Request for Proposals

Download the Request for Proposals as a PDF

Download the RFP


The Fund for Astrophysical Research in The New York Community Trust invites applications for research grants in astronomy and astrophysics. Since 1986, the Fund has awarded annual Theodore Dunham, Jr. Grants for Research in Astronomy.

Grants are awarded for the acquisition of astronomical equipment, computer time, and computer hardware or software for use in research. Preference is generally given to proposals for facilities that are likely to be used by a number of researchers. Cost sharing is encouraged. The Fund does not make grants for equipment intended only for teaching, publication costs, or travel costs to attend meetings. No salaries, administrative costs, or overhead will be funded.

Grants average between $1,500 to $3,000 per grant, but in particularly meritorious cases, grants may be as much as $5,000. Grants are only made to non-profit colleges, universities, and other non-profit organizations engaged in astronomical research in the United States. Principal investigators must be researchers working at one of these organizations and must reside in the United States. No grants are made to individuals.

Applications for 2021 grants must be received by Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
Notification of awards will be made by Friday, December 31, 2021.

Submission Materials

A completed proposal submission should include the following:

  1. A brief abstract (50-100 words) summarizing:
    • how the grant would be used;
    • what program the grant would support; and
    • the program’s importance to the scientific community.
  2. A description of the need for the requested equipment or service and the resources currently available for the project (no more than 2 pages).
  3. An itemized project budget: expenses and other confirmed/pending revenue sources (if applicable). 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.
  4. Primary Investigator’s Curriculum Vitae.

The proposal should be signed by the principal investigator and by the department chair and/or other appropriate institutional official authorized to request and receive grant funds. (Please make sure all proposal materials are single spaced and in a 12-point font.)

Submission Directions

Please complete the Proposal Cover Sheet and upload and submit the proposal to The Trust’s Grant Portal by 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

  1. Merge items 1-4 into a single PDF file no more than 25 MB in size, using the following file format: “Applicant Organization Name.pdf”.
  2. Fill out the Proposal Cover Sheet for the Fund for Astrophysical Research 2021 RFP. (Please make sure the top of the Proposal Cover Sheet says it is for the Fund for Astrophysical Research 2021 RFP.)
    1. For purposes of the staff and board ethnicity breakdown, you may add just the principal investigator’s information if the entire institution’s information is unavailable. These fields cannot be left blank.
    2. If you are applying from an academic institution or research university, your department administrator can provide the EIN, staff composition, and/or other information requested on the Proposal Cover Sheet.
    3. At least one NTEE code is required (last section of the Proposal Cover Sheet). Most applicants will have one of the following codes:
      • U30 Physical and Earth Sciences: For organizations that conduct research in the physical and earth sciences, i.e., the area of science that studies inanimate objects, processes of matter and energy, and associated phenomena.
      • U31 Astronomy: For organizations that conduct research in astronomy, the physical science that addresses matter and energy in the universe using observational techniques such as spectroscopy, photometry, interferometry, radio astronomy, and optical astronomy.
      • U99 Science and Technology: For organizations that clearly provide science and technology research services, not fitting in the two categories above.
  3. Because you will need to submit the proposal and the Proposal Cover Sheet together, we recommend making sure that your proposal is ready for submission prior to starting the Proposal Cover Sheet.
  4. When you have completed the Proposal Cover Sheet, you should upload a PDF copy of your proposal (Items 1-4). You will know you have done this when it says “You have successfully uploaded your PDF.”
  5. Once uploaded, check the certification box at the end of the application page and click submit. You will get an email confirming the letter/proposal has been received. This email will include, as a PDF attachment, the Proposal Cover Sheet you just completed.

Proposals submitted after Wednesday, September 15, 2021 will not be considered for funding.

Questions about the RFP or the submission process may be emailed to Melanie DeLorenzo at [email protected].

Download the Request for Proposals as a PDF

Download the RFP

Previous Grants

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

Grants Committee
Our thanks are due the Grants Committee, currently Kenneth Janes, Stella Kafka, 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.