Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences

MJ Murdock Charitable Trust

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Grant amount: Up to US $60,000

Anticipated deadline: Oct 1, 2020

Applicant type: Private College / University

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington

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This program is designed to support research in the natural sciences at private, predominantly undergraduate colleges and universities in the Trust’s funding region. Proposals that describe original research in the natural sciences will be evaluated on the basis of their scientific merit, the scientific qualifications of the investigator or investigators that are proposing the research, and the feasibility of the work. Involvement of undergraduate students in the research is also considered important.

Program Goals

The goals of this Program are several. Primary among these goals is the development of excellent faculty and undergraduate students in natural sciences. Faculty and students are encouraged to work together in the pursuit of the knowledge and understanding of the basic principles underlying the function of natural systems.

It is anticipated that such research will be strongly educational in itself, but that it will also catalyze improvements in traditional science courses through inquiry‐based teaching. The primary criterion that will be used in evaluating proposals will be the perceived scientific quality of the research as measured by its likelihood to contribute significantly to fundamental knowledge in the field.

Awards will be made to support research periods of up to three years. However, because it is the intent of this program to provide initial support of research that will be ongoing, it is expected that most proposals will request three years of support

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


  • Eligible institutions are private predominantly undergraduate colleges and universities in the five‐state region of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Eligible institutions must offer a baccalaureate degree, but not a doctoral degree, in the sciences.
  • The principal investigator must either:
    • hold at least a two‐year faculty appointment in a natural science department, such as:
      • biology
      • chemistry
      • earth science or geology
      • astronomy
      • physics
    • or be a member of a department of environmental science doing research on biological systems or organisms
    • or be a member of a psychology department or its equivalent, doing laboratory neuroscience research.
  • Applicants may not have been supported previously by a grant in this program.
  • Only one proposal from an investigator will be considered at a given time.
  • There is no limit on the number of proposals that may be submitted by each institution.
  • Both new faculty and established faculty are eligible in this program.
    • New faculty may apply, through their institutions, if they hold an appointment of at least three years duration, and obtain approval of the necessary institutional support.
  • Only funding for direct costs for the proposed research may be requested.
  • Eligible costs include:
    • (Minor) equipment and supplies needed for the research; institutional cost sharing is expected for equipment. Some supplies money may be used to support continuing research during the academic year.
    • Student summer stipends, up to $4,000 per student per summer, for ten weeks of full‐time participation.
      • Institutions may strengthen their requests by offering room and board, if needed.
      • Institutions should provide portions of FICA on stipends as part of the institution’s direct cost share of the project.
    • Faculty summer stipends, up to $7,500 for up to ten weeks of full‐time participation in the research. For shorter periods, the stipend should be prorated. If stipend support is also being paid from other sources, a prorated reduction in this proposal is also appropriate.
      • Institutions should provide portions of FICA and Workman’s compensation on stipends as part of the institution’s direct cost share of the project.
    • Travel costs, only if such travel is required for the performance of the research; for example: for use of facilities not available on the home campus.
    • Special and unusual expenses, not listed above, that are essential in the performance of the research.


  • A clear commitment of the college or university to support the research will also strengthen a proposal, as will substantial participation of undergraduate students as research associates, rather than merely as technical assistants.


  • Ongoing programs previously supported by this program or other external funding agencies will not be eligible.
  • The following ineligible costs are not supported by this grant:
    • Faculty and student academic year stipends; postdoctoral stipends; graduate student stipends
    • In‐kind support, e.g. summer housing
    • Indirect costs and fringe benefits, except as noted above
    • Secretarial assistance, telephone, routine office supplies
    • Publication costs, books, and journals
    • Service or use charges for equipment housed at the home institution
    • Travel expenses to scientific meetings