Sustainable Seabed Knowledge Initiative

Call for taxonomy projects to describe deep-sea species

One Thousand Reasons

The “One Thousand Reasons” campaign opens the door for collaboration on ISA’s commitment to generate a lasting legacy in deep ocean sciences – the description of at least 1000 species new to science in areas beyond national jurisdictions by 2030.  

The ISA Secretariat is now inviting taxonomic research project proposals from individuals from ISA Members States, exploration contractors, international and regional organizations and academic or scientific institutions.  

Background to the project  

As a model example of concerted global efforts to advance scientific knowledge on deep-sea ecosystems and biodiversity in the Area, ISA jointly launched the Sustainable Seabed Knowledge Initiative (SSKI) with a range of partners in June 2022. This builds on ongoing collaboration with a wide range of scientific experts.  

The overall concept of SSKI lies on fostering and coordinating a global collaborative platform to enhance deep-sea biodiversity research and capacity to inform decision-making processes and ensure effective protection of the marine environment in areas beyond national jurisdiction, especially in the international seabed area (the Area).  

Submission of proposals  

Individuals/groups from ISA Members States, exploration contractors, international and regional organizations and academic/ scientific institutions are invited to submit proposals for taxonomic research projects that aim at describing new species from deep-sea habitats in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Funding will be available for undertaking taxonomic descriptions of deep-sea species, including access to biological collections; research facilities; and/or taxonomic expertise.  The grant will cover research costs related to:

  • Laboratory analysis
  • Data processing and analysis
  • Bench fees (consumables, equipment, materials, overhead and institutional fees)
  • Personnel remuneration
  • Publication and dissemination

The results of the taxonomic projects are to be published in an open access scientific journal. The information on newly described species will be included in ISA’s DeepData and WoRMS (World Register of Marine Species) databases, as appropriate.

Proposals should be submitted using the application form (see sidebar) and must be accompanied by the applicant’s curriculum vitae and a letter of support from the home and/or host institution. The duration of the project should not exceed twelve (12) months, including the submission of the manuscript(s) for publication. A maximum of twenty thousand United States dollars (USD20,000) will be available per project. Payments will be disbursed using a 70/30% (USD14,000/ USD6,000) payment structure, with the final payment contingent on the delivery of the manuscript(s) for publication.

Proposals should thoroughly demonstrate the excellence of research results and scientific track record of the applicant. Project descriptions should reflect a clear methodology and a financial proposal, including a budget.

Proposals should be sent by 22 July 2023, via email to Summary information detailing each of the awarded projects will be made available on the ISA website in October.

Selection of proposals

Project proposals will be assessed by a panel of scientific experts using the following assessment criteria:

  • Expected outputs
  • Duration of the project
  • Budget
  • Methodology
  • Research excellence
  • Scientific track record
  • Letter of support from host institution

The results of the assessment will be considered by the SSKI Coordinator and WoRMS, who will select the projects to be awarded.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. The budget does cover travel expenses to visit research laboratories, scientific institutions housing biological collections and/or taxonomic experts abroad.

Applicants are expected to arrange access to biological samples for their research.

The following link will take you to the online application form for proposals:

Yes, citizens of ISA Member States can apply to study collections housed in non-Member states.

One Thousand Reasons

For any enquiries related to this call, please contact: 

Mr. Sherron Barker, Project Manager, Sustainable Seabed Knowledge Initiative at