Petroleum Research Fund - New Directions Grants

American Chemical Society

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Next deadline: Oct 16, 2020 2:00pm PDT

Later deadlines: Mar 13, 2021 1:00pm PST

Grant amount: US $110,000

Fields of work: Petroleum Engineering

Applicant type: Faculty

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



Program Goals

The goals of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund are:

  • To support fundamental research in the petroleum field, and
  • To develop the next generation of engineers and scientists through support of advanced scientific education.

The New Directions Grants Program aims to stimulate a new direction of research for established faculty, and to support the careers of their student scientists and engineers.

New Directions Grants

The New Directions (ND) grants program provides funds to scientists and engineers with limited—or even no—preliminary results for a research project they wish to pursue, and who intend to use the PRF-driven preliminary results to seek continuation funding from other agencies. ND grants are to be used to illustrate proof of concept/feasibility. Accordingly, they are to be viewed as seed money for new research ventures.

A "new research direction" is something different from previous research performed by the lead principal investigator (lead PI). But, it may involve a field of science or engineering in which others are already working. Therefore, the proposed research should not be in the same direction as—or overlap with—current projects in the lead PI’s research group. 

Preliminary results and/or communications are not required.

Award Information

Amount: $110,000 over 2 years.
Estimated number of grants awarded: ~ 75 each year.

Nature and Scope of the Research

ACS PRF Research Grants are made to non-profit institutions for regularly-appointed scientists whose research may be sponsored in accordance with the ACS PRF TransferAgreement:

  • The recipient (ACS) shall use all funds exclusively for advanced scientific education and fundamental research in the ‘petroleum field,’ which may include any field of pure science which in the judgment of (ACS) may afford a basis for subsequent research directly connected with the petroleum field.
Note that fundamental research is required as opposed to applied research or methods development. When submitting an application, you will be asked to select a scientific discipline that PRF supports.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The lead principal investigator must demonstrate that this is an entirely new research direction from what the lead principal investigator has done to date. 
  • The lead PI must be a regularly-appointed faculty members at academic institutions in countries where ACS PRF can administer grants are eligible. 
    • Certain other long-term scientific appointments may be eligible.
  • In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria:
    • The non-profit institution submitting the ND proposal must certify that each individual listed as a principal investigator on the cover page qualifies as a principal investigator under the institution’s Principal Investigator policies.
    • In view of the long-standing policy of The ACS Petroleum Research Fund to give priority to support of students (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral), each principal investigator (lead and co-PI) must be eligible to serve as the formal, official supervisor of graduate students in graduate degree programs.
      • Emeritus faculty who may supervise post-doctoral fellows are also eligible to apply.
    • The terms of appointment of the principal investigator (and, if appropriate, the co-PI) must promise reasonable continuity of service through the life of the grant.
    • Generally, the above criteria are automatically met by tenured or tenure-track principal investigators.
      • If you or the co-PI are not tenure-track, attach a brief statement to your application describing your appointment and include a Department Chair’s letter affirming that you meet all three of the eligibility criteria cited above.
  • Read more about Eligibility, Terms, and Conditions for ND Grants.


  • The PRF Advisory Board makes relative rankings of proposals and recommendations for funding on the basis of the following criteria (in order of importance):
    • Newness of the proposed research for the lead PI.
    • Overall quality, significance, and scientific merit of the proposed research, including the extent to which it will increase basic knowledge and/or stimulate additional research.
    • Impact of PRF funding the research, including the effect on the principal investigator’s overall research program.
    • Qualifications or potential of the principal investigator(s) and adequacy of the facilities to conduct the research.
    • Extent to which advanced scientific education will be enhanced through the involvement of students in the research.


  • Excluded from consideration will be: 
    • Lead PIs who have had previous support or current funding for the project, and
    • Proposals presenting ideas that are a logical extension of ongoing research from the lead PI’s laboratory.
  • The PRF New Directions grant program is not a source of funding for ongoing, extant research projects.
    • Rather, it is designed as a source of funds for new concepts and new projects for the lead PI and his/her research group. 
    • Proposals deemed not to be a “new direction of research” will be denied without external review, or may be rejected by the PRF Advisory Board. 
  • Principal investigators (lead PI or co-PI) may submit only one research proposal per meeting.
  • Principal investigators (lead PI or co-PI) may not hold more than one active PRF research grant at a time.
  • Principal investigators (lead PI or co-PI) with an active PRF research grant, including a grant on time extension, may not submit an application for a new grant.
  • Principal investigators (lead PI or co-PI) may have only one ND grant application considered in a 12-month period.
    • Thus, a principal investigator (lead PI or co-PI) who has an ND proposal denied may not submit another ND proposal until the Advisory Board meeting one year later.
  • ACS PRF does not consider proposals in the areas of:
    • Biomedical, pharmaceutical or drug-delivery studies, including synthesis of compounds for biological evaluation
    • Pollution or environmental remediation studies, anthropogenic effects of petroleum; environmental engineering
    • Groundwater hydrology
    • Paleoclimatology studies
    • Micro- and nanofluidics
    • Sensors
    • Nanotubes and graphene
    • Nanoscience not directly related to petroleum-derived materials
    • Semiconductors and superconductors
    • Quantum dots
    • Low temperature phenomena
    • Subatomic physics
    • All forms of solar energy
    • Photovoltaics; batteries
    • Wind energy and wind farms
    • Hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen storage, hydrogen generation from nonpetroleum sources
    • CO2 capture
    • Social, economics, or history research.
  • Research on biosystems is excluded, including whole-cell, organelle, tissue, organ, or whole organism studies; metabolic pathway research; biopolymers including blends and block; biofuels, biomass, and biosensors.