ACS Petroleum Research Fund

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 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.

Proposal Submission

We are not currently accepting proposals for the ND, DNI, UR, and UNI grant programs.  The Fall Submission window will be from Monday, August 12, 2024 to Friday September 6, 2024 (Considered at the May 2025 ACS PRF Committee Meeting). The Spring Submission window will be from Monday, February 10, 2025 to Friday March 7, 2025 (Considered at the October 2025 ACS PRF Committee Meeting).

2023 Nobel Prize Winner

Dr. Bawendi received a PRF G grant--starter grant for new faculty--in 1991.

2023 Nobel Prize
“The ACS PRF generously supported my initial work on quantum dots. Their commitment to funding fundamental research was an important component of my early career success.” Dr. Moungi Bawendi (MIT)

Celebrating 65 Years of Awarding Research Grants

In celebration of 65 years of Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) Grants, the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) has published a special open access virtual issue. This issue is a retrospective featuring articles recently published in JACS by established chemists who have at some point in their career received PRF funding.

Recipients of PRF Grants were invited to share their PRF stories.

Grantees in the News

ACS PRF grantees receive award recognition for their significant contributions to science.

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The Petroleum Research Fund
American Chemical Society
1155 16th Street, NW | Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 872-4481 | Fax: (202) 872-6319
General Inquiries: | Staff Contacts