The Schmink Innovation Award seeks to ensure the long-term impact of the Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program around the world by catalyzing new ideas and innovative approaches and by enabling shared learning throughout the tropics. This new TCD award is funded by an endowment that honors Dr. Marianne Schmink for her extraordinary contributions to conservation and development and her long-term leadership of the TCD Program. Award winners will receive up to $1,200 to implement their ideas.

The goal of the Schmink Innovation Award is to support the development and application of innovative approaches and programs that address human well-being, economic development, and biodiversity conservation of tropical and subtropical regions. TCD defines innovation as a novel approach, idea, or practice that holds promise to be a more effective way of achieving results. This innovative approach is not “business as usual” nor is it innovative simply because it is “new”. Rather, it is innovative because it tackles complex conservation and development problems in fundamentally different ways than have been tried before. We envision the Schmink Innovation Award as a mechanism to empower the creative process and application of innovative approaches to advancing tropical conservation and development.

We are particularly interested in supporting innovations that enable shared learning. Schmink Innovation Awards are expected to complement TCD’s on-going successful campus and field-based activities. Successful proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • New initiatives to build capacity and/or kick off collaborative research
  • Networking activities between TCD alumni, students, and partners to exchange ideas and instill further collaboration
  • Extensions or applications of research to address concrete practical and policy challenges

Some recently funded Innovation projects

  • 2016: Ana Luiza Violato Espada and Natalie Cooper, PhDs SFRC and their partners; “Innovation to promote information exchange and reflection of timber management and extractive reserves in Acre.
  • 2014: Sebastian Palmas Perez, PhD SFRC, “Participatory Modelling for Capacity Building and Policy Change Discussion with the Community Forests of the Maya Forest.
  • 2013: Anand Roopsind, PhD Biology and his partners, UF REDD+ Adaptation Working Group and the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development; “Identifying the drivers of  ‘forest degradation’ from logging in REDD+ landscapes using Agent-Based Modeling.”
  • 2012: Maria Checa Villafuerte, PhD SNRE & MDP; “Feasibility of butterfly farming initiatives as a viable tool for sustainable development.”
  • 2012: Dr. Robert Buschbacher, SFRC; “An innovative University-NGO partnership for leadership training.”

Criteria for selection

  • Innovation: Demonstrates novel and creative approaches
  • Relevance: Relevant to tropical conservation and development issues
  • Impact: Holds promise to instigate change or be potentially transformative
  • Potential: Opportunity exists for replication and adaptation by others


  • TCD faculty, students, alumni, or partners are eligible to apply for the award.
  • Proposals are reviewed and ranked by an interdisciplinary committee that includes UF faculty and TCD alumni or partners with expertise in conservation and development issues.
  • A TCD student may be a Principal Investigator (PI) on only one Schmink Innovation Award per degree program. Student co-PIs are encouraged.
  • This award is not intended to support Master’s or Ph.D. research (see the TCD field research grants web page for more information)
  • Preference will be given to applicants who are associated with UF’s TCD program.

Application Requirements

  • A completed application form
  • A completed budget form
  • Curriculum Vitae (limit to 3 pages) of Principal Investigator(s)
  • A proposal limited to 5 single-spaced pages in length, not including the bibliography and clearly specifying the activities to be conducted as part of the award, including:
  • Description of anticipated products of the collaboration
  • The qualifications of the individual or team
  • Reason why these activities are innovative

Application Deadline: November 20, 2017

Electronic submission required

  • Please send documents as single PDF
  • Required documents in the same order as listed above


Patricia Sampaio
Program Coordinator
343 Grinter Hall