Philip M. Smith Graduate Research Grant for Cave and Karst Research

Cave Research Foundation

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Grant amount: US $1,000 - US $3,000

Anticipated deadline: Mar 1, 2021

Applicant type: Graduate Student

Funding uses: Conference, Research, General Operating Expense

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



Beginning in 2015, the Cave Research Foundation named the graduate research grant program in honor of Philip M. Smith, CRF's founding president (1957-1965). Philip Meek Smith (1932-2014), a native of Springfield, Ohio, and graduate of Ohio State University with degrees in geology and science education, was a national and international leader in science, technology, and public policy for five decades. He is best known for his work on polar research programs with the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, and the National Science Foundation, and served three U.S. presidents – Nixon, Ford, and Carter – on issues of science policy.

From the 1950s through the 1960s, Smith was deeply involved in caving, helping to found the Central Ohio Grotto of the National Speleological Society and taking part in the NSS C3 expedition in Floyd Collins Crystal Cave, Kentucky.1 In the early 1950s, there were few American scientists pursuing cave-related research, but advances in exploration like the C3 expedition showed immense potential for sustained exploration and study. CRF was formed to help provide this support, largely modeled on similar organizational support for the International Geophysical Year, in which Smith was then deeply involved.

From its inception, CRF has always placed importance on multidisciplinary, integrated research.2 Inspired by Phil Smith's lifelong support for science and his early influence on the organization of CRF, the graduate research grant program is dedicated in his memory.

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


  • Proposals must be for graduate student research in cave and karst studies leading to either a master's or doctoral degree.
  • Proposals may be in any field of the earth, natural, or social sciences as long as the research addresses topics related to caves or karst.
  • Students must be enrolled in a degree-granting institution.
  • Competition is open to U.S. and international institutions, but application materials must be in English.
  • Allowable Budget Items:
    • Travel costs to and from the field or while in the field. 
    • Per diem or daily allowances for food and lodging while in the field. 
    • Expendable field or laboratory supplies necessary for the project. 
    • Specialized analyses necessary to the project.
      • Examples might include radiometric dating, isotopic analyses, and specimen thin sections.
    • Specialized field or laboratory equipment, if it is necessary to the project and justifiable.
      • Examples might include dedicated data loggers, specialized cave equipment, or other specialized measuring equipment.


  • Preference is given to research directly related to the student's thesis or dissertation project.


  • Unallowable budget items:
    • Facility and administrative costs.
    • Salary for the principle investigator(s) or other student employees. Salary for field workers from the host country on international projects may be allowable if justified.
    • General equipment or instruments that have a long use life outside the project, such as computers, cameras, scales, and software are generally not allowable.