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The Gilson Le Cren Memorial Award

This award, formerly the Hugh Cary Gilson Memorial Award, honours the memory of two former Directors of the FBA - Hugh Cary Gilson (Director, 1946-73) and David Le Cren (Director, 1973-1983). The award is made annually to assist a Member with a piece of original freshwater research (biological or limnological) in accordance with the FBA's aims as stated in its Articles of Association.

The maximum award value is £4000.

Application is open to FBA Members in good standing who joined the FBA on or before 1 May in the previous calendar year. Members include Corporate, Individual, Student, Life or Honorary. Recipients of the award in the previous 10 years are not eligible to re-apply. For this year’s award Members should have joined on or before 1 May 2016. (Membership Information)

The award is advertised in FBA's internal publications and in external publications of relevance. For this year’s award, please submit your application (see format details below) between 15 August and 15 September 2016 to email: The award will be paid in full in February 2017.

Terms and Conditions

Applicants are required to submit an exposition of no more than three A4 pages, to include:

bosmina  Applicant details: name, FBA membership no., contact details (including email), and institution (if different to contact details).

bosmina  The proposed work: title, brief summary of the purpose to which the funding will be put (50 word max.), where the work will be carried out, outline of the proposed work (including, as appropriate, the context, rationale, aims and objectives, hypotheses, work plan/approach, timetable), and anticipated outcomes.

bosmina  Personnel: names of principal investigator/researcher and co-workers.

bosmina  Budget: total funds applied for as well as a breakdown of how the money will be spent, and details of any funding from other sources.

bosmina  Bibliographic references cited in the above.

bosmina  Applicants should also confirm that the proposed work complies with all legal requirements, and that (if the application has more than one worker) all co-workers have seen and approved the application.

Applicants may provide, as an appendix, a maximum of two pages summarising the track-record of key workers and their respective contribution to the proposed work.

The application should be submitted as a single PDF file, using 2-cm margins and 11-point Arial font. Each page of the application should have a footer giving the name of the principal applicant, a running title and 'Page x of x'.

Please note that the FBA's Guidelines on Good Practice in Research apply to all FBA grants and awards.  A copy can be downloaded below. 

FBA Guidelines on Good Practice in Research – PDF-File, 36.9 KB

Judging criteria

The successful application should meet all of the following criteria:

bosmina  The proposed work should be consistent with the Mission and Vision of the FBA.

bosmina  If fundamental investigative research, the proposed work embraces a clear testable hypothesis or relates directly to a larger ongoing or recent research project that embraces such a hypothesis.

bosmina  The work is identifiable as being relevant to freshwater biology.

bosmina  The proposed approach is scientifically sound.

bosmina  The proposed approach has a reasonable chance of succeeding.

bosmina  The proposed work is reasonably and objectively costed.

(Note: Where the work forms part of a larger project, supplementing existing resources, the criteria apply to the part to be funded by the FBA. The application should state explicitly why funding is required from the FBA in such cases.)

The FBA encourages novel and exciting applications, which support promising or proven talent.

Preference may be given to applications:

bosmina  that fall outside the scope of other funding sources; and/or

bosmina  where the proposed work uses FBA research facilities, and/or exploits the historic databases and collections of the FBA, and/or helps to deliver the Association's objectives.

[Terms & Conditions and Judging Criteria updated 2 October 2014.]

Previous Winners:

The 2015 Gilson Le Cren Memorial Award has been awarded to Mark Stevenson, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, for his proposal entitled “Variability in Arctic lake carbon processing during the Holocene along a landscape gradient: lipid biomarker records from Disko Island, West Greenland”. The funding will be used for the analysis of lipid biomarkers on sediment cores and catchment samples from Disko Island, West Greenland to complement an ongoing PhD project investigating the role of Arctic lakes in carbon processing, across a landscape gradient.

In 2014, the award was made to Iliana Bista, a PhD student at Bangor University, for her proposal entitled “Understanding the ecological relevance and temporal persistence of community freshwater environmental DNA in a natural lake ecosystem”. With biologists and stakeholders now using "free" environmental DNA (eDNA) for community assessment, the funding is being used to investigate the annual association between living community DNA and emergent eDNA in a sentinel group (Chironomidae) in Llyn Padarn in north Wales.

In 2013, the award was made to Dr Sara Rassner (Aberystwyth University), for her proposal entitled "CRYOCHYTRID: are fungi the missing links in High Arctic freshwater food webs?" The funding was used to detail food webs (of Cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, microeukaryotes and meiofauna) and biogeochemical cycling in meltwater pools on glacier surfaces, and specifically to elucidate the role of enigmatic fungi in the food web dynamics of High Arctic glaciers. It thus advanced our understanding of newly-recognised freshwater cryoconite ecosystems.

HCG Award 13 - PDF-File, 265 KB

In 2012, the award was made to Rachael Carrie, a PhD student from Lancaster Environment Centre, for her proposal entitled "The development of freshwater bioassessment in Belize, Central America". The award contributed towards fieldwork in Belize, to collect data for use in the future development of a reference-condition type predictive model for neotropical stream bioassessment.

HCG Award 12 - PDF-File, 585 KB

In 2011, the award was made to Chris Hassall (Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada) for his proposal entitled "Ottawa's ponds as an open-air laboratory for research into urban ecology". Chris used the funding to examine the value of urban wetlands as a biodiversity resource in built-up areas, comparing the urban and rural ponds in Ottawa and investigating which variables correlate with diversity.  Download the report below:

HCG Award 11 - PDF-File, 506 KB 

In 2010 the award was made to Louis Kitchen (BTCV Natural Talent Riverfly Apprentice) for his proposal entitled "Is the upland summer mayfly (Ameletus inopinatus) in hot water?" The award contributed towards research into the effects of climate change on the upland summer mayfly A.inopinatus - the only arctic-alpine species of Ephemeroptera recorded from the British Isles.  Download the report below:

HCG Award 10 - PDF-File, 4322 KB

In 2009 the award was made to Suzanne McGowan of the University of Nottingham, for her proposal entitled "Comparing limnological and palaeolimnological records at Windermere". The award funded the collection, dating and pigment analysis of sediment cores from the North and South basins of Windermere, to compare with the phytoplankton monitoring records collected since 1945 by the FBA the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH Lancaster).  Download the report below:

HCG Award 09 - PDF-File, 172KB

In 2008 the award was made to Jorge Salgado of the Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London in conjunction with the Natural History Museum, London.  The Gilson award funded two field expeditions to the Upper Lough Erne system in Northern Ireland, to undertake contemporary surveys of macrophytes, chironomids and bryozoans as well as taking sediment cores for paleolimnological analysis. The work formed part of Jorge's PhD project, which aimed to characterise the historical ecology of shallow lakes that vary in trophic status by gathering palaeo-data for lakes of the Upper Lough Erne system. Download the report below: 

HCG Award 08 – PDF-File, 118.5 KB

The 2007 award was made to Dr Brian Moss of the University of Liverpool and helped towards the funding of a student over the summer period to investigate "Climatic Change and the Metabolic Balance of Shallow Fresh Waters". Download the report below:

HCG Award 07 – PDF-File, 15.6 KB

In 2006 the award was made to Vasilias Lucas of the University of Durham and was used to help finance a field trip to the Gambia. Download the report below:

HCG Award 06 – PDF-File, 138.7 KB

In 2005 the award was made to Dr Lydia King of the University of Lancaster and was used to develop knowledge of littoral-pelagic coupling in a lake carbon cycle as part of a collaborative project with the University of Jyväskylä and Queen Mary University London. Fieldwork was undertaken in Finland. Download the report below: 

HCG Award 05 – PDF-File, 1.5 MB

In 2004 the award was made to Prof. Beth Okamura and Samantha Hill of the University of Reading, to support work on the rare bryozoan Lophopus crystallinus. Download the report below:

HCG Award 04 – PDF-File, 833.1 KB

In 2003 the award was made to Min-Ho Jang from South Korea, to extend his work on lampreys with Martyn Lucas at the University of Durham. Download the report below: 

HCG Award 03 – PDF-File, 108.6 KB

In 2002 the award was made to María de los Ángeles González Sagrario – a PhD student from the Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Argentina. María's PhD has been on the ecological role of submerged macrophytes in shallow Pampasic lakes. The Hugh Cary Gilson Memorial Award enabled her to complete part of her project which had been jeopordised by the financial collapse of the Argentinian currency, this being a supervised term of six months to be carried out at the Centre for Limnology in the Netherlands and the National Environmental Research Institute in Denmark. Download the report below.

HCG Award 02 – PDF-File, 117.1 KB

In 2001 the very first award was made to Dr Mike Dobson from Environmental and Geographical Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. In collaboration with Professor J.M. Mathooko, Department of Zoology at Egerton University, Kenya, Mike investigated whether invertebrate shredder detritivores were a significant component of tropical streams. Download the report below:

HCG Award 01 – PDF-File, 86.1 KB

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