Funds and awards to promote Equal Opportunities

See below for our THREE fund­ing opportunities

About the ESEB Equal Opportunities (EO) Committee

The sci­entif­ic com­munity of evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy does not reflect the diversity of broad­er soci­ety in most coun­tries, and def­in­itely not that of the world. In this respect, evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy resembles every oth­er area in the nat­ur­al sci­ences and, it is worth not­ing, those in the human­it­ies and social sci­ences. Some might claim that this mis­match reflects dif­fer­ences in what people from dif­fer­ent walks of life choose to study. But it is well known that many factors bias the reten­tion of people who start out want­ing a career in aca­demia. The same pro­cesses of dis­crim­in­a­tion and dis­cour­age­ment that occur with­in aca­demia are also likely to apply long before people decide wheth­er or not to study evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. Access to inform­a­tion and resources clearly plays a key role in people’s choices.

The pro­cess of exclu­sion that leads to women dis­pro­por­tion­ately drop­ping out of sci­ence (‘the leaky pipeline’) is well doc­u­mented, but it is likely to apply to many oth­er groups, e.g., based on ances­try, nation­al­ity, skin col­our, reli­gion, income and socioeco­nom­ic status, dis­ab­il­it­ies, neurodi­ver­gence, sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion and much more. ESEB is com­mit­ted to fos­ter­ing an appre­ci­ation of evol­u­tion in the wider com­munity, and to pro­mote the study of evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. As core prin­ciples, we aim to increase pub­lic interest in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy, the abil­ity to study evol­u­tion, and the abil­ity to sus­tain a career in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. To do this we must ensure that every­one has the oppor­tun­ity to hear about, study and work in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. We also have to ensure that every­one has the resources and tools to take advant­age of oppor­tun­it­ies. The world is, of course, an unfair place. The chal­lenges are immense, and our resources are few. But we believe it is pos­sible to pro­mote change, even if it hap­pens on a small scale, and these are aspir­a­tion­al goals worth striv­ing for. ESEB there­fore cre­ated an Equal Oppor­tun­it­ies Com­mit­tee (EO) to think about and pro­mote more equal oppor­tun­it­ies across the world in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. The com­mit­tee is formed by research­ers (pro­fess­ors, postdocs or PhD stu­dents) that volun­teer to organ­ise grants and activ­it­ies that increase diversity in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. The Equal Oppor­tun­it­ies com­mit­tee is com­mit­ted to:

  1. Spon­sor activ­it­ies (e.g., work­shops, sem­inars, sym­po­sia) through the Equal Oppor­tun­it­ies Ini­ti­at­ive Fund and the Under-rep­res­en­ted Early Career Research Achieve­ment Awards that: 
    • increase aware­ness of evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy for those who lack access to information.
    • identi­fy chal­lenges for mem­bers of under-rep­res­en­ted groups who wish to study and pur­sue a career in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy; provide inform­a­tion on how to handle these chal­lenges; and inform oth­ers how best to sup­port their colleagues.
    • help to build col­lab­or­at­ive net­works for mem­bers of under-rep­res­en­ted groups who wish to study and pur­sue a career in evol­u­tion­ary biology.
    • increase the pro­file of mem­bers of under-rep­res­en­ted groups in evol­u­tion­ary biology.
    • counter the pro­mo­tion of racism, sex­ism, homo­pho­bia, and oth­er pre­ju­dices by high­light­ing the his­tor­ic and ongo­ing mis­use of evol­u­tion­ary biology.
  2. Provide fund­ing through the Con­gress Attend­ance Aid Grants to increase the abil­ity of col­leagues with back­grounds that res­ult in insuf­fi­cient fin­an­cial resources to attend con­fer­ences and work­shops (e.g., in low-income coun­tries, with child­care duties, etc).
  3. Ensure that mem­bers of the evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy com­munity can provide feed­back to the ESEB Exec­ut­ive to cre­ate policies and imple­ment prac­tices that ful­fil the aims of the soci­ety. For example, max­im­ising the par­ti­cip­a­tion of all ESEB mem­bers in con­fer­ences by con­sid­er­ing the dif­fi­culty (or impossib­il­ity) of acquir­ing visas for cit­izens of some coun­tries, or the chal­lenges par­ents face; or by being aware of the phys­ic­al dangers that exist for those whose sexu­al­ity, ances­try or appear­ance puts them at risk in cer­tain coun­tries. If you wish to provide feed­back or offer advice, please write to us at

We genu­inely believe that diversity, equity, and inclu­sion should be part of the core val­ues of our aca­dem­ic cul­ture. We need to main­tain efforts to be more inclus­ive in our reach and activ­it­ies as a Soci­ety; to be alert to the poten­tial influ­ences of uncon­scious bias to which we are all prone; to adopt and act on policies that increase diversity; and to com­bat all forms of pre­ju­dice. The ESEB Equal Oppor­tun­ity Com­mit­tee wel­comes sug­ges­tions from our mem­bers on what more we can do.

Your EO committee

Anne Char­manti­er, Chair, CEFE, CNRS, FR
Cam­ila Beraldo, Uni­ver­sity of Hel­sinki, FI
Noah Hensen, Stock­holm Uni­ver­sity, SE
Michael Jen­nions, Aus­trali­an Nation­al Uni­ver­sity, AU
Kel­ley Leung, Uni­ver­sity of Gronin­gen, NL
Öncü Maraci, Uni­ver­sity of Biele­feld, DE

Funding Opportunities

Equal Opportunities Initiative Fund

Next dead­line: May 1st, 2024

Sup­port for activ­it­ies that aim to improve equal oppor­tun­it­ies or pro­jects that will enhance our know­ledge about unequal oppor­tun­it­ies.
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Congress Attendance Aid Grant

Next dead­line to be announced in autumn 2024

The grant aims to increase the attend­ance of mem­bers of groups where fin­an­cial con­straints con­trib­ute to under­rep­res­ent­a­tion (e.g. cost of child­care, high costs rel­at­ive to fund­ing for those from low-income coun­tries).
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ESEB under-represented ECR achievement award

Next dead­line to be announced in autumn 2024

These awards are aimed to high­light the achieve­ments of under-rep­res­en­ted early-career research­ers (ECRs) who have faced dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances while con­duct­ing their work.
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