Open call for applications for 2024 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award-National Process

The call is now open for the GBIF 2024 Graduate Researchers Award previously the Young Researchers Award. The award fosters innovative research and discovery in biodiversity informatics by graduate students in master’s and doctorate programmes at universities, whose studies rely on GBIF mediated data, in countries participating in the GBIF network.

The 2024 programme will provide €5,000 prizes recognizing the work of two early-career researchers preferably, one master’s and one PhD candidate—nominated by the Heads of Delegation and Node Managers from GBIF Participant countries.

South Africa, as a GBIF Participant Country, will nominate two candidates selected from the national applications submitted to the SANBI-GBIF Node until 24 May 2024. This selection will be supported through the SANBI-GBIF Graduate Researcher Award Advisory Panel. The Department of Science and Innovation will engage with the SANBI-GBIF Node in submission of the two South African applicants to GBIF.

A jury organized by the GBIF Science Committee will select two award recipients from the pool of nominees whose names are received by the GBIF Secretariat by 24 June 2024. The winners will be announced at the 31st meeting of the GBIF Governing Board planned for Portugal, in October 2024.


Candidates must be enrolled in a university graduate programme to be eligible for the award. Candidates must be either South African citizens or citizens of another country but students in a South African institution. Nominations can come from the GBIF delegation or node of either the candidate’s country of citizenship or the country of the candidate’s host institution.

Submission process and deadlines

Candidates should submit their application, together with completed documentation by email, to by 24 May 2024. Submissions of incomplete proposals will not be considered.

Award nomination packet

Candidates should prepare their proposal and nomination packets to include:

  1. Research summary (200 words)
  2. Project description (maximum 5 pages, 12-point Arial) that describes
    • How the research advances biodiversity informatics and/or the conservation of biological diversity
    • The role of data accessed through GBIF in addressing these questions. Research proposals must clearly demonstrate how the study incorporates data mobilized through GBIF. Students with questions about GBIF-enabled data should work with academic advisors, their GBIF national node, the GBIF Secretariat or members of the Science Committee to increase their understanding.
    • The research scope, plan, methodologies, relevant literature citations and timetable.
    • If relevant, a description or an excerpt from a data management plan that outlines how data related to the research is published or will be prepared for publication through the GBIF network to
  3. Curriculum vitae of the student applicant including full contact information at the home institution.
  4. Supporting documents
    • An official letter from the student’s faculty mentor/supervisor certifying that the applicant is a student in good standing in the graduate programme of the
    • At least one, and no more than three, letters of support from established researchers active in a field that encompasses and incorporates biodiversity informatics (e.g., genetics, species composition and traits, biogeography, ecology, systematics, etc.).

Selection process and criteria

The GBIF Science Committee will review the nominations and select winners of the Graduate Researchers Awards. The criteria for the awards include:

  • Originality and innovation
  • Use of and strategic significance for data accessed through GBIF
  • Measurable effectiveness and impact in advancing biodiversity informatics and/or the conservation of biological diversity

Proposals that are not selected may be updated and resubmitted for consideration in subsequent years. Awardees are expected to acknowledge GBIF support when disseminating research results via peer-reviewed publications, presentations at professional meetings, and other media.

SANBI-GBIF looks forward to receiving your applications.

Fatima Parker-Allie

Deputy Director: Biodiversity Informatics and Partnerships

SANBI-GBIF Node Manager

Foundational Biodiversity Science Division

South African National Biodiversity Institute