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Welcome to the Biodiversity Challenge Funds Home Page

This online application portal is for UK Government funded Biodiversity Challenge Funds the Darwin Initiative, Darwin Plus and the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. From this page, access your account to begin an application or continue working on an existing application – see the panels at the bottom of this page. You can only work on an application when the fund is open.

The Darwin Initiative

The Darwin Initiative supports developing countries to conserve biodiversity and reduce poverty. The Darwin Initiative provides grants for projects working to help developing countries meet their objectives under:

  • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
  • the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)
  • the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
  • the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
  • the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Darwin Plus

The aim of Darwin Plus is to help deliver long-term strategic outcomes for the natural environment in the UK Overseas Territories (OTs).  

Biodiversity in the OTs is globally significant, with the OTs boasting some of the world’s most delicate and complex ecosystems, and habitats containing many endemic species. It is estimated that the OTs contain an estimated 90% of the biodiversity found within the UK and the Territories combined. 

The fund achieves its objectives by supporting:

  • Darwin Plus Main: projects focused on environment issues in the UKOTs
  • Darwin Plus Local: a light-touch grant scheme for smaller-scale projects
  • Darwin Plus Strategic: for large-scaled projects, driving transformative change
  • Darwin Plus Fellowships: to support knowledge building for OT nationals that will contribute to achieving Darwin Plus objectives 

The IWT Challenge Fund

The UK Government is committed to helping to end the global scourge of the illegal wildlife trade.

As well as the devastating consequences for biodiversity and the environment, the illegal wildlife trade is a serious criminal industry worth billions of pounds, which damages local communities and undermines sustainable development in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The objective of the IWT Challenge Fund is to tackle the illegal wildlife trade of both fauna and flora and in doing so, to contribute to sustainable development in developing countries, through projects which address one, or more, of the following themes:

  • Reducing demand for IWT products
  • Ensuring effective legal frameworks
  • Strengthening law enforcement
  • Developing sustainable livelihoods to benefit people directly affected by IWT

Status of application rounds

Darwin Initiative

Main Projects Stage 1: Currently CLOSED. Closing date: Monday 3 July 2023

Main Projects Stage 2: Currently CLOSED. Access by invitation only. Closing date: Monday 27 November 2023

Extra Projects: Currently OPEN. Closing date: Monday 18 September 2023

Innovation Projects: Currently OPEN. Closing date: Monday 23 October 2023

Capability & Capacity Projects: Currently OPEN. Closing date: Monday 23 October 2023

Darwin Expert Committee Recruitment: Currently CLOSED. Closing date: Monday 1 May 2023

IWT Challenge Fund

Stage 1: Closing date: Monday 19 June 2023

Extra Projects Stage 1: Currently CLOSED.

Main Projects Stage 1: Currently CLOSED.

Evidence Projects Stage 1: Currently CLOSED.

Stage 2: Access by invitation only. Closing date: Monday 30 October 2023

Extra Projects Stage 2: Currently OPEN.

Evidence Projects Stage 2: Currently OPEN.

Main Projects Stage 2: Currently OPEN.

Darwin Plus (restricted to work in the UK Overseas Territories)

Main Projects Stage 1: Currently CLOSED. Closing date: Monday 31 May 2023

Main Projects Stage 2: Currently OPENAccess by invitation only. Closing date: Monday 2 October 2023

Fellowship Awards: OPEN. Closing date: Monday 2 October 2023

Local Projects: Currently CLOSED. Closing date:  Monday 26 June 2023

Strategic Projects: Currently CLOSED. Closing date: Monday 24 July 2023

There is specific Flexi-Grant guidance available. For all queries specifically related to the use of the Flexi-Grant system, please email: