OVERVIEW: The American Chemical Society (ACS) is one of the leading professional societies for chemists in the United States. Its awards run the gamut and include fellowships, scholarships, professional development opportunities, and research support across numerous career stages and sub-disciplines.
IP TAKE: If you’re working in the field of chemistry from high school through the post-doctorate level and you're willing to do a little digging, ACS almost certainly has something to offer you.
PROFILE: The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a prominent “professional organization for chemists and related occupations.” As with any professional society, ACS operates on a number of fronts—public education and advocacy, peer-reviewed journals and other publications, member career development and networking, job fairs, and other activities. ACS offers millions of dollars annually in research funding across a range of chemistry-related disciplines.
ACS divides its funding into separate programs including Grants, Awards, ACS Fellows, Scholarships, and ACS Fellows. Each of these funding streams is, in turn, subdivided into a number of sub-areas.
Its Grants program supports research, education, and community projects. The program offers research grants, fellowships, community recognition grants, and education grants.
There are four types of research grands offered by ACS:
- Petroleum Research Fund back studies directly related to petroleum and fossil fuels. These grants are viewed as seed money from ACS to help investigators “initiate a new research direction.”
- TEVA Pharmaceutical Scholars, which supports investigators in the organic and medicinal chemistry fields.
- Herman Frasch Foundation Grants program offers awards to nonprofits studying agricultural chemistry.
- Green Chemistry Grants back work toward advancing research in the field.
ACS’ Public Policy Fellowship “places one fellow in the ACS Office of Public Affairs (OPA) for one to two years,” where they will engage, educate, and advocate to public decision makers. Its Congressional Fellowship program is jointly administered with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and places fellows in the Congressional office of their choice. According to the ACS’ website, fellows work as legislative assistants, “advising on a range of science policy issues and interacting with constituents.”
The society’s Community Recognition program offers three grants:
- ACS Community Recognition Grants are modest awards that go to community level projects and programs that “advance the public’s understanding of chemistry.”
- Corporation Associates Local Section & International Chapter Grants back ACS Local Sections and International chapters.
- Corporation Associates Seed Grant is a modest award of around $5,000 dedicated to education in chemical sciences, advancing public knowledge of the chemical industry, and enhancing safety and professionalism within the industry.
The Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowship, is a two year program that supports PhD candidates who will “pursue research at the chemistry and biology interface.” Fellows received $55,000 per year from ACS.
Finally, ACS’ Education Grants are aimed at high school students and educators to enhance chemistry classroom learning, professional development, and support ChemClub community activities. A small travel grant is also available to ACS student chapters.
In short, there is something for nearly everyone at ACS, whether you're a high school student or an accomplished researcher. If you’re working in the field of chemistry and willing to do a little digging, ACS almost certainly has something to offer. Grantseekers should keep in mind that deadlines vary by program, so it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on ACS’ website to stay on top of those dates.
- Donna J. Nelson, President