TMS provides several grants which can be used to support research, conference travel or training. Information on each grant and application process can be found below.
Angelina Messina Grants (AMGs) are awarded annually to help student members and early career researchers (within 10 years of obtaining their last degree) of the Society in their fieldwork, conference attendance, or any other specific activity related to their research which has not been budgeted for. A case must be made as to why funding is required above what is already available.
From 2024, we are trialling an alternative process for the awarding of AMGs. This is one of our most popular schemes, and we receive more applications than we can fund each year. To ensure the fairness with which fundable applications are considered, to reduce the administrative burden and also to increase the diversity of our awardees, we are implementing a new priority lottery scheme for funding.
Angelina Messina Grants Process for proposals will be assessed as to whether they meet expected standards for the following criteria:
- Completeness of the application and adherence to the terms and conditions.
- Description of the activity for which funding is sought and its relevance for micropaleontology
- Description of benefit to applicants’ scientific career/research project development
- Explanation of why Angelina Messina Grant funding is required for financial support of the activity
- Provision of a realistic budget
Projects that do not meet the expected standards for each of these criteria will not be considered further.
You can find the full details of the Terms and Conditions, Scoring Criteria and Assessment Process here.
All applications must be made via this form. The deadline for applications is the 28th of February. A maximum of £500 can be awarded to each successful applicant. Successful applicants are expected to write a short report for the Newsletter once their grant has been used. For more information, please get in touch with the Secretary.
TMS Frances Parker Grant, previously the small research grant, offers grants of up to £1500 each year to support micropalaeontological research by any TMS member. This grant is aimed at supporting stand-alone research projects, and funds can be used to assist with any costs associated with the work, e.g., analytical costs, visits to museums, fieldwork, etc. If the grant proposal relates to a funded research project (i.e. funded post-graduate or post-doctoral research), then a case must be made as to why funding is required above that already available. This grant cannot be used to support conference or workshop attendance (please see the Angelina Messina Grant).
All applications must be made on the application form, with a max. 2-page CV (combined as a single document)and submitted to the Secretary. The deadline for applications is the 31st of October. Funding cannot be made retrospectively. Further enquiries about the scheme can be made to the Secretary.
Society officers will evaluate the applications and notify the successful candidate following the TMS AGM held in November. Proposals will be ranked based on the following criteria:
- Fit the Society
- Quality and novelty of proposed work
- Feasibility within the budget and time allotted
- Applicants track record
Successful applicants must submit a brief project summary (max. 100 words) suitable for a non-specialist when the grant is announced (for the website and TMS newsletter) and within two years of the award date, a report on the outcomes of the project for TMS Newsletter. Receipt of the grant must be acknowledged in any resulting published work.
Sonia Clara Camina, San Luis University (Argentina) – 2022
Exceptionally well-preserved chitinozoans from the lower Silurian Measley Ridge roadcut(Ohio, USA), and their application in high-resolution biostratigraphy
Chitinozoans, an extinct group of organic-walled microfossil, are a valuable group for Palaeozoic biostratigraphy. The Measley Ridge section (southern Ohio, USA) provides a spectacular example of Silurian strata straddling the Llandovery-Wenlock boundary. Previous studies have provided some age constraint and the initial processing of test samples has proven a good yield of diverse and well-preserved chitinozoans. The aims of this project are to produce a detailed chitinozoan biostratigraphy for the Measley Ridge section, confirm the position of the Llandovery-Wenlock boundary in the section, and to identify any evidence of step-wise extinction related to the Ireviken carbon isotope event.
Stephanie Stainbank, Oceanographic Research Institute – 2021
Assessing the biomonitoring value of foraminifera for South Africa’s coral reefs
Foraminifera are invaluable modern and palaeo-biomonitoring tools as their short life spans mean their assemblage compositions respond rapidly to environmental changes. In addition, the application of their numerous biotic indices provides an easily quantifiable measure/scale of environmental quality. While the use of foraminifera within global coral reef biomonitoring initiatives is well established, limited studies have been conducted in South Africa. The study of collections at the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) of South Africa will allow the assessment of the biomonitoring potential of foraminifera for South Africa’s coral reefs, one of the most southerly distributions of these communities in the world.
Connor O’Keeffe, University of Leeds – 2021
Palynology of short-duration redox shifts in the early Toarcian (Lower Jurassic) of the Cleveland Basin, Yorkshire
The recent rise in the occurrence of anthropogenic reduced oxygen conditions (dysoxia) in coastal environments and resulting killing of marine animals is of great concern. The duration of these events, and their long-term consequences to marine communities, are poorly understood. However, the geological record contains many episodes of marine dysoxia and anoxia (a complete lack of oxygen) across a wide range time scales and geographical extent. This project will focus on the Whitby Mudstone Formation (WMF), which outcrops along the North Yorkshire coast, to assess the redox state of the water column using dinoflagellate and prasinophyte abundance, and the degree of terrestrial input of organic matter (which is suspected to have occurred, based on Rock-Eval Pyrolysis) using alginite and plant spores, which will be a proxy for fresh-water run-off.
Martyn Golding, Geological Survey of Canada & University of British Columbia – 2019
Conodont Biostratigraphy and Definition of the Lower–Middle Triassic Boundary in Romania
The boundary between Lower and Middle Triassic represents the final stages of recovery of marine organisms in the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction. Despite the importance of this time interval, the correlation of sections spanning this boundary is controversial, hampering efforts to understand rates and mechanisms operating during extinction recovery. Conodonts are especially abundant and diverse at the Deşli Caira section in Romania. Study of collections at the University of Bucharest will enable comparison with faunas from other important sections in China, Albania, and North America, allowing the evolutionary events of this time interval to be more accurately dated.
Conodonts from the Deşli Caira section in Romania (such as Neogondolella n. sp. A, pictured) allow for high-resolution correlation of the Lower-Middle Triassic Boundary (scale bar = 300μm).
Sophie Westacott, Yale University – 2018
Macroevolutionary Trends in Silica use by Paleozoic Radiolarians
As radiolarians rose to prominence in the early Paleozoic, they are believed to have radically altered ocean geochemistry, locking up enough dissolved silicate (dSi) that near-surface water concentrations declined by an order of magnitude between the Precambrian and the Silurian. When diatoms came to dominate in the Cenozoic and drew down dSi concentrations still further, radiolarians responded to the increasing silica limitation by constructing thinner, more porous tests. Did radiolarian morphology shift during the Paleozoic as well to reflect the reduction in available silica created by their own expansion? Qualitative observations suggest early Ordovician radiolarians were considerably heftier than later radiolarians, but there has been no quantitative analysis to back this up. Measuring the test size, wall thickness, and porosity of well-preserved Paleozoic radiolarians will test the hypothesis that there was a directional trend toward reduced silicification across the Paleozoic and improve understanding of the role of biology in the early evolution of the silica cycle.
Lower Silurian radiolarian exhibiting relatively large body size, thick test outer wall, and minor siliceous overgrowths.
Peter Stassen – 2017
Eocene larger benthic foraminifera, mainly Nummulites, occur in multiple levels in Belgium and are well-represented in museum collections. These occurrences in the North Sea Basin are probably controlled by pulses of northward migration during warmer climate conditions. Recently, a new paleotemperature proxy has been proposed for their use in climate reconstructions, as variations in the shell chemistry can reveal both annual and seasonal changes of seawater temperature. The integration of geochemical and biotic data will define the downfall of one species and the rise of another on a NW European scale, thus linking their distribution and evolution to Eocene climate development.
A well-preserved specimen of Nummulites aquitanicus from the Egem sands in the Ampe Quarry near Egem (Belgium), deposited during the early Eocene climate optimum (EECO).
Five TMS travel grants of up to £250 are available to support postgraduate students and early career researchers (those who have completed their PhD within the last 5 yrs) to attend the TMS Annual Conference held in November each year. This grant can only be used to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs. Successful grant candidates must have registered for the conference and give an oral or poster presentation. Please complete the application form and return it to the Events Secretary before the 30th of September in the year of the AGM you wish to attend. Candidates will be notified of the status of their application in early October.
This trust offers financial support for post-graduate training in micropalaeontology.
The Education Fund focuses on aspects of “Deep Time”, by which we mean taxonomy or biostratigraphy at the post-graduate level, i.e. micropalaeontological M.Sc. courses and discipline-specific taxonomy/biostratigraphy short training courses (a few days in length) to eligible TMS members. The fund was not set up to subsidise the training of company employees for their day jobs, and such applications will not be considered. Therefore, academic awards will be made for individual students undergoing post-graduate training in micropalaeontology.
Awards can be made to dedicated micropalaeontology training and to micropalaeontological components of broader courses (e.g. undertaking a micropalaeontological project within a stratigraphy MSc).
Until recently, there were no degree-level training courses in Applied Micropalaeontology in the U.K. or continental Europe. Apart from one or two PhD students, Biostratigraphy was no longer being trained. The Micropalaeontology Society recognised this alarming situation and established an Educational Trust Fund as a Registered Charity in 2011.
This Trust, with eight industry-based trustees, is raising the funds required to finance studentships at those academic locations where micropalaeontologists can still be trained within Europe. For example, TMS support was instrumental in helping the University of Birmingham establish their MSc course “Applied Micropalaeontology”, where we have covered the tuition fees of fourteen students over the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 & 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 & 2019-20 academic years. Unfortunately, this course will cease at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
Due to a major income reduction, we can no longer provide MSc-level scholarships.
Short Course Scholarships
Our aim is, funds permitting, to provide support for TMS student members who wish to attend one of the following short courses:
- Urbino Foram Summer School
- Terrestrially-Derived Fossil Palynoflora: Subsurface Application to Petroleum Geology. Master Class
- Polar Marine Diatom Workshop
- INA; Nannofossil short course — these run every two years
- European School on Ostracoda (University of Jena, Germany)
Scholarships for these courses are highly competitive. We hope, funds permitting, to provide a sponsored place on each course when they run. The application deadline of 31st March of each year.
Please get in touch with the TMS Industrial Liaison Officer if you would like information on whether your taught course would be considered for support by TMS Education Fund, whether a proposal by you would be suitable or would like more information on the scheme. Any award is totally at the discretion of the Board of Trustees for the TMS Educational Trust Fund.
The following organisations are thanked for their financial contribution to the Education Trust;
BG Group (2012-13)
MMEA (Mediterranean, Middle East & Africa Scout Group; 2014-15)
Shell International (2012-15)
A number of private individual donors are also thanked.
Without the continued support of such organisations and individuals the Trust will be unable to support education in micropalaeontology.
Matt Hall & Agile-Libre are thanks for their generous donations generated from every sale of “52 things you should know about Palaeontology”.
Board of Trustees
Dr. Matt Wakefield (Lealt Stratigraphic Consultants Limited); Chair
Dr. Haydon Bailey (Network Stratigraphic Ltd; former chair)
Dr. Robert Campbell (Shell International)
Dr. Jim Fenton (CGG-Robertson)
Dr. Dan Finucane (BP)
David Hulks (Equinor)
Dr. Emma Sheldon (GEUS)
Dr. Manuel Viera (Shell International; Treasurer)
Former Trustees (now retired from board);
Dr. Shirley van Heck (Shell International)
Dr. Bob Wyn Jones (BG Group)
Matt Hampton (Network Stratigraphic Ltd; former treasurer)
Dr. Nick Holmes (RPS-Ichron Ltd)
Dr. Simon Payne (BP)
Dr. Bruce Tocher (Equinor)
Dr. Jeremy Young (UCL; former treasurer)