Kenya National Commission for UNESCO - Service to Kenya and UNESCO

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Call for applications – 2020 MAB Young Scientists Awards

Call for applications – 2020 MAB Young Scientists Awards

IN Call for applications
Programme Director:
Dr. Jaro Arero
January 1, 1970
About the Programme

Since 1989 MAB has been supporting young researchers each year with awards of up to US$ 5,000 in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues. The International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) adopted new criteria and conditions for the selection of MAB Young Scientists Award winners) at its 29th session on 12-15 June 2017, in order to address the Lima Action Plan (LAP) for Biosphere Reserves and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in applications.

Criteria and objectives

The Awards basics

The MAB Young Scientists Awards targets young researchers carrying out interdisciplinary research in line with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Priority is given to projects carried out in biosphere reserves. Until 2025, implementation of the UNESCO MAB Programme is guided by the MAB Strategy and Lima Action Plan for UNESCO’s MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (LAP), which contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). MAB Young Scientists Award applicants are strongly encouraged to take into account the priorities of the LAP, and to identify in their applications how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs.


The objectives of the MAB Young Scientists Award Scheme are to:

  • encourage young scientists, in particular those from developing countries, to use MAB research, project sites and biosphere reserves in their research;
  • encourage young scientists who already use such sites to undertake comparative studies in other sites in or outside their own country;
  • promote and encourage the exchange of information and experience among a new generation of scientists;
  • strengthen communication of the LAP within the young scientists and strengthen its visibility;
  • involve young scientist in the implementation of the LAP;
  • enhance awareness among young scientists of the role of research in the implementation of the SDGs – in particular when conducted in biosphere reserves.


The following criteria are used in the selection of MAB Young Scientists Awards:

  • To be eligible, award applications must be made on the MAB Young Scientists Award application form (in English or French) and follow-up technical requirements stated there. The application must be endorsed by the applicant’s MAB National Committee*, which may endorse only two applications per year from applicants who are not older than 35 years of age (at the closing date of the application).
  • Applications must contain concise information on past and existing research in areas concerned in order to present linkages and avoid duplications and financing of projects already carried-out.
  • Priority is given to interdisciplinary projects carried out in biosphere reserves designated under the Man and the Biosphere Programme or potential biosphere reserves and which contribute to the implementation of the LAP and the SDGs. In this regard, applicants shall identify in their applications if and how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs.
  • Applicants from developed countries are eligible for Awards only in exceptional cases or if working in joint partnership with developing countries.
  • Awards are set at a maximum of US$5,000 each.
  • Research supported by an Award should be completed within two years.
  • Candidates must accept to submit reports of Award-funded research to the MAB Secretariat in Paris and to their MAB National Committees*, and agree to the possibility of UNESCO publishing the results of their research.
  • International travel expenses are usually not covered under these Awards.


Download application form here

Applicants should submit their applications to for review and endorsement  by the National MAB Committee for Kenya before onward transmission of the shortlisted candidates to the UNESO MAB Secretariat. Applications should be submitted  not later than 15th November 2019.  In Kenya, six sites were designated as UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves namely: Mt Kenya MAB Reserve, Mt. Elgon MAB Reserve, Mt. Kulal MAB Reserve, Amboseli MAB Reserve, Malindi-Watamu MAB Reserve and Kiunga Marine Man and Biosphere Reserve.

Proposed activities should therefore focus on any of these six sites. Please circulate this information as widely as possible so that many potential applicants have access. You could see projects funded in the last cycle (2018). East Africa is missing and we need to ensure our young scientists are taking advantage of these opportunities to advance their research and professional development.

For more information, please visit: