Press Room

NSF and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Co-Fund Conservation Science and Action on behalf of Key Species and Ecosystems

Seattle, WA — Mar 22 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAR 22, 2023 – Six new projects, funded by a partnership between the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, will combine scientific research and conservation activities to learn from and protect Earth’s biodiversity. The projects are funded by $8 million in combined support from the two organizations in a new Partnership to Advance Conservation Science and Practice (PACSP) and focus on protecting diverse ecosystems and imperiled species across the United States.
“More than 1,000,000 species across the globe are threatened with extinction and these projects are a step towards decreasing that number and slowing the rate of biodiversity loss on Earth,” said Simon Malcomber, acting assistant director for NSF’s Directorate for Biological Sciences. “These efforts are critical as losing any species impacts society, whether by changes in disease patterns, decreases in natural pest control, ecosystem degradation, or by losing one of life’s unique solutions to problems that humans could’ve harnessed to our benefit.”   

The competition received broad interest, with a large number of submissions coming from researchers who had not previously submitted to NSF. The six projects will work to understand threats to biodiversity and conserve species across a diversity of environments.  

Awards go to:  

  • Fresno Chaffee Zoo, UC Davis, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to protect the endangered Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard  

  • Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum; Pomona College; University of Hawaii, Manoa; and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife to advance conservation for endangered Hawaiian land snails 

  • San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and Iowa State University to study and enhance desert tortoises’ resilience to climate change 

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and U.S. Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center; to develop tools to mitigate White Nose Syndrome, a lethal fungal disease decimating several species of North American bats 

  • North Carolina State University and North Carolina Aquariums to conserve the Crystal skipper butterfly in a coastal urban environment 

  • Duke University, North Carolina State University, Nature Conservancy, and North Carolina Coastal Federation, and to incorporate secondary species in coastal restoration efforts to increase ecosystem regrowth 

“The breadth of biodiversity loss in the United States is reflected in the wide range of species covered in these six projects. While the approaches are different, each study addresses systemic issues that are much bigger than a singular species, and they leverage science and technology to accelerate conservation solutions,” said Lara Littlefield, Executive Director on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “The increased number of new-to-NSF applicants also tells us that there is untapped potential for more collaboration between primary research and applied technology.”  

In addition to their scientific and preservation work, the teams will work to engage policymakers, students, teachers, and the public on topics related to conservation. Several of these efforts will focus on underrepresented minorities, including a paid internship program for underrepresented minority students from throughout California’s Central Valley, training of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in STEM integrated with indigenous research models, and recruitment of minority students from across North Carolina. Awardees will develop lesson plans for K-12 students, participate in after-school programs and summer camps, and host workshops for teachers. Broader public outreach will include social media, festivals and community meetings, museum and aquarium exhibits, interactive activities for children, and citizen science projects.   

Learn more about the Partnership to Advance Conservation Science and Practice program and view the full list of awards by visiting 

Images of species and ecosystems for download available here (Code: PACSP2023)


About the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation 
Founded in 1988 by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation invests in communities across the Pacific Northwest to enhance the human experience of arts & culture, center underserved populations, and mobilize young people to make an impact. In addition, the foundation supports a global portfolio of nonprofit partners working across science and technology solutions to protect wildlife, preserve ocean health, and create lasting change. The foundation also funds the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which works to advance cutting-edge research in all areas of bioscience. 

About the U.S. National Science Foundation   
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts. 


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