Application process

How to apply?

The deadline for receipt of applications for the next Award is 30 November 2021, with the intention of granting the 2022 Award by the end of February 2022. The ITOPF R&D Coordinator will inform you by email if your proposal has been accepted in principle.

There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for the ITOPF R&D Award.

Further details coming soon...

Who can qualify?

The ITOPF R&D Award is open to any reputable R&D establishment or other organisation worldwide intending to fund a candidate (individual or project team) to undertake research.Applications are invited from all academic disciplines, although preference will be given to those with an applied scientific focus, such as marine biology, chemistry, ecology, physics, engineering and economics.


Each year up to £75,000 will be made available to fund R&D projects. The Award will be used to support a combination of PhD and short-term projects which have the potential to lead to improvements in spill preparation and response, as well as new techniques for monitoring and restoring environmental resources. 

For individual projects, funding is capped at the following levels:

Short-term projects - up to £60K

This can be spread over 1-2 years and can include research costs, staff costs and overheads, and travel expenses.

PhD research projects - up to £40K

This sum is provided for research costs in installments for the duration of the PhD. Additionally, a competitive annual stipend (living expenses) and contribution towards tuition fees are payable to the successful candidate each year for the duration of their research (up to 4 years). The exact amount awarded is dependent on the location of the institution where the research is undertaken.

What can the Award finance?

A full breakdown of the cost of the project must be included in the proposal.

i) The proposal may include permanent staff, and/or one or more junior researchers recruited for the research.

ii) The time to be spent on the project by the permanent staff, including overhead and management costs, but excluding profit.

iii) Project equipment/hardware costs, eg materials, laboratory costs, equipment hire etc.

iv) Any required travel expenses and consumable items, at cost.

The ITOPF R&D Award is not intended to finance investment, nor depreciation of research equipment.

How is the project assessed?

Your project will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

i) Relevance and appropriateness of the proposed research to shipping and the environment.

ii) Originality and innovation.

iii) Capability of the research institute/individual/s to undertake the research.

iv) Feasibility and likelihood of achieving the objectives of the proposal within the time and budget provided.

v) Cost-effectiveness of the proposed financial support.

vi) The ability to publish or to advertise the findings of the research.

Each criterion will be ranked by different members of ITOPF’s Technical Team. The total ranking awarded will be used to indicate those proposals with the greatest merit. The highest-ranked proposals will then be reviewed by the R&D Award Committee for a decision.

Composition of the R&D Award Committee

The ITOPF R&D Committee is comprised of objective scientists with a wealth of experience in maritime and environmental issues and a keen focus on developing young talent in these areas. Currently, seven people sit on the Committee:

  • Five members of ITOPF, one of them being the Technical Director.
  • At least two well-respected external and independent members of the scientific community; currently, one from the IMO with a strong background in the chemical industry and involvement in IMO’s R&D activities (acting as the Committee Secretary) and one, an independent consultant with a long history in the field of spill preparedness and response.

What are ITOPF's expectations if you are successful?

The successful candidate/s will enter into an Implementation Agreement with ITOPF, through which they will be expected to provide the Secretary of the ITOPF R&D Committee with a progress report every 6 months.

Each progress report should be stand-alone, ie it will contain the description of the work undertaken and results achieved since commencement of the implementation agreement and address any issues or questions previously raised. The last progress report will act as a draft final report, to be substituted by a final report once the last questions/comments have been addressed to the satisfaction of the Secretary and ITOPF. In addition, ITOPF requests the production of an executive summary document (maximum of four pages), which summarises the findings of the project. The successful candidate/s will also be expected to consider how the results of the work will be published and to prepare a project results dissemination plan. Candidates may also be asked to present the results of the work to ITOPF directors.

Any questions?

For further information about the Award and any questions you may have, please contact us at