How Are Grant Applications Evaluated?

Each proposal goes through a multi-level, objective, technical review process prior to final Board decisions. These phases evaluate proposals in such areas as technical merits, cost/benefits, potential contribution to achieving conservation objectives, and alignment with HCTF priorities.

First, applications are sent to a Primary Reviewer, typically a subject expert, who scores the project on areas such as its proposed objectives, methodology, and cost/benefits.

Second, applications are evaluated on their technical merits by a committee of experts in their field, composed of both government and non-government biologists. Our technical committees are divided broadly into Fisheries, Wildlife, Stewardship, Wild Sheep, Grizzly Bear, and White Sturgeon subject areas. Each committee has members representing diversified expertise in the subject areas it covers; as a whole, the committee will have a broad knowledge of the subject areas and of conservation issues in BC. The technical committees meet in December and January to discuss, score, rank, and make a funding recommendation for each proposal based on their technical evaluation.

The comments and recommendations from these peer reviews are taken into account during the third stage of the review, when the HCTF Board of Directors meets in early March to examine each application, and decide which will receive funding. Projects which do not receive approval are provided reasons for that decision which can often be used to improve the proposal for potential re-submission in future years.

What do our technical reviewers look for?

  • Issue—does the proposal address a well-defined conservation problem?
  • Technical merit—the proposed methods are appropriate and feasible, and will effectively address the issue identified
  • Deliverables and evaluation—the proposal identifies practical, specific, measurable indicators of success for both the implementation and the outcomes themselves
  • Cost/benefit—the project budget is reasonable to achieve the proposed benefits for fish, wildlife, and habitats

What does our Board look for?

  • Alignment with HCTF priorities and strategic plan
  • Eligibility of activities and expenses
  • Cost-effectiveness—do the proposed benefits justify the investment of HCTF funds compared to other projects?
  • Conservation need—did the proposal build a compelling case that the project will lead to positive conservation outcomes for fisheries, wildlife, and habitat in BC?
  • Are there management applications from this work?

Technical Assessment of your Proposal: Review Criteria at a glance

These criteria are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 and then reviewers provide an assessment of whether or not the project is technically sound, assign an Effectiveness Score, and make comments on whether or not they feel the project should be funded. This Effectiveness Score is not an average of the scores for each criterion but rather the reviewer’s overall assessment of the proposal. At the technical committee meeting, members discuss their own evaluation and the Primary Review assessment, and then the final score, rank, recommendation, and comments for each proposal are determined by consensus. In general terms, projects scoring below 3 are not recommended for funding.

Project Effectiveness

  • How well does the proposal identify the problem?
  • How well is the management problem understood?
  • How well is the need for the project supported by facts and statistics?
  • How well does the proponent indicate how they intend to solve the problem?

Project Objectives

  • How clearly are the project objectives defined?
  • How well are the operational outcomes specified and defined?
  • How clearly are the objectives related to the issue statement?
  • How well can the objectives be measured?
  • How realistic and attainable are the project objectives? Can they be accomplished in the specified time frame?


  • How well are the specific methodologies and activities described for each objective?
  • How well do the activities and methodologies relate to the objective(s)?
  • How well does the proposal cite pertinent scientific literature?
  • How well is the timeline of activities described and how realistic is it?
  • How well are proposed activities and methodologies rationalized as feasible and appropriate for the issue being investigated?

Evaluation/Measures of Success

  • How clearly does the proposal provide a plan or strategy for evaluating accomplishment of the project objectives?
  • How well are the measures of success/targets explained?
  • How meaningful and relevant are the evaluation criteria for assessing project success?


  • How well does the proposal link to larger ecosystem benefits and describe implications to fish and wildlife populations versus the present situation?
  • How well are the expected returns or tangibles of the project described?
  • How well are the potential positive and negative impacts of the project explained?


  • How well do the benefits described in the proposal compare with the cost of the project (i.e., is there value for money?)
  • How realistic is the project budget and/or in-kind rates?
  • How adequate is the detail in the budget information for evaluating the financial aspects of the proposal?

Technical merits/shortcomings of this project 

  • What is the probability that the lead proponent(s) and their partners will be capable of carrying out the proposal?
  • How well does the proposal describe implications or effects on other associated species?
  • If applicable, how well does the proposal describe public support and/or opposition for the project?
  • If applicable, are plans in place to get appropriate permits, covenants or authorizations?