Project SEED Guidelines


Guidelines for Coordinators

Project SEED coordinators are the primary operators of a Project SEED program. Coordinators are responsible for establishing programs, identifying mentors, recruiting students, fundraising, and organizing activities such as field trips.

Establishing a SEED Program

For a SEED program to be established and flourish, it is desirable to have a coordinator. The first step for the coordinator is to identify mentors and suitable projects. The coordinator can call on colleagues to provide contacts who can be mentors in academic institutions, local government offices, or local industries. The new program should be geared to a small number of students initially, as the various people involved learn how to make it work. Contact with the academic administration or with the ACS Local Section is essential in managing program funds. The necessary materials to get started can be obtained from the Project SEED ACS Washington office.

Finding Good Mentors

Coordinators can identify mentors through the staff administrators of local college science departments, government scientists, or industry administrators. The coordinator can look for scientists who do active research in the summer and for departments that maintain a Web site where research summaries are often located.

Finding Students

Contacting local high school science teachers is an excellent place to start in your effort to recruit Project SEED students. High school science teachers and guidance counselors are extremely happy to help recruit students. You may have a better chance if you recruit from schools with a large number of low-income students.

The central/district office may be able to tell you which schools have a high proportion of low-income students or even give you the students’ names. Students on government lunch assistance programs are considered economically disadvantaged. Upward Bound, a summer program funded by the Department of Education, exists on many college and university campuses and may also be an excellent source for Project SEED students.

Guidelines for Mentors

Mentors are central to the success of Project SEED because the provide students with a meaningful research experience. A Project SEED mentor can be any scientist involved in scientific work in several arenas including academic, industrial, nonprofit, and government facilities.

Students/Mentor Ratio

The development of a personal relationship between the student and the mentor is considered a key factor in raising the student's goals and in expanding his/her horizons. For this reason, a mentor should work with no more than two SEED students during the summer.

The Mentor Report

A brief report from the mentor must be sent to the ACS Project SEED office and may be sent to the other funding sources at the conclusion of the program. Local contributors should be mentioned in news articles where possible.

High quality photographs, 35mm slides, or videotapes of SEED participants in the laboratory setting are always welcome because they enhance our public relations efforts with potential contributors.

Photographs must show the participants wearing appropriate safety equipment and goggles. Please identify all individuals pictured and include their titles and institutions.

College and Career Counseling

ACS provides SEED students with materials to help prepare students for college and careers in science. Mentors are encouraged to counsel students on applying to college and possible career paths.

Guidelines for Participating Institutions


Summer I students should receive a minimum of $2,500, and Summer II students a minimum of $3,000. The cost of supplies or laboratory materials should not, under any circumstances, get deducted from student's fellowship. Both programs should last at least eight weeks with students participating approximately 40 hours per week.

Fellowship Payments

Two checks will be sent from the ACS national Project SEED office to the institutional sponsor or the ACS local section officer for disbursement to the student(s). The first check (the amount approved minus $500) will be sent upon receipt of the Student Financial/Information Statement. The second check ($500 per student) will be sent upon receipt of all required paperwork, including the Follow-up Survey, Student Report, and Mentor Report.

In cases where this procedure conflicts with the institution's administrative practices, other appropriate action can be considered. However, under no circumstances may mentors/coordinators deposit Project SEED monies into their personal funds. Mentors who disburse funds before the receipt of approved funds from Project SEED do so at their own risk.

ACS offers "Automatic Direct Deposit" of Project SEED student payments. Your institution or university may take advantage of this payment method by complete an Authorization of Direct Deposit Form and submitting it to the address indicated on the form.

The SEED Office recommends this payment method for faster payment distribution. Contact the Project SEED office to request an Authorization form.

Funding from Participating Institutions

Participating institutions are encouraged to provide supplementary funds for each student. Also, the participating institution - or another source of local funds - will be expected to bear any overhead expenses.

Fellowship Awards

Fellowship funds will be awarded and determined by the number of students approved by the Committee. The initial amount of the award letter may vary and will be subject to the final number of participants who complete the program. If the total number of participants drops after the award letter is issued and received by the institution, the amount of the funds approved will be reduced accordingly.

Fellowship funds provided by ACS are only valid during the year they are approved. Any unused balance cannot be carried over to a future program year.

Available funds will be distributed across the programs based on the percentage matching funds and size of the program. Matching funds from each program are highly recommended to be at the 50% level.

What if Student Quits the Program?

If the student terminates the program prior to completion of his/her obligation, the Project SEED office must be notified immediately in writing. The disbursement of the fellowship award will be prorated and the unused funds must be returned to Project SEED, at the American Chemical Society, before the end of the institution's program.

Operating the Program

ACS coordinates Project SEED and conducts the national-level fundraising activities. Acting under the authority of the participating institution, the local SEED coordinator usually works with the mentor(s) to select the student(s) and to operate the program in accordance with the financial and academic guidelines set out above by ACS.

Selecting Students

The participating institution has primary responsibility for the proper selection of eligible students within the guidelines of the program. ACS is responsible for the administration of the program and the approval of applications for students whose eligibility is outside the guidelines set for Project SEED. Students should not start working until the Student/Financial Statement form and proof of family income are approved by the ACS Project SEED office.

ACS reserves the right to deny funding for any student does not meet the guidelines described above unless prior approval is obtained by the ACS Project SEED office from the coordinator/mentor in writing. If special circumstances arise, please consult contact us at (800) 227-5558 ext. 4380.

Accident Insurance

The American Chemical Society provides an excess insurance coverage for Project SEED students, faculty members or chaperones. The period covered is limited to the 8-10 week Summer I and II programs each year. The insurance coverage is not extended beyond the Project SEED summer activity. The activities covered are limited to scheduled, sponsored or supervised activities of Project SEED.

This insurance does not cover any conditions for which the insured is entitled to benefits under any Worker's Compensation Act or similar law. The ACS accident insurance policy coverage does not extend to damage or loss of personal property of Project SEED participants.

Although the American Chemical Society purchases accident insurance annually for Project SEED for the duration of the program, it is the mentor's duty to ensure that the student works in an environment where all necessary and usual safety precautions have been taken.

The student must understand both the precautions taken and the reasons for such precautions. Students should wear safety goggles in the laboratory at all times. A guideline booklet, “Safety in the Academic Chemistry Laboratories,” for faculty and students will be provided to mentors and students.