About the Award
Sigurd T. Olson was a pioneer loon watcher. His 1952 research paper with coauthor William H. Marshall, “The Common Loon in Minnesota,” continues to be cited as one of the premier baseline reports on the species. Sigurd was born in Ely, Minnesota, on September 15, 1923. He was the eldest son of Sigurd F. Olson—internationally famous conservationist, writer, biologist, and the namesake for the Northland College Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute (SOEI). He leaves an enduring legacy from his efforts in research and conservation to all who work with and enjoy loons.
For his contributions of scholarship to loon research and natural history, the LoonWatch program named its new grant program the Sigurd T. Olson Loon Research Award in 1986. The award is for original research that leads to better conservation for loons and their habitats.
Since its inception, the Sigurd T. Olson Common Loon Research Award has provided more than $40,000 in funds toward original research that has enhanced the understanding and management of loons and their habitats. Here are just a few highlights of the remarkable breakthroughs that the Sigurd T. Olson Loon Research Award has funded:
- Developed the methods for color-banding loons, which has made it is possible to undertake in-depth studies of behavior, territory, life span, migration patterns, mercury impacts, and much more.
- Investigated the impacts of fish mercury contamination on loons, which has helped set safe mercury emission standards for loons and our lakes.
- Established a standardized survey to document the loon population in Minnesota, which is still in use today.
- Studied the consequences of using artificial nesting platforms for loon nests, which lead to better success with nesting platforms.
- Learned about the impacts of Botulism E on migrating loons in the Great Lakes, which lead to a large-scale unified effort in Michigan to address this issue.
Applying for the Award
- The research award funds current investigation into the behavior, breeding ecology, migration, winter ecology, toxicology, or evolution of loons. Special consideration will be given to proposals addressing human impacts, including but not limited to the impact of climate change.
- Proposals should be clear, concise, and submitted on time. Due to time considerations, incomplete proposals will not be considered. Applicants may resubmit such proposals for the 2024 award.
- Main body of each proposal (title, primary investigator, objective, justification and background, methods, budget, other sources of funding) should not exceed 6 pages in length using 12 point font. Cover letter, curriculum vitae, and letters of recommendation (for students) do not count towards the six page maximum.
- Our policy is not to pay overhead, whether stated as overhead or indirect costs. We do not fund coursework, but will fund partial costs of research projects leading to BS, MS, or PhD degrees.
- The potential recipient should be affiliated with a group such as a non-profit, university, or government agency.
- Most grants are awarded for work done in one calendar year. We will consider funding additional year(s) of research; however, a new proposal must be submitted during the next call for proposals in 2023.
- The 2022 award will not exceed $5,000 and will be announced no later than February 21, 2022.
- LoonWatch will receive acknowledgment for financial support in any publication or report resulting from the study.
- The award will be designated for research conducted in the 2022 calendar year toward proposed objectives.
- The principal investigator shall submit a progress report to LoonWatch by December 31, 2022. The report shall include major findings and account for expenditures of the award.
- The principal investigator shall submit a final report to LoonWatch at the completion of the project.
Title: Concise description of project.
Principal Investigator: Include name and institutional affiliation.
Objective: Concise statements of goals and hypotheses to be tested.
Justification and Background: Provide background for the purpose of the research with a description of the situation, followed by a statement of need. Include relevant published literature and current research. Describe how this project is consistent with LoonWatch goals and research priorities.
Methods: Describe study area, data collection, equipment to be used, experimental design (include sample sizes and methods for the control of bias), and statistical analyses.
Budget: Itemization of proposed expenditures.
Other sources of funding: Indicate other awards applied for and current available funding.
Qualifications: Curriculum vitae of principal investigator including other research programs and publications. Students must include two letters of recommendation.
Deadline for submission: Monday, November 29, 2021
Submit Your Proposal
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