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A Grant Program of
The Cosmos Club Foundation
In Support of Graduate Students
At Washington Area Universities


The program provides grants to meet specific research needs not covered by other supporting funds, including but not limited to special supplies, travel, unanticipated expenses that would enhance the work, etc. Specifically excluded are general financial support, tuition, and living expenses (except in connection with supported travel).

Scope of Program

There is no restriction as to academic field, but the project should be focused on objective scholarly research rather than commercial or political activity, social activism, or other non-academic goals. The number of grants to be awarded is not rigidly fixed, but is expected to be at least fifteen. Amounts of awards will be determined individually, but are contemplated to be in the range of $500 to $5,000.


Applicants must be enrolled, on a full-time or part-time basis, in a program leading to a graduate degree (Masters or Doctoral) at one of the local institutions listed below under “Eligible Institutions”.


Grants will not exceed $5,000. Every research proposal must include (in the space provided on the application form) a brief budget statement that lists clearly the funds requested and explains how the money will be allocated. The budget must also state what other support has been sought or received for the work proposed.

Items of equipment and special supplies are eligible, but the equipment should be expendable. Items that the institution ought to provide or that graduate students can be expected to own are not eligible. Items and services that will outlive the project are not considered expendable and are generally not eligible.

Travel for field research or to research facilities to consult documents or to study artifacts in situ or to conduct cultural exploration is generally eligible. Travel to consult with an expert practitioner may be considered.


The major criterion for selection is the excellence of the research proposal. No specific format or organization is required. The proposal should include a research question (hypothesis) and clearly explain how it will be tested or investigated. It is important to describe how and when the research will be performed, and why the results will be important or useful. Our preference is for topics not anticipated when the overall research program was proposed and therefore not covered by support originally planned.

It is essential to make the project description understandable to scholars in other fields, while retaining enough detail to satisfy a specialist in the field of the proposal.

Pay attention to the stated limits on length. The CV must be limited to one page. The proposal statement must not exceed one page; space for the required brief budget statement is provided on the application form.

Do not request support for work that will be conducted prior to the announced date of awards, or so soon thereafter that the funds, if awarded, could not be applied to it.

Funds for tuition or related expenses for personal professional education will not be provided.

Generally funds will not be provided to support remuneration to participants in studies or stipends for research assistants. If the proposal is for part of a group or team effort, the proposer’s role and level of individual participation must be clearly described. All Cosmos Scholar grants are made directly to individual graduate students, not to their host or sponsoring institution. Any restrictions or conditions the institution may impose on the Scholar’s use of granted funds must be clearly described.

Before submitting your proposal, please make sure you have abided by the guidelines as follows:

  1. I have not asked for funds to be provided for any expenses identified as ineligible.
  2. I have developed a modest and appropriate budget (e.g. seek out less expensive modes of travel)
  3. I have written the proposal in language that can easily be understood by scholars in other fields while retaining enough detail to satisfy a specialist in the field. (Avoid cutting and pasting from a dissertation or thesis proposal.)
  4. I have adhered to the page limits. Exceeding them makes your proposal ineligible.
  5. If knowledge of a foreign language is necessary for the research to be accomplished, indicate your degree of proficiency in the language.
  6. Obtain your advisor’s approval and carefully complete your application well in advance of the Nov. 1 deadline to avoid hasty mistakes that often disqualify applications.


The entire 2019-20 application must be submitted online.

The Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, November 1, 2019 at 12 midnight.

Questions and other messages may be sent by email to

Evaluation and Selection

Successful proposals will be selected by the Cosmos Club Foundation Trustees after evaluation and recommendation by panels chosen by the Foundation. Proposals will be judged on both substance and clarity. Failure to conform to the guidelines and budget requirements will disqualify the proposal; please review the proposal carefully before submitting. The Foundation may make awards in amounts different from those requested. Decisions of the Foundation are final and not subject to review. Winners’ names will be posted below, no later than the 1st of February 2020, and recipients of grants also receive a letter requiring a reply to the Foundation before funds are disbursed. The process is very selective; only about 10% of the proposals submitted are funded. Recipients who are designated Cosmos Scholars receive recognition and support at a critical stage of their careers. The program thus has a two-fold public benefit— graduate-student assistance and an increase in knowledge.

Conditions of Award

Cosmos Scholars are expected to provide a summary report of the results of the project in support of which they have received awards, and to indicate how the award contributed to the project. This report is expected within one year of the date of the award, and the Foundation may post the report on its website. About a year after receipt of their grant, grantees are invited to present the results of their research at an event hosted by the Foundation at the Club. Publications resulting from supported research must acknowledge the Cosmos Club Foundation’s support.