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Andrew W. Mellon Grant

In 1979 and 1983, the Trustees of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation gave grants to Dartmouth College to support student-initiated undergraduate research experiences in various fields relating to environmental and natural resource topics. We are fortunate that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation appreciates the value of these experiences and has seen fit to support these opportunities in a unique way.

The fund underwrites student-initiated research projects rather than internships. Projects will not be given academic credit but may be related to an independent study, research project or senior thesis pending arrangement with the appropriate academic department. The committee expects students to have a faculty or staff advisor for each project and to submit a well-written documented report at the conclusion of the work.

Mellon Grants provide for room and board, travel, equipment and other project-related expenses. Stipends are not normally provided. Costs for outside laboratory analysis and payment for work done by hired technicians or assistants will not be covered by this grant. Students may apply simultaneously for undergraduate grants available through other College centers. Students are also encouraged to work with the Financial Aid Office for assistance with planning for leave-term expenses.

Grant recipients will receive 90% of the approved budget in advance. The final 10% will be given upon receipt of two copies of the final report.


Preparing a Proposal

Proposals which have the best chance of approval are those which directly relate to an environmental issue/problem (where human or natural disturbances have potential to seriously alter or degrade the existing environment). Priority may be given to those projects which contribute to the solution of such a problem.

A list of previously funded proposals, sample proposals and final projects are available for review in the Outdoor Programs Office in Robinson Hall.

Attach a short paragraph introducing your project to the review committee. This memo is a good place to stress the relevance of your project to an environmental issue.

Application Deadlines

Proposals are considered the term preceding the one during which funding is needed. They may be submitted at any time but must be complete by noon on the the sixth Wednesday of the term.

Submit your proposal by email to

Your proposal will be distributed to the Mellon Grant Committee members for their review. The Committee will meet with the student applicants in the following two weeks.

Proposal Review

The Grant Committee meets once each term to consider proposals for the following term. This meeting is usually scheduled for the seventh week of the term. Each applicant meets with the committee at this time.

Be prepared to give a brief presentation of your proposal and to respond to questions and comments by the committee members.

Decisions will be announced the day following the committee meeting.

Criteria for Reviewing Proposals

In reviewing proposals, the committee will consider:

  1. How well the project is related to the purpose of the grant (a student-initiated study with a direct relationship to an environmental issue/problem/solution).
  2. Feasibilty of the project within the timeline and the budget proposed, the methodology given, as well as the student's academic preparation.
  3. Clarity of objectives for a proposal of this nature.
  4. Quality of the presentation.
  5. Facilities and resources needed and resources available.
  6. Nature of the final report which the applicant will prepare upon completing the project.

The Mellon Grant Committee

A committee to award these funds to appropriate and worthy projects was established by President Kemeny. Currently, it consists of:

  • Professor Douglas Bolger, Environmental Studies Program
  • Professor Francis Magilligan, Geography
  • Associate Professor Ryan Calsbeek, Biological Sciences
  • Assistant Professor Caitlin Pries, Biological Sciences
  • Professor William D. Leavitt, Earth Sciences Department
  • The President of the Dartmouth Outing Club
  • The Chair(s) of the Environmental Studies Division of the DOC
  • Director, Outdoor Programs Office


The final report is due within two weeks following the term in which the project was funded. If the project spans more than one term or is part of a larger project, a preliminary report is required at that time. The preliminary report should describe all progress to-date and emphasize the project's relevance to environmental issues.

A copy of the final report should be submitted to the Director of Outdoor Programs; the Director will circulate it to committee members.

Grant recipients should be prepared to make an oral presentation of their report. This presentation may be given to the Mellon Grant Committee or as part of a student forum.

Last Updated: 4/27/22