IRF Funded Research

2018 Request for Rhino Research Proposals

The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) is requesting proposals for research that is directly applicable to management, propagation, and conservation of rhinoceros species under intensive protection and management in the wild or maintained ex situ. Proposals for research involving any scientific discipline(s) can be submitted and must directly address one of the targeted IRF research priorities below. These priorities include a subset of those developed at the Science Workshop on Best Practice Rhino Management across Southern Africa earlier this year and at the AZA Rhino Research Council 2018 meeting. These priorities were chosen because they address some of the greatest challenges faced today in maintaining healthy, self-sustaining rhino populations that will survive well into the future.

Research Priority Target Areas

Only proposals addressing the following will be considered. Examples provided are meant to be illustrative, indicating a possible range of research topics.

  1. Improving rhino population monitoring and/or tracking.
  2. Desk study documenting information on Sumatran rhino captures and translocations in the 1980s.
  3. Economic analysis of rhino conservation.
  4. Determination of the conservation value of different rhino populations.
  5. Investigating important factors affecting health, well-being, and reproduction ex situ.

Student Project Proposals

In addition, the IRF is soliciting student project proposals to provide seed money for students entering the field of rhino conservation research. Student project costs requested from IRF may not exceed $5,000. Student project proposals will be reviewed separately from the proposals submitted by established scientists. A minimum of three (3) grants will be awarded to student projects.

Application Timeline

Proposals must be received by midnight Eastern Standard Time, 12 November 2018 and must follow the requested format to be considered for support.

 Download Full Proposal Submission Guidelines

Proposals should be sent to (If an applicant believes his/her proposal idea is outstanding but does not address the priorities listed below, they can submit an explanation of the idea in 250 words or less to by 15 August 2018.

Our panel of 14 established scientists evaluated proposals on quality, soundness of science, feasibility, likelihood that the results will lead to progress in resolving the challenges, effectiveness of the budget, and importance to the overall effort of maintaining healthy, self-sustaining populations of rhinos.

If approved after review, the applicant be invited to submit a full proposal.) Projects selected for funding will be announced in January 2019.

Past Grant Recipients

In 2014, we awarded $203,048 in grants to the following projects:

Mike Bruford, Cardiff University

Assessing the Genetic Health of the Southern Black Rhinoceros Populations Using Genomic Tools

Mary Beth Manjerovich, Lincoln Park Zoo

Investigating Important Factors Affecting Health and Reproduction Ex Situ

Dmitri Petrov, Stanford University

Genetic Studies Relevant to Management of Black Rhinoceros Populations

Budhan Pukazhenthi, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Role of Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease Sensitivity of the Black Rhinoceros

Alan Roca, University of Illinois

Developing Effective Markers for Censusing of Sumatran and Javan Rhinos by Local Researchers

For more resources, please visit Rhino Resource Center.