Application process

How to apply?

Please download the electronic application form from this site, complete and submit as an attachment by email to

The deadline for receipt of applications for the next Award is 30 November 2019, with the intention of granting the 2020 Award by the end of February 2020. 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.

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.

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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 £50,000 will be made available to fund R&D projects. ITOPF may decide to award the entire annual budget to a single project or split the funding between different projects of interest.

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  • Projects that request more than £50,000 are less likely to succeed as ITOPF has a limited budget. If a project was to be awarded £150,000 over three years, this would mean that no R&D Award could be advertised for the next three years, which we are reluctant to do. Consequently, if you have such a project (a PhD proposal for example), we would advise you to find co-funding before you submit your proposal. The duration of the project (eg one year versus three years) is less relevant for the final decision.

What can the Award finance?

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

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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 5 criteria:

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 (i) Relevance 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) Likelihood of achieving the objectives of the proposal within the time and budget provided.

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

Each criterion will be ranked by the different members of the Committee. The total of the ranks awarded will be used to indicate those proposals having the greatest merit. The proposals with the highest totals will be reviewed by ITOPF 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, five people sit oin the Committee:

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  • Three 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.

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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.

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