Theodore Dunham, Jr.
Grants For Research In Astronomy

2017 Applications Due: Monday, October 2, 2017

Since 1986, the F.A.R. has made annual Theodore Dunham, Jr. Grants for Research in Astronomy. The grants are named for Theodore Dunham, Jr., Scientific Director of the F.A.R. from its founding in 1936 until his death in 1984.

The Fund for Astrophysical Research invites applications each year for the award of small research grants. We will make our next grants by December, 2017, following receipt of completed applications, which are due on Monday, October 2, 2017.

Grant Purposes
Grants support research in astronomy. Grants are awarded for the acquisition of astronomical equipment, computer time, computer hardware or software that will be used in research. Preference will generally be given to proposals for facilities that are likely to be used by a number of astronomers. Cost sharing is encouraged. The F.A.R. does not fund equipment intended only for teaching, publication costs or travel costs to attend meetings. No salaries, administrative costs or overhead will be funded.

Grant Applicants
Grants are generally made to North American colleges, universities and not-for-profit observatories and only rarely to individuals. Except in rare instances, principal investigators are astronomers engaged in research and residing in North America.

Grant Size
Each year, the F.A.R. awards a small number of grants, which have ranged up to about $3,000 per grant but in particularly meritorious cases may be as much as $4,000 or $5,000. Any applicant seeking more than $3,000 should submit two budgets, one contemplating a grant of, for example, $2,000 or $3,000 and the other contemplating a larger grant, with a description of how the larger grant would enhance the project and a discussion of the funding sources for the remainder of the costs of the project.

The Grant Application
The proposal should be in the form of a letter that does not exceed two pages in length including the budget and its justification. The letter should begin with a brief abstract (50 to 100 words) summarizing specifically how the grant would be used, what program the grant would support and its importance to the scientific community. Copies of reprints or preprints may be included with the proposal if they are considered helpful to it. The applicant should describe the resources presently available for the project and the need for any requested equipment or service. The letter should be signed by the principal investigator and by the department chair or other appropriate institutional official and should be accompanied by the investigator’s curriculum vitae. Applications, including all attachments, should be assembled and submitted in four complete hard-copy sets to:

Wolcott B. Dunham, Jr.
Fund for Astrophysical Research, Inc.
c/o Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
919 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022-3904

The F.A.R. office is not in a position to photocopy attachments that are included in some of the four sets, but missing in others.

Time Table
Applications for grants must be received by Monday, October 2, 2017. Notification will be made and funds will be disbursed in December.

Grant Conditions
By submitting an application, the principal investigator and his or her institution agree that, if the requested grant is awarded, they will abide by the following conditions:

  • The granted funds will be used only in the manner described in the application.
  • Equipment purchased with F.A.R.’s grant will remain with the project for which it was purchased. When an investigator leaves, terminates the project, or has no further need for that particular equipment, he or she may request the F.A.R.’s consent that the purchased items be disposed of in another manner, and the F.A.R. may look favorably on such requests if written assurance is given by responsible parties that the equipment would continue in productive use for its useful life.
  • A report will be made at the termination of the project in the form of a letter, describing the particular benefits to the project made possible by the grant. It should include an account of the actual expenditures made, and receipts for all expenditures should be made available upon request. Copies of the report should be sent to the Chairman of the Grants Committee and to the F.A.R. office.
  • In addition, copies of all papers involving results obtained with items or services supplied by the F.A.R. should be sent to the Chairman of the Grants Committee and to the F.A.R. office upon acceptance for publication. Acknowledgment of the Theodore Dunham, Jr. Grant of the F.A.R. should be included in the customary note at the end of the paper.

Reimbursement of Page Charges
If a 2017 grant recipient submits the report described above of actual expenditures, and sends the F.A.R. office 8 copies of the first paper published that involves results obtained with items or services funded by the F.A.R. and the paper contains such an acknowledgment, the F.A.R. will reimburse $100 toward page charges.

Previous Grants
For a description of grants made in previous years, visit the Grant Recipients section of this web site.

Mailing List
If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive e-mail notifications about our grant-making program, please send us an e-mail at

Grants Committee
Our thanks are due the Grants Committee, currently Kenneth Janes and Richard Kron, for their excellent efforts.

For a discussion and analysis of the grants program, see:

Upgren, A.R., Aller, L.H., Dunham, W.B. and Philip, A.G.D.,
“The Fund for Astrophysical Research: Twelve Years of the Small Grants Program,”
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 31, 1159, 1998.