E-an Zen Fund for Geoscience Outreach Grant

E-an Zen Fund for Geoscience Outreach Grant

Application Deadline: June 30, 2022 
Geology & Society Board Decisions: July 31
Notification and Awards: Aug 31

Application and
Selection Process

Zen Fund Grant Info

The Geological Society of America and the Geology & Society Division are pleased to announce the grant opportunity for Geology and Society Division members interested in developing innovative methods to bring geoscience knowledge to public audiences. Two grants of $1,500 each will be awarded to fund projects designed by the applicants to communicate geoscience information to a lay audience with the goal of increasing the understanding of geoscience and its impact on society among non-geoscientists and decision-makers. Applicants may apply as individuals or as groups, depending on the best fit for their project design. While the grant application requirements are intentionally broad in order to encourage creative thinking and innovation, review of applications will emphasize the potential for impacting communities that traditionally have not had significant exposure to the geosciences.

Required application materials:

  • A short resume/curriculum vitae highlighting relevant experience (no longer than 2 pages) for each project member.
  • Each applicant’s GSA member number (potential collaborators and community partner need not be GSA members or affiliated organizations).
  • A project proposal (no more than 1000 words) detailing:
    • The form and content of the outreach project.
    • The target audience for the project, and the anticipated impact in number and type of audience members reached.
    • The goals of the project and how the outcomes of the project could be measured.
    • Any background information to support the efficacy of such a project.
  • A budget detailing how the $1,500 grant would be used to fund the outreach project.
  • A letter of support from a faculty advisor or community partner organization who would supervise or collaborate in implementing the project.

Examples of potential project types include, but are not limited to:

  • Science communication training events.
  • Developing and promoting geoscience storytelling through podcasts or live events.
  • Community outreach through festival or farmer’s market tabling.
  • Development of a traveling exhibit.
  • Events or activities to impact policymakers.

Within one year of award disbursement, grant recipients are required to submit a brief (2-3 page) report on the project results, and either (i) give a presentation (oral or poster) at the annual GSA meeting or a section meeting, or (ii) deliver an alternative product to share the project results with GSA members.

Application materials should be submitted by June 30, 2022 in a single PDF to David Spears, Geology & Society Division Past-Chair, at david.spears@energy.virginia.gov.


Application and Selection Process

Application Cycle

Application Deadline: June 30
Geology & Society Board Decisions: July 31 Notification and Awards: August 31

While projects will not be exclusively “academic” in nature the grant will remain inclusive of projects that will involve students, and therefore benefit from awards that can be used during the academic year. This schedule also aligns well with fiscal year planning, which might be beneficial for any community partners involved.

Selection Process

Voting members of the G&S Management Board holding office during the annual application cycle will serve as the Review and Selection Board for the E-an Zen Fund Geoscience Outreach Grant. In addition, one former GSA/USGS Congressional Science Fellow or recent GSA policy- related fellow will serve as a member of the Review and Selection Board for a two-year term.
The former fellow will be appointed by the G&S Chair in consultation of GSA Director for Geoscience Policy. Selection of proposal(s) will take place by consensus or, absent consensus, by majority vote. As an informal, ad hoc committee, deliberations and/or votes of the Review and Selection Board will not be recorded in Geology & Society Division minutes.

Selection Criteria

The goal of the E-an Zen Fund Geoscience Outreach Grant is to increase the understanding of geoscience and its impact on society among laypeople and decision-makers, therefore the following criteria will be used to evaluate and rank proposals for potential funding:

  1. Clarity of project design: are the goals achievable within the timetable and budget?
  2. Size or breadth of the target audience
  3. Potential to engage new or different audiences not historically exposed to the geosciences
  4. Does the project employ creative methods or pedagogies?
  5. Sustainability and transportability: could the project lead to a more sustained impact?
  6. Track record(s) of the lead applicant and/or team in outreach activities
  7. Involvement of non-geoscientists in the project as community partners
  8. Are the goals potentially measurable (even if not within the scope of the project)?

No single project is likely to excel in all criteria; evaluation will balance strengths and weaknesses of the project and applicants, while favoring innovation over risk-aversion.

All successful proposals will be well organized with well-written narratives.