Grant Opportunities

There has never been a more crucial time for a wider understanding, by a broad public, of the oceans and the threats they face. Often the key to increasing awareness is to encourage smaller projects managed by individuals, community groups, schools, or other conservation charities. The immediate effects at grass roots level can be enormous. Such projects, however worthy, often face challenges in raising the small amounts of finance needed to make them a success. National Aquarium Limited, a sister charity to the National Marine Aquarium, makes small grants available for interesting projects that will make a difference. These projects may be science-based but could equally be based around arts or drama – indeed, the more innovative the better, as long as they make a contribution to raising awareness of the marine environment. Grants awarded so far have been in the region of £1,200-£5,000 and it is likely that future awards will be of similar amounts. Applications will be screened by the National Marine Aquarium for compliance with the criteria set out in the grant guidelines before passing to the Trustee Board for consideration. The Trustee Board meet twice a year and there is a strict deadline of 3 weeks prior to Trustees meetings for applications to be received.

Dates for 2015/16 Deadline for applications

Dates for 2017

Deadline for Applications Trustees Meeting
21st April 18th May
19th October 16th November

Any applications received after the Deadline for a given Trustees Meeting, will not be considered until the following Trustees meeting.Notification of funding agreement will be issued within two weeks of each Trustee Board meeting. To allow for administration requirements, projects should expect to start no sooner than two months after the Trustee Board meetings.

For further information contact Liz Cole on email:

Application Form

Download Application Guidelines

Previous Grant Examples

National Aquarium Ltd is a charity which gives small grants to organisations or individuals that operate projects to further the goals of the National Marine Aquarium. We support projects which enable individuals and communities to enjoy the seas, learn about our seas and, ultimately, develop active caring attitudes and behaviours.
Projects can be research-based, conservation-focussed, educational or community events – the unifying theme is Conservation through Engagement. Approved project areas include:

Leaper: A Fish Tale

Location: National
Date Awarded: 2015
Grant Awarded: £4000

A new play for children,  written by a critically-acclaimed children’s puppetry company, highlights the importance of river and marine eco-systems around the UK against destructive fishing methods and plastics pollution. The project aims to gently encourage change by the delivery of performances in theatres, schools and aquariums throughout the UK


Students For Our Coasts: Today & Forever Ghana

Location: International
Date Awarded: 2015
Grant Awarded: £5,000

The project is based in Muni-Pomadxe Ramar, one of five coastal protected wetlands in Ghana and aims to engender student collective action for the successful protection and management of marine ecosystems and their associated creatures.

The Reef-World Foundation to Strengthen the Conservation, Sustainability and Wise Management of Coral Reefs and Associated Coastal Ecosystems in SE Asia.

Location: International
Date Awarded: 2015
Grant Awarded: £3,700

To develop an on-line toolkit to engage a network of dive operators, local communities and government authorities to support sustainable marine recreational activities.


Location: Local
Date Awarded: 2014
Grant Awarded: £4575

jellytasticThis project will provide a series of art installations and workshops, focusing directly on the jellyfish species and the impacts of marine pollution in the Hampshire and Sussex area. The theme of ‘jellytastic’ demonstrate jelly fish and marine pollution, in particular plastic waste such as drink bottles. It will involve schools, students and any type of sea user to learn about the impacts on our sea.

Photographer and Artist: Trudi Lloyd Williams

Waste to Waves

Location: Regional
Date Awarded: 2014
Grant Awarded: £1100

waste-to-wavesThis project focused on supporting the exhibition of ‘Respect’- a fully recycled plastic bottle boat, made by the Cornish Primary School children at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC) in Falmouth for 10 weeks. Talks are currently going on in regards to displaying the boat at the University of Plymouth. This project helped raise awareness among a wide audience, informing about the environmental damages caused by waste in particular marine plastic, which needlessly kills millions of sea creatures each year. This project also supported the organisation of a sell-out Ocean Plastic conference at the NMMC, moderated by Paul Cox, which brought together over 100 local and national stakeholders keen to find ways of addressing this serious environmental issue. As a result of this project a group comprising Cornwall Council, SITA, Clean Cornwall, Keep Britain Tidy, Cory, Fishing for Litter, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, University of Exeter, Falmouth Marine School and various beach cleaning groups have begun a programme to regularly meet to come up with new ways to tackle marine little for this region.

It was suggested by Paul Cox to spend the remainder of the £1,100 received- on a new TV screen to show a loop of films to go alongside a new marine plastic display in the Aquarium in the new year. (This idea has not yet been agreed). The following pictures show the plastic bottle boat, ‘Respect’, out sailing and on a display in the main hall of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

Professor Richard Thompson, a top leading expert on marine plastics from the University of Plymouth, giving the keynote speech at the Ocean Plastics Conference supported by the Aquarium.

Hammerheads, Japan - Assessing the structure and habitat use of a novel aggregation

Location: International
Date Awarded: 2014
Grant Awarded: £3600

hammerheadThis involved the process of understanding the form, function and structures of the aggregations of Hammerhead Sharks, in order to establish how to protect them successfully. The team created outreach and engagement events of the local communities to highlight the dangers they are facing.

Marine Wildlife Champions Network - Devon Wildlife Trust

Location: Local
Date Awarded: 2014
Grant Awarded: £4000 / year (for initial 2 years)

Following up from the 2013 pilot scheme- this project intends to build up a network within local schools to encourage children to take positive actions in preserving marine habitats and species. This project will work alongside schools to carry out tasks such as reducing plastic waste and minimising pollution in order to inspire them to become champions!

Ecoteer - Engaging the local villagers and tourists of the Perhential Islands in a Sea Turtle identification Project

Location: International
Date Awarded: 2014
Grant Awarded: £5000

ecoteer-seaturtlesLocated in Malaysia, this project will begin in February 2015. It will provide teaching for research; taking suitable photographs (non- invasively) and using software to establish a photo database. This project will also aim to teach and engage tourists as well as the local community to learn to snorkel. By involving snorkel boatmen, it will directly educate and raise awareness about sea turtle conservation.

The Fish-Hearted Bride – Effervescence

Date Awarded: 2014
Grant Awarded: £2500

fish-hearted-brideThe Fish-Hearted Bride was a unique community engagement project that linked looked after children and children in care to marine ecology issues which resulted in a large-scale performance for the public.

The application was successful because it put young people and children aged 8 – 20 at the heart of a creative process in which they learnt about the sea and created a performance piece which allowed them to engage with the facilities and marine life of the aquarium.

The play itself engaged with marine ecology and ecological issues and was specifically geared towards the KS2, 3 and 4 curriculums.

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