The British Deer Society works to enable deer in the UK to exist in harmony with the environment and ensure that their future is secure for generations to come. A key part of this process is to support scientific study and research in the public interest into the habits of deer with particular reference to their relationship to the natural habitat, forestry, agriculture and areas to which the public have access.
If wild deer management is based upon sound scientific principles, it will encourage the co-existence of wild deer populations in balance with farming, forestry, public access and other land uses and also safeguard the health and welfare of the deer themselves. BDS policy is to undertake and fund pure and applied research projects aiming to scientifically explore and understand deer, and the issues they create for people.
Traditionally, the Society has funded research within the natural sciences (mainly biology). However, as research becomes increasingly multi- and inter-disciplinary, we will fund a wide range of disciplines, including social sciences and humanities.
Topics for BDS research projects may be;
a) identified by the Society as meeting its policy objectives and offered as a research
contract through open tender or to a limited number of potential contractors,
b) proposed by a third party as i) aligning with the Society’s objectives and ii) meeting one or more of the current fundamental themes.*
* While, to be successful, an application for funding should normally meet both the objectives and fundamental themes test, it does not preclude applications seeking funding for projects that do not meet these criteria, but which are otherwise within the remit and/or interests of the Society.
b. Fundamental themes
Research proposals and funding applications from third parties should relate to one or more of the following themes:
- Deer impact on the environment and human interests
- Impact of humans on deer including welfare and disturbance
- The role of deer in livestock and human diseases
- Urban deer: problems caused and problems associated with management
- Novel methods of controlling impacts of deer
- Ways of improving the welfare impacts of culling wild deer
- Responses of deer and their habitat to climate change
- Research to help combat wildlife crime
- The community carrying capacity of deer
c. Types of support available
Researchers can apply for funding under three headings:
Small grants of up to £3000 are available for projects of up to 12 months duration. Such grants can support delivery of research by amateur volunteers or professional researchers whose salaries are covered elsewhere. Funds can cover consumables, equipment, travel and subsistence, but not salaries, wages or stipends.
Support grants of up to £5000 per year for up to three years. Grants may cover consumables, equipment, travel and subsistence, and may be suitable for supplementary support of research funded by additional supporters and including expeditions that include a significant component of deer research.
Student support grants of up to £7500 per year for up to two years for MSc by research or MPhil, and up to three years for PhD. All costs associated with the project are eligible for support, including stipend. However, the maximum amount is unlikely to cover all annual costs of a studentship, so evidence of additional financial support will needed to qualify for support from the Society.
In all cases, equipment purchased using a BDS grant will remain the property of the Society unless agreed otherwise by the Board in writing.