These four awards re-opened for applications on 01 April 2022 and we are accepting applications NOW:
- The UK-only Study Travel Grant has been expanded into new areas, including conferences, study fees (short skill courses only), and purely conservation-based projects. We strongly encourage applicants considering internships and work experience placements – watch out for more information and examples here soon!
- An UK-only Study Travel Grant special award for a heather-related project or internship is also available.
- The Green Recovery Award is aimed at young horticulturists interested in growing their practical experience in sustainable horticulture and conservation horticulture, including the role of horticulture in UK habitat restoration. Internships and work experience placements strongly encouraged.
- The Health & Wellbeing Award will allow award recipients to explore the impact of horticulture on society, particularly the links between gardening and health. Internships and work experience placements strongly encouraged.
The Merlin Trust is keen to support internships at gardens or other horticultural organisations across the UK. This could include work experience of a few days to longer periods that allow applicants to more fully explore new areas of horticulture, work closely with particular plants or plant collections, experience different gardens and their microclimates and growing conditions, or work alongside a specialist to develop new skills. Please do contact the Merlin Trust Secretary if you have an idea you would like to discuss or for advice on gardens or organisations to approach for your area of interest.
New application requirements have been implemented, with relevant sections added to the application form/s:
- Applicants will be asked to consider COVID-19 safe working practices: double vaccination with booster will be required for all successful applicants.
- All applicants must also consider the environmental footprint of their tour and to seek the most sustainable travel as possible.
All application forms are available as Word documents. If you would like to receive a different format, please contact the Secretary.
Please read the application guidance notes below before downloading and completing an application form.
UK-only Study Travel Grant
We offer up to £1,000 to individual applicants to assist with UK travel projects. Applications for UK-only travel can be submitted allowing recipients to carry out garden tours (e.g. tours of spring gardens in 2022), undertake work experience and internships in gardens or other horticulturally-related areas, pursue research projects, visit conservation programmes, attend conference or take part in horticultural skill-based short courses. Special recognition will be given to exciting or innovative projects. OPEN for applications.
UK-only Study Travel Grant – Heather Project Special Award
Thanks to a generous donation by The Heather Society, the Merlin Trust is funding a £1,000 award for a project focused on heather. Projects might involve heather in cultivation or conservation projects of heather and heath habitats in the UK. The project might be a study tour of the heather National Plant Collections (at RHS Garden Wisley, National Trust for Scotland’s Branklyn Garden, The Lakeland Horticultural Society at Holehird Gardens and National Trust’s Nymans), work experience in a specialist heather nursery, or contributing to a moorland or heathland restoration or research project. For more information on heathers, please see the Heather World website. OPEN for applications.
The Green Recovery Award
This award will support travel to and support at gardens and plant-related environmental projects with a sustainable or conservation focus. We would like to hear from you if you have a study tour or internship/work experience placement planned which looks at sustainability in horticulture – from improving the sustainability of public gardens to sustainable growing practices, or if you are planning research as part of a plant conservation or habitat restoration project. Tours/work must be in the UK and you must show evidence that the garden/s or project/s are willing for you to visit and/or work. There are many places you could visit/arrange work experience including the RSPB Haweswater Restoration Project, Centre for Alternative Technology, or projects that you might want to consider e.g. seeking work experience at a peat-free compost maker to identify new opportunities for in-garden compost production. This list is not exhaustive and, as with all our awards, special recognition will be given to exciting or innovative projects. OPEN for applications. Max. available: £1,000.
Health & Wellbeing Award
This award will support travel to and support at gardens or projects which have a focus on health and wellbeing in horticulture. Examples could be work experience/internship with an horticultural therapy organisation or a study tour examining the role that gardens and contact with plants can play in improving health and wellbeing. Tours must be in the UK and you must show evidence that the garden/s or project/s are willing for you to visit and/or work. There are many gardens and organisations who have created health and wellbeing gardens or are involved in horticultural therapy. Potential examples of organisations and gardens include Thrive, Trellis, Eden Project, Horatio’s Gardens and many other social prescribing sites in community and public gardens e.g. RHS Gardens Wisley and Bridgewater. This list is not exhaustive and, as with all our awards, special recognition will be given to exciting or innovative projects. OPEN for applications. Max. available: £1,000.
How To Apply:
- Read the eligibility criteria and guidance notes (see below) carefully to ensure you and your intended project qualify;
- Fill in all parts of the Application Form;
- Email your application to the Secretary with your name as the file name;
- Ensure your two referees email their references as attachments to the Secretary: your application will not be considered until both references have been received.
*You must allow a minimum of four weeks from submission of your application to the start of your project (see Guidance Notes for more detailed information). Please also note that a decision will not be made immediately after submission: there may be a delay of up to three weeks to allow the Trustees to review applications. Submissions will only be considered by the Trustees once both references have been received.
If your grant application has been successful, you will be required to produce a report of your visit. While there is no set template for this, we do offer some advice via the guidance document below. So if you are unsure what is required, read the guidance or get in touch!