St Helena Cloud Forest Restoration Research Bursary

The St Helena Research Institute (SHRI) is seeking to attract research proposals from international researchers that will help meet the conservation of biodiversity objectives in The Peaks National Park Conservation Management Plan2019-2024and its corresponding implementation plan Restoring St Helena’s Internationally Important Cloud Forest for Water Security & Wildlife (2021-2026)Specifically, objective 3a3 –  Research, data gathering and training is carried out to inform and maximise the effectiveness of restoration and management techniques. With a specific focus on filling knowledge gaps.

Current research gaps identified include:

  • Understanding the composition and ecology of epiphytic communities; bryophytes & lichens
  • Assessing the role and impact of non native plant species in conservation and integrity of ecological services
  • Assessing the impact of rodents on conservation and integrity of ecological services
  • Understanding the role of non native species in supporting conservation, ecological services and integrity
  • Pollinator identification and behavioural studies for plants of the Peaks, including non native species such as honey bees
  • Developing citizen science and long term monitoring programmes for climate change impact studies
  • Risk assessments of prioritised and emerging invasive non native species
  • Taxonomic and genetic studies of endemic invertebrates
  • Study of the costs and benefits of Ramsar status for the cloud forest
  • Study to identify other potential international designations their costs and benefits
  • Mapping and interpreting the cultural heritage features of the Peaks
  • Valuing peaks species and the ecosystem services they support

We will also welcome applications addressing other knowledge gaps, as long as they meet the objectives of the Peaks National Park Conservation Management Plan.

SHRI invites research proposals from researchers and the winning entry will be awarded a £2,500 research bursary to contribute to the costs of conducting the study. The competition is open to individual researchers and could form part of studies for a Masters or Doctorate. Researchers must be associated with an academic institution or organisation, as a registered student, employee or associate. Studies may require field work on St Helena or could be conducted remotely depending on their subject matter. Remote studies for example could include identification and study of St Helena cloud forest species held in Museum herbaria and entomological collections. Partnership approaches with on-Island organisations are encouraged.

Research proposals should be submitted using the SHRI application form and will need to set out clearly:
· The lead applicant’s name, organisation or institution and contact details and
names and organisations of other partners and collaborators who will be
involved in the study
· Proposed start date and duration of project
· The aims and methodology of the proposed research

· The intended outcomes and how the outcomes of the proposed research
will support the Peaks Management Plan and inform restoration and management techniques, including any local capacity building or public engagement activities
· Potential social and environmental impacts and the mitigation measures you propose

The closing date for proposals has been extended and will need to reach SHRI by 11.59pm (GMT) on 14 January 2022.

Proposals will be reviewed by the St Helena Cloud Forest Steering Committee and the St Helena Research Council.  The research proposal which is considered to best support objectives of the Peaks Management Plan and meets the Research Council criteria will be awarded the bursary. For a hard copy of an application form, to enquire about possible study ideas or for further information and advice please contact:

24 December 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470