Chemistry College Grants
Grants as Financial Catalysts
Many of the larger chemistry grants for undergraduates are provided not to individual students but to their schools, which will use the funding to involve as many undergraduates as possible in research programs that serve to train the students while producing work important to the U. S. government or the American corporations that are paying the cost.
These are exciting opportunities available at schools all over the country, and since they are led by the experienced scientists on the universities’ faculties, there is no better way to learn the profession.
The University of Chicago’s chemistry department offers some helpful tips on how to locate a research project in which you can take part, and suggests investigating prior projects on the resumes of faculty members to find a professor who works in an area you find interesting. The advice is practical and detailed, giving you an excellent idea of how to begin.
There are also small grants (the usual range is between $500 and $5,000) to purchase the equipment and/or materials you will need to complete your own undergraduate research project.
National Science Foundation
If you’re interested in working on a government-funded research project as an undergraduate, the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Integrative Chemistry Activities program sends grant funding directly to universities like the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) and the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). If your school participates, you may be able to join the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program through your chemistry department.
Department contacts for the REU schools are listed on the NSF site, and between 20 and 25 schools receive money every year.
Grants From Colleges
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey maintains a page of information about financial support for undergraduate research. Two of the grants are particularly suitable for chemistry students:
- The John C. Collier Research Grant Established by Margaret Collier requires applicants to be nominated by the chemistry department.
- The Sandy Stewart Undergraduate Research Grant in Biology or Chemistry Research goes to a full-time student at the Camden campus. Departmental nomination is necessary.
Northwestern University’s Chemistry of Life Processes Institute awards a grant for $1,000 to buy supplies for research that will be conducted by one or more students with the guidance of a teacher. The grant also pays your expenses to attend the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium. To apply, you must be an undergraduate, and preference goes to third and fourth year students. You must have laboratory experience to qualify.
Carnegie Mellon University
The Department of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) offers Small Undergraduate Research Grants to fund projects for students who can work by themselves, with a group, or with a faculty member. If you choose to work alone, you are eligible for $500, and groups receive $1,000. The money is for supplies, so it will not affect your eligibility for financial aid.
CMU also makes other research opportunities available, such as the Computational Biology and Chemistry research funded by Merck. This field is new, made possible by the rapid development of sophisticated computers, and it includes work like the sequencing of genomes and the study of molecular structure in the human body.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln awards the Fred W. Upson Grant-in-Aid (most recently, in the amount of $5,000) for chemical research to a student who has lived in Nebraska for at least ten years. Examples of projects completed by Upson recipients include two studies of a cellular protein called a growth-factor receptor.
Penn State University
Penn State offers Undergraduate Discovery Summer Grants for those who wish to pursue original research. The end product must be your own independent result, although you are expected to receive some assistance from a faculty member, and each grant is for $3,000. That amount can be used to pay for your living arrangements as well as for the costs of the project itself.
The university will award 40 grants across all departments in the upcoming year.
Grants From Private Organizations
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has established the Undergraduate Research grants with two goals in mind, supporting studies of petroleum and training new scientists. To receive money, proposals must come from a non-doctoral department and involve chemistry undergraduates in the type of work that will prepare them for graduate research.
These are institutional grants worth $65,000 for a three-year period, and the ACS distributes 45 of them each year. As with the NSF grants, you should find out whether your school is usually a recipient, and apply through your chemistry department.