Coordinate a Project SEED Summer Program

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December  Call for Research Project Proposals

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February Proposal Window Closes

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March Proposal Outcomes Shared

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June - Aug Research Projects Run

Project Proposals are open from December 1, 2023 to February 8, 2024. If you would like to be notified of upcoming deadlines and sessions, complete this interest form.

Note that this application will require an ACS ID to start a proposal.  An ACS ID is free to create, and membership is not required.  If you have an existing ACS ID account, be sure to use it.  If you have questions, please contact the Project SEED office via email at

Preparing for Project SEED 2024

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.  Mentors are in charge of the day-to-day research with the student.  Mentors may work with graduate students, undergraduate students, or other lab staff to help ensure that the SEED students are adquately supervised in the lab.

For a SEED program launch and flourish, a coordinator is required. The coordinator can serve as a mentor, or/and can ask colleagues to serve as mentors in academic institutions, local government labs, or local industries.  These mentors should provide the project proposals for students to work on over 8-10 weeks.  There should be ample chemistry components, and meaningful lab work (more than menial tasks). Mentors and coordinators can work together to provide non-technical activities for the students as part of the summer program, such as workshops on the college financial aid process, how to prepare applications, campus tours, or meet and greets with an ACS Local Section.

A new program should start with a small number of students initially, and grow over several years as mentors and coordinators gain experience in running the site. Contact with the academic administration or with the ACS Local Section is essential in managing program funds. Please see below for additional details on how to get started.

  • 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.  Note that coordinators can also serve as mentors.

    Guidelines for Mentors
    Mentors are central to the success of Project SEED because they 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 a key factor in establishing the student's goals, and expanding his/her horizons. For this reason, a mentor should work with no more than two SEED students during the summer.

    The Coordinator Report
    A brief report from the coordinator 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
    Mentors are encouraged to counsel students on applying to college and possible career paths.  The ACS Project SEED Staff will also ensure that students are aware of scholarship opportunities and undergraduate resources available through ACS.

  • Finding Students

    Start your Project SEED student recruitment efforts with contacting local high school science teachers and guidance counselors. You may have a greater pool of applicants if you recruit from schools with a large number of low-income students (Title I schools).

    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.

  • Fellowship Details

    Summer I and II students will receive a competitive fellowship with the minimum for each program determined by the Project SEED Committee of the ACS. The 2024 Summer I (first- time participating students) and Summer II (returning students) fellowships are $4,000 and $4,000, respectively. The costs of supplies or laboratory materials cannot be deducted from student fellowships. Both programs expect at least 8 weeks of participation at approximately 40 hours per week.

    Fellowship Funding
    The primary cost for the program is for student fellowship payments.  ACS provides full fellowship funding for participating students from first-time participating sites.  After the first year, sites are expected to provide a matching fund of 40%-50% of the total stipend, or $1,600 to $2,000 per student, is required from each returning program.  These matching funds do not include costs for transportation subsidies, supplies or lab materials, or travel costs for activities.  Sites are more than welcome to provide additional matching funds to meet local minimum wage or wage equity requirements, or additional program expenses.  More details on matching funds are included in webinar materials below.

    Fellowship Payments
    One check 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).

    • ACS will send the check (minus any matching funds) to a Project SEED designated account.  This can be a university department account, a local section account, or other.
    • 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.
    • Payments can be broken down into installments to the participating students at the mentor or coordinators' discretion.  We recommend the final payment  be sent to the student once they have completed and submitted their report and online survey.
    • ACS offers electronic deposit of Project SEED payments. Your institution or university may take advantage of this payment method by completing an Authorization of Direct Deposit Form as part of the application submission process.
  • Fellowship Stipulations

    Fellowship Award Stipulations

    • Fellowship funds will be awarded and determined by the number of students approved by the Committee.
    • 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 and must be returned to ACS.

    What if Student Quits the Program?
    If a student quits during the summer, the coordinator must notify the Project SEED office immediately via email. The disbursement of the fellowship award should be prorated and unused funds returned to ACS.

    Selecting Students
    The coordinator and/or mentor have sole responsibility for selection of eligible students.  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 that does not meet the eligibility guidelines unless prior approval is obtained by the ACS Project SEED office from the coordinator/mentor in writing. If special circumstances arise, please consult or contact us at

    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.

  • Training Resources and Materials

Full Schedule for Coordinators & Institutions
(assuming in-person research)
Dec 1st
Proposal application opens
Early FebruaryProposal application deadline
Late FebruaryProposal outcomes shared
Mid FebruaryStudent applications open
March - AprilCoordinators select participating students
June - August
Summer programs run

Join the ACS Project SEED community

Are you interested in ensuring the future of this program? It takes both students and donors to make it happen! Consider applying if you are an eligible student. If you would like to donate to the ACS Project SEED Program, please find more information below.


For more information

Phone: 1-800-227-5558 (ext. 8062)
Please email us for the fastest response.

ACS Project SEED Program
1155 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036