Available Grants


About the Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment

The Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment (ALRE), established by Drs Marianne Horak and Douglas Hilton within the Perpetual Foundation, wishes to support taxonomic and phylogenetic research on Australian moths and butterflies by professional and amateur entomologists, and to enhance the curation of the Lepidoptera collection at the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC).

The need for support of research on Australian Lepidoptera

Moths and butterflies are an iconic part of Australia’s landscape. For many of us they represent one of our first memories of the beauty of nature. They play a crucial role in our diverse ecosystems, acting as obligate pollinators for iconic plant species like Boronia and as essential components of our eucalypt forests. They are sentinels to the health of our environment and are important indicator species in conservation efforts. As introduced and endemic pests they have the potential to profoundly affect our agricultural sector and our economy.

To understand our moths and butterflies requires we appreciate the extent of their diversity, that we provide them with names, unravel their evolutionary relationships and determine their life histories. Australia has a rich moth fauna, estimated to number 30,000 or more species, and is a global hot-spot for many families of moths, especially primitive moths that can provide insight into early Lepidoptera evolution. Despite their importance and scientific interest, at best a third of our species have names and have been described scientifically and we understand the life-cycle of perhaps a few hundred species in any detail.

Many important scientific questions about moths and butterflies remain unanswered and, because of cuts to the budgets of CSIRO, Universities and Museums and funding agencies such as the ABRS and ARC, research into Australian Moths and Butterflies has stalled. The Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment aims to fill this void.


A call for applications will be made by the Endowment in January each year and will outline the amount of funding available and the areas that will be considered for support. This announcement will be made via email or newsletter to MABA members.

The deadline for receipt of applications will be 1 March. A decision on which applications to recommend to the trustee to fund from the Endowment will be made by the Scientific Advisory Committee and the trustee will advise successful applicants by 31 May. Researchers must provide the Scientific Advisory Committee with a report showing previously funded research has been completed before becoming eligible for potential new funding.

For more information on the ALRE grant (including application process, past grants awarded and selection process) you can visit the Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment Information Page page.

Scientific Advisory Committee

The Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment is overseen by a scientific advisory committee of initially three people. The Advisory Committee will be responsible for selecting a chairperson and recruiting new members as required. It will make all decisions on which research or curatorial activities will be supported and give distribution recommendations from the Endowment to the trustee, Perpetual. The Advisory Committee will take into consideration individual donor wishes when making funding recommendations.

See the ALRE Scientific Advisory Committee.


The Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment can be supported by:

  • Individual donations
  • Annual contributions
  • Donations through bequests

Our Donors

The Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment would like to acknowledge and thank those who have donated. Our donors make it possible to support promising opportunities for Lepidoptera research in Australia and curation of Lepidoptera at the ANIC.

A list of donors can be found on the Our Donors page.

Why support research on Australian Lepidoptera?

Australia has a very rich Lepidoptera fauna, estimated to number at least 30,000 species of which at best one third have been named. Our fauna also is unique with a high number of taxa not occurring anywhere else, including 5 endemic families, the last of those, the Aenigmatineidae, described in January 2015.

Donations to the Perpetual Foundation - Australian Lepidoptera Research Endowment are managed by Perpetual. Due to the administration of tax-deductible donations, AU$ 5000 is the minimal donation that can be accepted into the Endowment.

Established within the Perpetual Foundation in memory of Ebbe Nielsen and his dedication to Australian Lepidoptera and the ANIC by generous gifts from the Estates of Ebbe Nielsen and of Judith Clark. Sustained by a gift from the Hilton family.