Professional Development Grants

UPDATE: In light of recent safety concerns and travel restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, EFN is only accepting applications for trainings, conferences, or research-related activities that are accessible online or available locally for the February 1, 2021 deadline. Please review the updated guidelines below.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email EFN at [email protected].


Professional Development Grants (PDGs) provide support for mid-career conservationists to pursue short-term, non-degree training to upgrade their knowledge and skills. This training can include short courses, certificate training, or conferences among other training opportunities.

EFN has adjusted the February 1, 2021 application cycle to support online programs and locally based courses only. Grants will be awarded up to US$2,000 based on program requirements.

View PDF Guidelines

Russell E. Train Education for Nature


Individuals from the following countries are eligible to apply. Please note that within the eligible countries EFN gives preference to applicants working in WWF priority regions.

  • Belize
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Colombia
  • Dem. Republic of Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Fiji
  • French Guiana
  • Gabon
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Laos
  • Madagascar
  • Malaysia
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Republic of Congo
  • Solomon Islands
  • Suriname
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia



Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria to be considered for a grant. Specific eligibility criteria for the February 1, 2021 deadline is included below. Please confirm you meet all eligibility requirements before applying. Approval of online or locally based trainings and conferences is up to the discretion of EFN.

  • You must be a citizen of an eligible country.
  • You must currently be living and working in your home country.
  • You must have at least three years of paid work experience in a conservation-related field in your home country.
  • You must have applied to or already be accepted to participate in the proposed training at the time you submit your application.
  • Your current work and proposed training must help advance conservation in your home country.
  • You must not be enrolled in an academic degree program. Virtual courses that are part of a university degree program or online degree are not eligible.
  • You must have approval from your employer to participate in the proposed training and the promise of continued employment.
  • You must have a bank account in your own name that can receive US dollars and international wire transfers.
  • You must not have received funding from EFN in the past. Previous PDG recipients may be eligible for Alumni Grants.
  • The proposed training must take place at least 60 days after the application deadline.
  • You must submit all required documents by the application deadline.

Additional Criteria for February 1, 2021 Deadline

  • Only trainings and conferences that are available online or are locally based are eligible. Locally based courses are eligible if they require limited travel and follow national COVID-19 restrictions. 
  • Trainings and conferences must be offered through an accredited institution. 
  • If the proposed training requires an application, you must have already applied to or be accepted to participate at the time you submit your application.
  • Courses must be completed no later than November 1, 2021.
  • For online trainings or conferences, applicants must have a stable internet connection for coursework and a computer. 
  • For online trainings or conferences, applicants must meet the minimum requirements designated by their course.
  • For online trainings or conferences, priority will be given to courses with a defined start and end date or “live sessions”.

Courses and expenses that will NOT be eligible:

  • Online courses that are part of a university degree program or online degree are not eligible.
  • EFN will not fund in-person trainings or travel that occurs outside the applicant's home country.
  • Entirely free courses with NO associated fees will not be considered.
  • EFN will NOT cover the cost of a computer purchase.


All applicants must complete an application by one of the deadlines noted below. The proposed training must take place at least 60 days after the application deadline to allow EFN time for review, selection, and processing of the grant.

  • February 1, 2021 - ONLINE or local trainings/conferences only
  • May 1, 2021
  • August 1, 2021
  • November 1, 2021

Individuals may submit an online application at any time. Completed applications will be reviewed on the dates noted above, and applicants will be notified of the results within one month after the application deadline.

For the February 1, 2021 deadline, the following costs will be considered at the discretion of the EFN program: registration fees and tuition for virtual trainings and conferences, required books, required materials (e.g. headphones, computer camera, notebooks), required temporary licenses (e.g. GIS, excel), limited travel within home country, and Wi-Fi costs.

Employer Approval Form

EFN requires employer approval for all PDG applicants. Due to the effects of COVID-19, EFN may adjust this requirement based on special circumstances. Unique cases will be reviewed on an individual basis and must receive approval from EFN. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please email [email protected].

The process for submitting the employer form is explained below:

  • Applicants will put the email address of their supervisor in their application.
  • Once the applicant submits their completed application, their supervisor will receive an automatic email requesting an employer approval document to be uploaded. This document’s responses will be used during the review process.
  • Employers can use this template for ease of filling out the required information. They will then need to save the completed document and click the upload link in the email they received.
  • Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until after the employer approval form is uploaded.



For more information on Professional Development Grants please review the frequently asked questions document. For other questions, please e-mail us at [email protected].

For information on WWF's Prince Bernhard Scholarships supporting academic degrees and short-term trainings, please visit the WWF Prince Bernhard Scholarship website.