Investing in young professionals working for Protected Areas

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EUROPARC strongly believes that young professionals have a vital role to play in caring for Europe’s natural heritage. Like everything else, the future of Protected Areas relies on the young generation taking an active and informed role. Each year the EUROPARC Federation, with support from the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S., awards three Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships to promising young conservationists, who are committed to working for the benefit of Protected Areas. The aim of the scholarships is to enhance international cooperation and to advance the quality, innovation and European dimension of Protected Area management.

Each scholarship is worth €3.000 and enables successful applicants to undertake a study visit on a particular theme to Protected Areas in European countries.

While there are many opportunities for students to get scholarships to improve their skills abroad, there are few for those who have already entered the working world. Hence, the aim of this scholarship is to give the opportunity to those young professionals that have chosen to develop a career in Protected Areas, to improve their skills and learn from other professionals by carrying out study visits to Protected Areas across Europe.

The Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarship 2022

Deadline for applications 29th of April, 15:00 CET

The Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarship is a great opportunity for young professionals who have chosen to develop a career devoted to our natural and cultural heritage. The winners of the Scholarship will have the chance to improve their skills and learn from other professionals, by carrying out study visits in European Protected Areas. The call is open to all young professionals working in topics related to Protected Areas in Europe. Conditions to apply:

  • candidates must be under 35
  • have a European nationality (see the list of countries from the Council of Europe)
  • be employed by a Protected Area or nature conservation organisation or be employed by an organisation that delivers its work  Protected Areas

Applications for study visits to prepare, or be any part of the delivery of  master or doctoral thesis will not be considered.

Download the Guidelines, FAQs and an overview of the application form 

ATS FAQs   ATS Guidelines   ATS Application Form example

>>>>> online application form <<<<<

5 steps to win your Scholarship:

1) Choose one category

The application must address one of the following selected themes faced by Protected Area Management:

2) Apply

To apply, candidates must submit:

  • Online application form – this form includes your Curriculum vitae, your motivation letter, the proposed programme of your study visit, and contact details of the Protected Areas you want to visit
  • Proof of employment if pre-selected

Applications are due on 29th of April (15:00 CET) and must be submitted online. Download the complete Guidelines and access the online application form.

3) Sustainability 

As a European wide network, international exchange is of high importance to EUROPARC. However, we also want to lead by example. This means critically looking at our practices and aiming to make them more sustainable. That is why for the 2022 call for scholarships, we ask applicants to consider how they can complete their study visits in the most sustainable way possible. For example through:

  • Only visiting one Protected Area outside of your home country for a longer time period
  • Using more sustainable means of transportation like public transport
  • Offsetting your travel’s carbon emissions 

Any creative ideas are welcomed! You can provide them in the special section on the application form.

4) Be awarded at EUROPARC Conference 2022

The winners of the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarship will be awarded in France, at the second EUROPARC Conference 2022. It  is essential you are available to attend.

The Alfred Toepfer Stiftung E.V.S will generously cover your travel expenses and participation at Europe’s biggest gathering of Protected Areas professionals! The Conference will take place in Argelès-sur-Mer in France from 4 – 7 October 2022. The focus will be on Climate Change Adaptation. How can Protected Areas deal with Climate Change? What are the challenges and opportunities? What does successful adaptation look like? The EUROPARC Conference provides an excellent event for you to learn, network and share experiences on this exciting topic.

The winners of the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarship in Jurmala, Latvia – EUROPARC Conference 2019

5) Travel and Learn

The scholarship covers your travel costs to one or more protected areas in Europe. Visiting different countries enables you to gather new perspectives and deepen your subject of study. Check out the example of Marie Micol or Csaba Bereczki, who visited different Protected Areas in several countries, or Eduardo Batista who made a deep study in just one Protected Area.

You will find all the reports since 2007 in our library and on this page you can learn more about the past scholarship winners.

6) Share your results

After the trip, the scholars are expected to present the Federation their findings in a report and a short film. These reports are made available to EUROPARC members, as they are full of interesting facts on observation and solutions to common Protected Area management issues. Here’s some inspiration from Agné and Tymur!

For more information or questions, please contact