Project information

Field Studies Council Young Darwin Scholarship

The Young Darwin Scholarships provides long term support and opportunities for young people who have a keen interest in the natural world. To nurture their interest and build knowledge and skills – developing the next generation of biodiversity experts the ‘Darwin’ or ‘Attenborough’ of the future

August 2014 - December 2019

Charity information

Field Studies Council

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  • Need


    Young people who have a specific interest in biodiversity have limited opportunities to develop their knowledge. They can feel isolated in their interest and need support and encouragement especially as they make career and education choices. There is evidence of a lack of practical identification and field skills following university or further education so there is a need to widen the depth and breadth of provision to increase understanding and to fill the gap in skills required by employers.


    Award 15 scholarships each year for 16 and 17 year olds. Provide ongoing support and opportunities over a period of five years to develop skills, knowledge and proficiency to help encourage and develop their interest. The combination of residential training courses, visits and building an online community should nurture and increase interest helping with education and career choices resulting in individuals who are competent and committed to biodiversity whether as a career or hobby.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Award Young Darwin Scholarships to 15 young people aged 16 -17 each year


    » Promote the scholarship widely throughout the UK to encourage applicants with general or specific interests in the natural world and biodiversity
    » Start the scholarship with 5 day introductory residential course to build relationships, increase skills and knowledge and develop areas of interest
    » Continue to support the cohort and each scholar following the residential to build a sense of belonging and to encourage future activities

    Receipt of applications from suitably interested young people to be able to award 15 scholarships. Scholars attend and actively participate in the 5 day residential

    Aim 2

    Provide ongoing training and support for Young Darwin Scholars (YDS) to develop skills and knowledge


    » Organise visits, courses and access to specialists to support and encourage each YDS for up to 5 years - helping to establish their interest/career
    » Use reunions and social media to link build a network of YDS to encourage, motivate and support each other - develop lasting relationships
    » Develop links with biodiversity experts who are willing so mentor and support YDS e.g. in career development, identification and biological recording

    YDS will engage with opportunities and participate in further activities and training offered as their interest and skills develop over a number of years. Network of YDS created

  • Impact


    The project will create a network of like minded young people and a generation of individuals who are actively involved in biodiversity.

    Success will be monitored by the number of scholarships awarded and the young people’s level of engagement over a period of years. We will seek feedback from scholars and monitor their progress through further/higher education into the workplace. Success will be active engagement for 3 years and recognition of the value of the scholarship by the sector.


    There is a risk that we do not get suitable applicants. We will mitigate by ensuring that we promote the opportunity widely including through the schools and environmental organisations that we work closely with.


    Donors will receive two updates a year giving details of the scholarships awarded in that year and also the progress of individual scholars. High level donors will have the opportunity to meet the scholars once a year. The FSC website will be updated regularly.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £104,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £35,000 Introductory residentialnetial 5 day resdential for 15 young peopl for the 5 years of the project
      £43,000 Follow up courses and reunionn Cost of specialist courses and subsidies to attend other training and events for 5 years
      £26,000 Admin and Management Adminsitration, management and evaluation of the project

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Jean Jackson Trust £10,000 Guaranteed
    Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland £2,500 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project will mainly take place at FSC Centres throughout the UK many of which are in iconic locations rich in biodiversity such as the mountains of Snowdonia or the Lake District or the dramatic coastlines of west Wales and Devon. The introductory residential for each year will be at FSC Preston Montford which is near Shrewsbury – the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Other opportunities will include behind the scenes visits to the Natural History Museum in London and other key places.


    The project will be open to applications from any 16 or 17 year old in the UK who can demonstrate that they have a strong interest in the natural world which they wish to develop. Award of the scholarship will be on merit of the application.

    In the wider sense the environmental sector will benefit as there will be a cohort of individuals with a developing knowledge and skills ensuring there will be a next generation of biodiversity experts.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    FSC is one of the leading providers of taxonomic and biodiversity training and also provides high quality geography and biology fieldwork for schools. We have over 70 years experience of providing safe and high quality training at our UK wide network of centres. We also have strong links with biodiversity experts and environmental organisations meaning that we are well placed to provide suitable training, support and opportunities for the scholars.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Adrian Pickles

    Head of FSC Preston Montford and a creative educator Adrian supports and helps the scholars discover biodiversity and widen their interest.

    Cathy Preston

    Cathy manages the project, is committed to encouraging and supporting the YDS and acts as the main point of contact for all involved.

    Sue Townsend

    Sue is FSC Biodiversity learning manager and provides vital support for the project helping to identify training opportunities and links


supports one Young Darwin Scholar

There are so few opportunities for young people who are interested in the natural world and YDS encourages and supports them - it fills a gap

Wildlife Trust