Professional Development Grants





EFN has awarded more than 1,300 grants to mid-career professionals to build local capacity in their home countries.

Professional Development Grants (PDGs) provide support for mid-career conservationists to pursue short-term, non-degree training to upgrade their knowledge and skills through short courses, workshops, symposiums, conferences, and professional exchanges.

Click here to view eligibility criteria and to learn how to apply for Professional Development Grant opportunities.


Celebrating 25 Years of Conservation Success

In 1994, the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program was created at WWF to offer financial and educational support to the next generation of international conservation leaders. A look back:
Illustrated portrait of Illa Shrestha

Why It Matters

  • Professional Development Grants

    Professional Development Grants provide support for mid-career conservationists to pursue short-term, non-degree training to upgrade their knowledge and skills. These grants provide the tools necessary for professionals to advance in their careers and improve local capacity in their home countries.

  • Russell E. Train Fellowships

    Russell E. Train Fellowships support individuals pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in conservation. Today’s conservation challenges are more complex than ever before and require advanced skills and knowledge to tackle pressing issues from climate change and deforestation to wildlife crime and rights-based fisheries management. EFN program provides fellowships to rising leaders to address these global challenges. To date, more than 90 percent of EFN fellows are working to advance conservation efforts in their home countries.

  • Alumni Grants

    Alumni Grants support ongoing education, training, and research opportunities for former Russell E. Train Fellows, Russell E. Train Scholars, and Professional Development Grant recipients who have completed the terms of their WWF grant contract and meet all of the eligibility criteria necessary to be considered for a grant.

  • Reforestation Grants

    Reforestation Grants support local organizations engaged in reforestation projects throughout the tropics. When carefully planned, forest restoration activities can provide environmental services to the local community and develop new habitats in formerly bare areas. These grants support activities that aim to regain ecological integrity and enhance human wellbeing in deforested or degraded forest landscapes.

What WWF Is Doing

25th Anniversary

This year marks the 25th anniversary of EFN. To date, the program has invested more than $22 million to support over 2,700 individuals and organizations from 57 countries around the world.

Anniversary Logo

Providing Critical Funding for Local Conservationists

Many conservationists from local and regional organizations find it difficult to obtain funding to attend courses, conferences, and short trainings. According to past grant recipients, Professional Development Grants helped cover more than 70 percent of course or conference attendance costs  including travel, tuition, and material expenses. Eighty-five percent of past recipients also reported that they would have been unable to pursue these opportunities without EFN support. EFN funding is essential to improving local capacity and giving deserving conservationists the opportunity to obtain new skills and explore important professional opportunities.

Developing Institutional Capacity

An important part of EFN’s mission is to build institutional capacity. All PDG applicants have the support of their organization to obtain these essential skills and be guaranteed continual employment upon return from the course. EFN knows that building capacity is not enough; employment opportunities are also a critical part of building momentum behind conservation initiatives. By integrating institutional needs within the application process, EFN hopes to create this connection by funding individuals while also supporting larger institutional capacity needs.


  • Mr. Russell E. Train and Education for Nature (EFN)

    Remembering Mr. Russell E. Train, founder, past president, and past chairman emeritus passed away on September 17, 2012 at the age of 92.

  • Photos from Camera Traps in Ecuador

    In 2006, Ecuadorian conservationist Santiago Espinosa received a Russell E. Train Fellowship from WWF’s Education for Nature Program (EFN) to conduct research in wildlife ecology. Santiago’s research involved spending long periods of time in the Amazonian rainforest. He captured photos that highlight the spectacular wildlife that lives in Yasuní National Park.