We're pleased to report that we received an overwhelmingly positive response to the Community Reef Protection Grants Stage 1: Reef Citizen Science. The assessment process is currently underway and announcements will be made in mid-March 2019.

Activating citizen science projects to collect and communicate information on Reef health

Summer can increase the levels of potential Reef disturbance events, including coral bleaching, flooding and cyclones. Citizen science can complement research and management efforts to collect and share information on Reef health.

This grant program will enable community-led projects focused on collecting, analysing, sharing and utilising citizen science information relevant to Reef heath. Investment will be targeted at organisations with demonstrated experience in reef citizen science and community engagement.

Under the Grant Guidelines, projects must collect citizen science data on the condition of coral reefs and associated ecosystems (such as mangroves, and seagrass) in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to build understanding about the state, impacts, recovery of habitats and the status of key indicator species. Grants are aimed at supporting organisations:

  •  who are collecting data that contributes to existing citizen science programs on the Great Barrier Reef
  • can mobilise projects during summer 2019 and continue for up to a two-year time period
  • have clear strategy regarding helping communities engage
  • have the capacity and willingness to share Reef health information to the wider community.

A total of up to $700,000 will be made available through grants of $50,000 - $100,000 and applications must be collaborative in nature, with a minimum of two delivery partners.

You can access the online application form here. To assist you in drafting your response, a copy of the application form in Word is available here

We will publish all responses to queries about the grant round below in the FAQs. Updates will be made as any common queries are received.

“It takes a whole raft of people from different walks of life to keep an eye on the Reef, from Traditional Owners, rangers, and tourism operators to community groups who regularly collect and communicate information on the condition of the Reef.”

GBRF Managing Director Anna Marsden

About the Community Grants

The partnership between the Australian Government and the GBRF is centred on a landmark investment of $443.3 million to build the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the largest single government investment in protecting the Reef and its Outstanding Universal Value. Over six years, this investment will support delivery of the Reef Trust Partnership with project implementation from 2019.

The partnership includes an investment of $10 million towards activities to improve the engagement of the broader community in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This contributes to the Reef 2050 Plan, which seeks to support an informed community that plays a role in protecting the Reef for current and future generations.

This round of grants relates to the Community Reef Protection component of the Reef Trust Partnership. Grant applications are open to reef-community citizen science groups with data collection experience and the ability to mobilise quickly. All projects must be ready to commence no later than April 2019 and can run for up to two years.

A second round of community grants is planned for later in 2019.



Find out more

Send your questions to grants@barrierreef.org


Why is the minimum grant amount $50,000?

The larger grant size has been selected to allow groups to support larger scale and broader coverage of projects, to encourage collaborative partnerships between groups and to extend project activities over two years if required.

Why is the call for applications only open in January?

This first round of grants for the community Reef protection component of the Reef Trust Partnership was developed to support projects that can help to increase the temporal and spatial scale of information available about Reef health. The grants are being launched in summer acknowledging that summer can bring increased floods, cyclones and ocean heatwaves, that can impact the Reef and that citizen science can help support strengthened data collection, communication and management outcomes. A second community grant round is being planned for later in 2019. 

What types of activities are eligible?

Projects funded through this grant program must meet the following guidelines: 

  • provide opportunities for engagement of the broader community in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area through citizen science activities 
  • maintain or build on on-ground delivery capacity for an existing provider with demonstrated experience to deliver on key grant program activities and outcomes, as well as actions relevant to the Reef 2050 Plan which are grounded in robust science 
  • collect data that contributes to and/or builds on existing best-practice citizen science programs operating within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which enhance critical understanding about the state and recovery of coral reefs and associated ecosystems (such as mangroves, and seagrass), and/or marine diversity information (with a focus on reef health indicator species). 
  • commence by April 2019, with a proposed project duration of up to 2 years to contribute time sensitive information about Reef health, in particular Reef health stressors and recovery 
  • demonstrate meaningful partnerships to maximise outcomes – must have a minimum of two collaborative partners contributing to the project 
  • have clear strategy on how to use and report on information, and how to help communities meaningfully engage with information Projects which provide engagement pathways for Traditional Owners and youth (25 and under) and seek to identify opportunities for external ongoing project funding are encouraged. 

What would be considered a collaborative application?

Partners must genuinely contribute value to the project. Partner contributions may vary, but may include delivery of services/activities, provision of knowledge/expertise, or processing/applying information. Applications submitted by the project lead applicant must include a minimum of one other project partner. There is no maximum limit for project partners.

What project locations are eligible?

Data collection activities must take place in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Outreach, education and engagement activities may be broader in relevant geographic area.

Who is eligible to apply?

Detailed eligibility criteria are listed in the grant guidelines. Acknowledging that there are many types of organisations that may work on citizen science projects, many types of organisations are eligible. This may include include community groups, tourism operators, universities, government agencies and other entities that can demonstrate experience in delivering relevant activities. Note that activities deemed to be of a commercial nature that do not represent a direct public benefit for the broader community will not be eligible for funding. 

Do you have a word version of the application form available to draft our application prior to submitting our application?

Yes a word version of the application form is available here. Please ensure your final application is submitted through the online portal.

Can the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef citizen science program be used for projects?

There is no mandated citizen science program for use under the Community Reef Protection Grants. Your grant application should detail your approach to data needs, collection, analysis, use and communication, as per the grant guidelines.

If you intend to use the Eye on the Reef Program, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has advised that you should make contact with them at eyeonthereef@gbrmpa.gov.au to discuss your proposal, prior to submitting your grant application.

More information about using Eye on the Reef is available from GBRMPA’s website by clicking here.

What if my insurance and WHS policies and procedures are being reviewed and updated and may not be finalised before the grant due date?

The Grant Guidelines require that you “hold or be willing to hold the required insurance”. If you are in the process of renewing your insurances, it is suitable to provide copies of your most recently held insurances and indicate that if your grant application is successful, you will arrange for the appropriate levels of insurance to be held prior to signing a Grant Agreement. 

If you are currently revising WHS policies and procedures, you supply the WHS documents that you have in place (current state, even in draft) and detail when any documents/systems will be in place. If your grant application is successful, we will make an assessment on whether the systems you have in place are appropriate to the risk exposure (ie. are the activities delivered under the contract high risk? e.g diving work). If the grant application is successful, you would need to have any WHS systems in place prior to signing a contract.