Deadline: 15 May 2024

Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, the MAB programme is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide, because well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues. The MAB Young Scientists awards can grant up to US$ 5,000 to young researchers in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. They were created in 1989.

The MAB Young Scientists Awards targets young researchers carrying out interdisciplinary research in line with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Priority is given to projects carried out in biosphere reserves. Until 2025, implementation of the UNESCO MAB Programme is guided by the MAB Strategy and Lima Action Plan (LAP) for UNESCO’s MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), which contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). MAB Young Scientists Award applicants are strongly encouraged to take into account the priorities of the LAP, and to identify in their applications how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs.

Since 2022, the MAB YSA Scheme has received support from the Principality of Monaco enabling five additional annual fellowships specifically benefitting studies on marine, island and coastal issues in biosphere reserves.

This generous support reinforces the contribution of the MAB Programme towards the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Around the world, more than 200 coastal, island and marine biosphere reserves make a crucial contribution to the Decade by promoting the integrated conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems with sustainable human development supported by research and knowledge exchange. The MAB Programme’s World Network of Islands and Coastal Biosphere Reserves plays a particular global coordinating role in this regard, mobilizing island and coastal biosphere reserves in support of the UN Decade.


The MAB Young Scientists Award Scheme aims to:

  • encourage young scientists, in particular those from developing countries, to use MAB research, project sites and biosphere reserves in their research;
  • encourage young scientists who already use such sites to undertake comparative studies in other sites in or outside their own country;
  • promote and encourage the exchange of information and experience among a new generation of scientists;
  • strengthen communication of the LAP within the young scientists and strengthen its visibility;
  • involve young scientists in the implementation of the LAP;
  • enhance awareness among young scientists of the role of research in the implementation of the SDGs – in particular when conducted in biosphere reserves;
  • through the granting of dedicated fellowships for studies on marine, island and coastal issues in biosphere reserves, encourage young scientists to apply for MAB YSA within this thematic area and thereby mobilizing young scientists to engage actively in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.


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