages projects that advance the conservation of all species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, proposals addressing conservation of other threatened species or habitats will also be reviewed. However, funding priority will be given to projects aligned with one of the four main themes highlighted below.

Theme 1: Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges to biodiversity conservation. The Foundation encourages projects that strive to increase the understanding of climate change effects on threatened wildlife and their habitats, and that generate local solutions to this global phenomenon. Projects that include components or mechanisms of carbon offset will be prioritised.  Preferred project areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Understanding the ecological impacts of climate change to threatened wildlife;
  • Retaining critical habitats of wildlife affected by climate change by enhancing current protected areas or establishing new protected areas in potential areas after range shift;
  • Reducing carbon emission from deforestation, forest fire and forest or wetland degradation by adaptive and sustainable habitat management practices in wildlife habitats;
  • Sequestrating carbon through reforestation/afforestation programmes with the consideration of restoring and reconnecting critical habitats of wildlife by using native plant species;
  • Improving the quantitative understanding of the effects of climate change on coral reefs; and
  • Organising conservation education programmes to engage communities and induce behavioural change to reduce anthropogenic effects leading to climate change.
Theme 2: Endangered Terrestrial and Freshwater Wildlife

Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in Asia harbour a suite of unique, diverse, and charismatic wildlife. Due to rapid economic growth in the region, high rates of deforestation, habitat degradation, pollution, and species extinction continue to threaten terrestrial and freshwater wildlife throughout the region. The Foundation is committed to support projects that directly address and alleviate some of the above mentioned threats against threatened terrestrial and freshwater wildlife in Asia. Higher priority will be given to proposals featuring one the following terrestrial or freshwater species in Ocean Park’s SAFE programme: giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca); Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana); Hong Kong newt (Paramesotriton hongkongensis); blue-crowned laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi).

Theme 3: Marine Conservation

Marine ecosystems provide a range of critical and undervalued ecosystem services that are fundamental to the health and stability of our society. However, overexploitation, pollution, and other forms of anthropogenic disturbances continued to threaten the marine wildlife of Asia. The Foundation committed to support projects that contribute to the conservation and management of coral reefs, identify impact of marine debris on Asian wildlife, or innovative solutions to alleviate threats against marine wildlife. Higher priority will be given to proposals featuring one the following marine species in Ocean Park’s SAFE programme: Chinese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis), staghorn corals (Acropora spp.), green turtle (Chelonia mydas); Chinese horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus); scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) and yellow seahorse (Hippocampus kuda).

Theme 4: Combating Illegal Trade of Threatened Species

In recent years, illegal trade of wildlife and other threatened species has emerged as one of the most significant threats to biodiversity globally. Hong Kong, as a global trade centre, is also an important wildlife trafficking hub, where containers filled with illegal wildlife products are seized on a regular basis. Despite local and international laws and treaties enacted to discourage these trades, record numbers of live animals and animal products continued to be traded illegally, and species are being driven to brink of extinction. The Foundation encourages projects that proactively address problems associated with combating illegal wildlife trade. Preferred project areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Development of cost-effective and accurate forensic protocols that can applied be by law enforcement agencies;
  • Education programmes and tools that can effectively increase public awareness; innovative alternative-livelihood programmes that can be implemented in local communities;
  • Studies that quantitatively address local stakeholders attitudes and behavior towards wildlife trade (e.g. demographic, household income, % of income generated).

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The Foundation solicits proposals worldwide, but the proposed work must be conducted in countries or regions in Asia according to United Nations Statistical Division plus Papua New Guinea, higher priority will be given to projects from Eastern, Southern and South-Eastern Asia.
  • Coastal countries connected to Asia where funding is limited and with threatened wide-ranging Asian species (e.g. Far East Russian western gray whales), will be considered.


  • The Foundation will not support projects with students as the PI, but they can be listed as Deputy PI or Co-Investigator.
  • The Foundation will not pay for administrative or management fees and other indirect costs from universities, research institutes and non-governmental organisations.
  • Salaries of PI and Deputy PI will not be supported.
  • Tuition fees or living costs of students will not be supported.