Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1946 and works to move the field of chemistry forward. Its awards are given to support early-career faculty, undergraduate students, mentorships, research, and accomplished chemists, as well as to acknowledge individuals who have contributed to increasing diversity in the field.

IP TAKE: Unlike many higher ed STEM funders, Dreyfus isn't just interested in research. Most potential awardees should also be able to show their teaching chops and/or a willingness to take undergrads under their wing.

PROFILE: The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, now seven decades into its existence, was first set up by Camille Dreyfus “as a memorial to his brother Henry,” and “became a memorial to both men when Camille Dreyfus died in 1956.” Its objective is “to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances throughout the world.”

“In broad terms,” the foundation says, its “programs support accomplished young faculty, develop leadership in environmental chemistry, support undergraduate research and emeritus faculty, and fund lectureships at primarily undergraduate institutions.” At a more modest level, it also has shown an interest in increasing diversity in the chemistry field.

Two of the foundation’s more prominent awards are directed at supporting “teacher-scholars,” and “young faculty” in particular. The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award is a $75,000 unrestricted research grant for an early-stage professor in a department with a doctoral program who has a proven track record as both an educator and a researcher. The Henry Dreyfus Award uses similar criteria, but is a $60,000 grant and usually directed at professors working in departments that do not grant Ph.D.s. This second award places a heavier emphasis on teaching than does the Camille award, and also focuses on “accomplishment in scholarly research with undergraduates” in addition to research achievements. In both cases, potential awardees are nominated by their institutions, and only one nomination can be submitted annually per institution.

Another research award, the Postdoctoral Program in Environmental Chemistry, is open to academic institutions and other nonprofits where the principal investigator is conducting “innovative fundamental research in the chemical sciences or engineering related to the environment.” The two-year, $120,000 award is allocated for the P.I. “to appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow in environmental chemistry." Note that the appointed postdoc “is usually not already identified nor in the principal investigator's lab at the time of application,” and that “research activities need not be located in traditional departments in the chemical sciences, and collaboration across departments and institutions is encouraged.”

One unique award that comes from Dreyfus is directed at emeritus faculty - a population whose expertise and experience are often overlooked when allocating funds. Dreyfus’s Senior Scientist Mentor Program gives “$20,000 over two years for undergraduate stipends and modest research support” in a mentorship with an emeritus faculty member. Most of this award is intended to go towards the undergrad stipend, and no funding may be allocated to graduate student work.

Another uncommon award Dreyfus sponsors is the Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions. This $18,500 award is divvied up between funding to bring “a leading researcher to a primarily undergraduate institution to give at least two lectures in the chemical sciences” as well as “substantively interact with undergraduate students and a broad range of faculty.” Some of the funds are also intended to provide “support [for] two undergraduates in summer research” who “are expected to work with mentors in contemporary chemistry.”

On a more significant scale, there is also the Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences, a $250,000 award given every two years that “recognizes an individual for exceptional and original research in a selected area of chemistry that has advanced the field in a major way.” Although it always falls under the chemistry banner, the specific topic for which the award is given changes each year that the prize is awarded. That said, the nominating process is quite open: anyone can nominate a candidate, the award recipient can be from within or outside of the U.S., there are no restraints on the number of nominees coming from the same institution, and “institutional approval" of the nomination is not needed.

Finally, the Dreyfus Foundation has also established two awards geared at increasing the diversity of the field of chemistry, in terms of both gender and socioeconomic background. Both are administered by the American Chemical Society. The first of these, the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, is a way of acknowledging those “who have stimulated or fostered the interest of women in chemistry, promoting their professional development as chemists or chemical engineers.” The award gives $5,000 to the awardee and $10,000 to an eligible nonprofit of his or her choice “to strengthen its activities in meeting the objectives of the award.” Awardees in this case “may come from any professional setting,” academic or otherwise. Along similar lines, the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences is nearly identically structured, except that it is given to those who have worked to encourage “underrepresented” students “to elect careers in the chemical sciences and engineering.”

Each award program has its own application process and deadline, so review the award you’re interested in for more specifics.


  • Mark J. Cardillo, Executive Director
  • Gerard L. Brandenstein, Associate Director