General Award Processes and Terms
“There is no satisfactory substitute for excellence”Dr. Arnold O. Beckman
Guided by Dr. Beckman’s philosophy and the Foundation's mission, we support young investigators, new ideas, and foster the invention of instruments, methods, and materials that open up new avenues of research. The Foundation employs a rigorous and thorough review process in all of our programs, calling upon panels of outside experts to recommend the top applicants for awarding. The general process and award terms for our programs are described below.
Proposal Review Processes
The Foundation is committed to providing a fair and thorough review of all proposals that are submitted in response to our grant programs. We utilize both internal committees and panels of external reviewers to ensure a scientific review of proposed research projects. Members of these committees and review panels are recruited from our own internal research, past awardees of the Foundation, and recommendations from applicants.
If you would like to be considered as a subject matter expert reviewer, please fill out this form and we will review your submission.
All reviewers agree to a confidentiality agreement and conflict of interest policy in advance of receiving any proposals to review. Prior to assessing proposals, all reviewers are provided materials by the Foundation on the review process, the Foundation's mission, and specific review criteria.
Proposals submitted to our programs are first reviewed internally against the posted program eligibility criteria and to check for completeness. These proposals are then distributed to our scientific review panels, and each reviewer conducts an independent online review of each proposal through the Foundation's online portal. The reviews consist of numerical scores against review criteria, overall rank for each application, as well as descriptive comments. Reviewers then meet during virtual review panel calls that are moderated by members of our Executive Committees (see Advisory Bodies below) to discuss each proposal. The comments from these review panels are held in confidence by the Foundation and will not be shared with applicants.
At the conclusion of the review panel calls, the Executive Committee members meet to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal from their panels and determine the top proposals to recommend for award. These recommendations are sent to the Foundation's Board of Directors for final approval.
Specific eligibility requirements for each program are listed on the program pages.
For all Foundation programs, applicants must be:
- A U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident at time of award.
- Affiliated with a U.S. nonprofit 501(c)3, or equivalent, organization.
Some programs are by invitation-only.
As a matter of policy, the Foundation does not provide grants to:
- Non-U.S. organizations or institutions
- U.S. National Laboratories or service academies
Please contact the Program Officer/Administrator listed on the program page if you have a question about your eligibility status.
Foundation Award Terms
Program-specific Award Terms will be distributed to applicants for review during the application process and must be signed by an Institution's Contracts or Grants Officer (with legal authority to commit the Institution) prior to an application being considered for award. These Award Terms will specify the amount of the award, timing of fund distribution, allowed use of the funds, and other legal clauses.
For all Foundation programs, as a matter of policy, Grant funds shall not be used for the following:
- Overhead and indirect costs.
- General institutional expenses.
- General fundraising campaign expenses, such as dinners and mass mailings.
- As a grant or contribution for the benefit of any person other than the Awardee or as a contribution to unified funds or to a pooled fund that is itself used to award grants of any kind.
- Social science, religious, political, or other research that does not fall within the Foundation’s areas of interest.
Failure to comply with the Award Terms may result in an audit, return of all materials and equipment purchased using Grant funds to the Foundation, and a refund of all unexpended funding.
Foundation Advisory Bodies
Review Panels: Typically comprised of 3-5 technical experts, each member of a review panel conducts an in-depth review of all proposals assigned to their panel and participates in the discussion of the merits and concerns of each proposal. Reviewers are recruited annually from our past awardees, recommendations from applicants, and experts in the field.
Executive Committees (EC): Responsibilities include assisting the Foundation's program staff with development or modification of program guidelines, moderating the proposal review panels discussions, and developing the recommendation of top proposals for award. Executive Committee members are recruited by Foundation staff based on prior service on Foundation review panels or with a specific area of expertise related to the program. Each program has its own Executive Committee, and EC members typically serve a 4-year term.
Scientific Advisory Council (SAC): Established in 1980 by Dr. Beckman, the SAC assists the Foundation and Board of Directors in maintaining scientific excellence in all grants and activities undertaken by the Foundation. Responsibilities of the SAC include the development of application criteria and new grant programs, assessments of current programs, and liaison to the Board of Directors to provide scientific advice. Members of the SAC are elected by the Board of Directors to serve a five-year term, which may be renewed once. SAC members are nominated based on prior service to the Foundation and to ensure that the membership represents a broad range of technical expertise in chemistry and life sciences.
Board of Directors (BOD): Responsible for the oversight of the Foundation's programs and activities, and for all final funding decisions for operations or program grants. Board of Directors members are recruited through national searches to identify individuals with the necessary business, financial, and/or scientific expertise. Members can serve a maximum term of 10 years.
Reporting and Award Monitoring
Each of the Foundation's programs requires awardees to submit annual reports for the duration of their award term. The reports include updates on research progress, publications and patents, and financial reports, including any changes to research subject matter or budgeting.* In addition, the Foundation may request a short video from each awardee to reflect on their research progress and the impact of the Foundation's award on their career.
Awardees may also be invited to participate in our annual Beckman Symposium to present their research progress in a presentation or poster format.
*The reporting process differs for the Beckman Legacy Award, a high school program. Awardees are asked to submit reflection statements at the end of their first college year.