The Petroleum Research Fund is an endowed fund, managed by the American Chemical Society that supports fundamental research directly related to petroleum or fossil fuels at nonprofit institutions (generally colleges and universities) in the United States and other countries.
ACS Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) grants are intended as seed money, to enable an investigator to initiate a new research direction. The investigator should not have published or received financial support from another funding agency for the proposed research. Also, proposals that the ACS PRF Committee feels are a logical extension of an investigator’s previous research may be denied as “not a new direction.”
Since the first ACS PRF grants were approved in 1953, several grant programs have evolved to serve segments of the scientific community, including “new investigator” grants and grants to support researchers in departments that do not award doctoral degrees.
Scope of the Fund
Proposals must be for fundamental research in “the petroleum field,” which is defined in our founding document as “petroleum, natural gas, coal, shale, tar sands and like materials.” Fundamental research encompasses the properties of these materials, whereas the petroleum industry undertakes “applied research,” which is outside the scope of ACS PRF. However, please note that while the PRF Trust imposes certain restrictions, PRF currently funds many topics of current interest in sustainability and green chemistry. These include, for example, new catalysts and upgrading/utilization of methane and carbon dioxide. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact a PRF program officer or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding areas.
Recently, the geoscientists on the Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) Committee re-evaluated the scope of "PRF-relevant" geochemistry, renamed PRF Science Panel 2 (Geochemistry and Biogeochemical Cycling), and revised the criteria for microplastics.
See our list of Research Areas that are supported and not supported by ACS PRF.