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The Terra Viva Grants Directory develops and manages information about grants for agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources in the world's developing countries.

United Kingdom — Darwin Initiative

Darwin Initiative

Grants and fellowships for projects in biodiversity conservation in the developing countries and UK overseas territories

Principal Office: UK

The Darwin Initiative assists countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to meet their objectives under the world’s four main biodiversity conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing; and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The Darwin program is administered through the UK’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) in collaboration with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The Darwin Initiative supports institutional capacity building, training, research, conservation field projects, and environmental education and awareness.

Grant Programs for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Natural Resources

The Darwin Initiative funds biodiversity projects in the developing countries, sometimes preceded by scoping projects, and sometimes followed by additional support (i.e., post-project grants and fellowships). Darwin Plus is a relatively new component to support biodiversity conservation and climate issues in the British Overseas Territories.

1 — Main Projects. Grants for main projects are to public and private institutions in the UK and other countries that have expertise in the biodiversity field, or whose work may have beneficial impacts on biodiversity. Projects are expected to advance both biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction. Eligibility extends to organizations and institutions of any size in any country. Most grants have ranged from £80 thousand to £300 thousand for up to three years.

About Main Projects


2 — Darwin Plus. This is a funding scheme for the UK’s Overseas Territories that incorporates biodiversity conservation under the Darwin Initiative, plus a broader range of environment and climate-related issues under the Overseas Territories Environment Programme. Funding is open to any organisation as long as the proposed project will benefit one or more of the UK’s Overseas Territories by protecting and enhancing their biodiversity, or addressing wider environment or climate-related issues.

About Darwin Plus


3 — Partnership Projects. Partnership projects are small grants intended for applicants who are new to the Darwin Initiative. The idea is to develop a workable project idea and build potential project partnerships that will lead to a main round project application.

About Partnership Projects


4 — Darwin Fellowship Awards. Fellowships are available to support individuals in the developing world and in the UK’s overseas territories who have links with current and recent Darwin projects, and who will be hosted at UK institutions. The funding is made to the UK organizations that host the Fellows.

About Fellowship Awards


APPLICATION (for 1-2-3-4 preceding): The Darwin Initiative administers annual calls (“rounds”) of funding applications.

Applications for main projects are made in two stages. Top-rated expressions of interest in Stage 1 are developed into full proposals for Stage 2. Applications for the other awards normally are submitted in a single stage.

Application deadlines should be verified for each program, since not all programs operate on the same calendar.

About applying for support 

Geographical Distribution of Grant Activities in Developing Countries


The Darwin Initiative was originally announced by the UK government at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

The Darwin Initiative posts its contact information.