Research Support Fund
CSG Research Support Fund logo
  1. What is it?
  2. Why is it?
  3. Examples of how your donations could help
  4. How do I donate?
1. What is it?
To continue to enhance the role that the CSG plays in supporting research into catfishes and to foster a closer relationship between scientists and aquarists, the committee is delighted to announce a Research Support Fund (RSF). The RSF will provide small sums (e.g., £500) to students and other researchers to support fieldwork, museum visits, laboratory work and page charges in peer-reviewed journals. Award recipients will agree to provide two articles for the CSG journal OR present their research at a CSG event via poster or talk. Like any new program, the RSF is a work in progress and we welcome the input of subscribing members. Email us at:
Where does the money come from? RSF awards will be drawn from journal subscriptions, advertising revenue, member and corporate contributions, back issue purchases, donated auction lots and other fund-raising activities.

How often will we make awards? We will invite applications on an annual basis in September, with the successful applicant(s) being announced via social media and at our annual convention the following March.

Who is eligible to apply? Initially, we will open this to students and junior researchers that are subscribing members of the CSG. The committee discussed opening the competition to advanced aquarists, and we may try this in the future. But for now, we will invite applications from those enrolled or working with catfishes in a registered school, university, research institute or natural history museum. Applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time the award is made.

What items, services or expenses should the award be used for? Awards will be used to offset travel costs for fieldwork (e.g., specimen collecting, museum visits or environmental measurements), equipment purchases (e.g., nets, meters, cameras, lenses, aquaria, lab consumables, software licenses, etc.), services (e.g., DNA sequencing and genome assembly, page charges in journals) and possibly the purchase of specimens (e.g., for observation, DNA samples, etc.).
How do I apply? Applicants will complete an electronic form available here. The form will include a brief description of the intended research project or trip, an itemized budget and a brief explanation for how the award will enable or enhance the work.

How will applications be judged? The committee and invited reviewers will independently review applications and assign scores on the basis of their merit, feasibility and appeal to CSG members. Scores will be assigned and the highest ranked application(s) will be funded in full or to the maximum amount available. None, one, or more than one application may be funded during each cycle. In the event that no applications are received or less than the maximum amount is awarded, the RSF will transfer funds to the next cycle and increase the number or size of awards accordingly. Finally, in order to receive the award, the successful applicant must agree to provide two articles for the CSG journal describing their project, its results, and how the award helped them in their work, or a talk or poster to be presented at a future CSG event.
2. Why is it?

Simply put, your hobby needs you! Can you donate something towards the study of catfishes? Would you like to see new species described, genera reviewed, know the biology and ecology of your favourite fishes and know that you have contributed to that work?

The most common question asked online is “What is my catfish?” Hours are spent researching or debating the names of catfishes in our care. When an answer can be provided this allows hobbyists to have a shared identity they can use to find out where the catfish originates, therefore determining its natural environment, feeding and husbandry requirements, breeding methods, and at a basic level its commercial value for on-selling of the fish or their progeny. All these are crucial to the committed hobbyist who wants to provide their catfishes with the best care possible with the aim of keeping them healthy, long lived and the ultimate achievement of them spawning and successfully rearing the fry.

Breeding catfishes is not just something that brings satisfaction or income for the keeper; it also helps to take the pressure from the wild population, by bringing down the demand and therefore the commercial value of the species and (providing the adults have not been illegally obtained) is an ethical way of helping to conserve the species.

For the species that are described, many of us don't consider the amount of work and associated expense that has gone into the naming of a species and/or the studies into its biology and ecology. The study of fishes is known as ichthyology (from Greek: ikhthus, "fish"; and logos, "study"). Financial support for research projects ranges from hundreds to many thousands of pounds for those lucky enough to live in a country that provides adequate funding. As an example, funding for Brazilian ichthyology has come under severe restrictions. Even where funding is available there is a long and arduous process to try and obtain support, which can take up valuable time and resources that could be put to better use studying fishes.

The Catfish Study Group has established a Research Support Fund (RSF) to (you guessed it) support the scientific research of catfishes. The RSF has guidelines for who can apply, what the money can be used for, the sharing of findings with CSG members, and a transparent selection process. All money raised from annual e-journal subscriptions and some other CSG activities builds and replenishes the RSF, but this is limited. This new fundraising drive is intended to boost the growth and size of RSF awards, meaning that more research can be completed by more scientists while the expertise and fishes still exist. Should you wish to support this initiative beyond subscription to our e-journal, please consider donating whatever you can spare.

3. Examples of how your donations could help

The study and description of Corydoras sp. CW111. This stunning species is currently being illegally taken from its native Brazilian waters in large numbers and sold at high prices across the world. Despite these large numbers ending up in aquarists' tanks, less than ten specimens are in scientific collections, and these are small and immature, making it difficult to give the species a name. Your donations could help towards the cost of a trip to their location and the capture, preservation, study and naming of them as a species. It could also help to definitively resolve the contentious issue of the identity of the similar CW146. Naming the species could give it additional publicity in the fight against its illegal export and its preservation in the wild. Waiting for months to obtain funding, with no certain outcome, for such a project could be time the species doesn't have.

Monitoring of catfishes of the Xingu River system.There are many beautiful loricariid catfishes from this river system, most of which are very popular with aquarists. Although there has been some great work on this subject, more research is needed to assess the impact of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on populations of plecos and other catfishes native to the area. Your donations could help the study of these threatened catfishes, help train local scientists to maintain a watchful eye over how things are changing in the Xingu and how hydroelectric dams affect tropical rivers in the short and long term.

4. How do I donate?
It can't be simpler. Click on the donate button at the bottom of the page. Donations are not refundable, the decision by the CSG commitee to award research support funding, including all donations made, is final. You can also contact our treasurer for other ways to donate.
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