In 2021, financial help from the Sigrid Rausing Foundation allowed the Macedonian Ecological Society to not only maintain, but also update its highly appreciated and widely important programme for support of young ecologists “d-r Ljupcho Melovski”. Besides supporting young (up to 26 years old) and inexperienced ecologists with one-year projects (“the small-grants call”), in 2021 we initiated an “intermediate-grants call” to support up to 30-years-old somewhat experienced ecologists (either through our small-grants program or coordination of other ecological projects) to perform higher quality ecological research projects during a two-year period. Applicants working on their graduate theses were encouraged to apply in order to finance and improve the quality of their research. Besides a longer time-scale and more available funding, the grantees of the intermediate-sized grants are expected to sum up their research into a manuscript that will be submitted to a scientific journal with an international editorial board by the end of their project. This newly established intermediate-grants call was the logical step forward in MES’ endeavor to significantly contribute to the creation of direly needed ecological capacities in the country.
The call for both granting schemes were posted on February 1st of 2021, with an application deadline set at March 1st for the small-grants and March 15th for the intermediate-grants. A total of eight projects were to be funded for the former and five for the latter by a preselected jury. The jury members were chosen by ecological merit (excellent research portfolios and PhDs, or at least candidates in their respective fields) and by the modern approaches in their research, which coincided with a younger cohort. We believe that new researchers and students in North Macedonia, such as our grantees, need the judgement and guidance of younger established scientists with contemporary approaches to both research and education, in contrast to the more traditional approaches often still taught at local universities.
After a strict and transparent ranking and judgement of the received applications (eight small grants- and seven intermediate grants-applications) the jury chose six successful small grants and four intermediate-grants. With three small-grants rolling over from last year due to the pandemic, a total of 13 projects (nine small and four intermediate) have started in 2021. Read more about the projects on the following links: