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10 Research Grants for High School Students

Applying for a research grant as a high school student will provide you with a unique and invaluable opportunity to elevate your independent research projects. Securing financial support not only gives you the necessary resources for conducting experiments, gathering data, and accessing specialized equipment, but it also validates the merit and potential impact of your work.


Grants offer a bridge between your passion and practicality, enabling you to pursue ambitious scientific inquiries that may otherwise be constrained by limited resources.


Applying for a research grant will empower you to transform your curiosity into tangible contributions to the scientific community, fostering a sense of accomplishment and paving the way for your future academic pursuits.


Here are 10 different research grants for high school students that you can make the best out of!


With the goal of broadening the participation of high school students who are in groups that have been traditionally underrepresented and under-served in STEM fields, the National Science Foundation’s High School Student Research Assistantships’s funding is designed to support and foster interest in the pursuit of studies in both the Mathematical and Physical Sciences.


The National Science Foundation hopes to also support students whose research will address modern and compelling scientific questions, as well as educate others on the future of an advanced high-tech workforce, and promote discoveries that will meet the needs of the Nation.


Comprised of six different Divisions - Astronomical Sciences (AST), Mathematical Sciences (DMS), Materials Research (DMR), Chemistry (CHE), and Physics (PHY), as well as the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA) - the National Science Foundation takes the position that diversity is a necessary component to achieving research excellence.


On their website, it states that to receive funding, your request must create an interest in the pursuit of studies in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences and enhance the participation of high school students who belong to groups that have been traditionally underrepresented and under-served in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


Application Deadlines: Supplement requests can be made under an existing

NSF award or within a proposal for a new or renewal NSF award with rolling deadlines.

Grant Amount: Up to $6,000.

Eligibility: High school students.


The American Chemical Society provides grants for both high school and undergraduate students interested in the chemical sciences. ACS offers grants to support chapter activities, collaborative research projects, ACS meeting travel, and more. Designed to support and encourage budding scientists, these grants provide financial assistance for projects, research, and educational endeavors in the field of chemistry.


By awarding funds to high school students, the ACS aims to foster a passion for scientific inquiry, nurture talent, and facilitate access to resources that may otherwise be limited. This initiative not only empowers the next generation of chemists but also contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge and innovation at the high school level.


Application Deadlines: Applications vary depending on which grant you prefer.

Grant Amount: Grant amount also varies, see here.

Eligibility: High school and undergraduate students.


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ SEPA program backs educational initiatives promoting the engagement of pre-college students (from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade) from varied backgrounds, specifically targeting those underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Its goal is to inspire these students to pursue advanced studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


A SEPA project may focus on one or more of the following activities: Courses for Skills Development, Research Experiences, Mentoring Activities, Curriculum or Methods Development, and Outreach. The SEPA program strongly encourages submitted projects to utilize and display quantitative and computational skills.


SEPA funds two types of projects. The first being classroom-based projects for pre-college students and teachers. The second being informal science education (ISE) projects conducted in outside-the-classroom venues, such as science centers, museums and libraries. More information can be found here.


Application Deadlines: Rolling deadlines and acceptances.

Grant Amount: N/A.

Eligibility: High school students.


The Spencer Foundation’s Small Research Grants Program supports research projects that work towards the improvement of education. This program is “field-initiated”, meaning proposal submissions do not have to respond to a specific request for a particular research topic, discipline, design, method, or location. The Spencer Foundation grants funds to research that is both technically sound, intellectually rigorous, and relevant to the most pressing questions and current problems in education.


Proposals to the Research Grants on Education program must be for academic research projects that aim to study education


Application Deadlines: Applications are due December 6, 2023.

Grant Amount: Up to $50,000.

Eligibility: High school students.


Research Assistantships for High School Students is a supplement for PIs (a researcher who oversees a lab) with an active grant from the Directorate for Biological Sciences and aims to foster interest in the pursuit of the biological sciences. This grant is generally less than $6,000 per student. The National Science Foundation recognizes that by supporting high school students’ research projects in the Biological Sciences, there will be a broader spectrum of future scientific research as those students go onto pursue a higher education.


To apply for this grant, much like the first grant from the National Science Foundation listed above, students must submit a research proposal that will foster their interest in the pursuit of studies in the Biological Sciences and help broaden participation of high school students, particularly those who are underrepresented in the STEM field.


Application Deadlines: There is no deadline, you must submit your desired start date and the duration of supplement.

Grant Amount: Up to $6,000

Eligibility: High school students.


The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is a champion in promoting financial well-being through its support of rigorous and innovative research. Committed to advancing the knowledge base of the financial education community, NEFE funds projects that delve into financial behaviors and contribute valuable insights. By emphasizing effective educational practices, NEFE plays a crucial role in enhancing financial literacy and empowering individuals to make informed financial decisions. NEFE awards research grants that have the potential to make a profound contribution to the field of financial literacy and seek to improve the public’s financial well-being.


Application Deadlines: You may apply year-round.

Grant Amount: Depends on the project.

Eligibility: Anyone, independently or with an organization.


The Alfred E. Friend, Jr., W4CF, Educational Activities Fund offers yearly grants to support educational initiatives organized by amateur radio groups, placing a particular emphasis on projects that engage youth and promote teacher development. Eligible projects should include activities and ongoing education related to wireless technology, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as radio technology. Priority, however, is given to applicants actively involved in local radio clubs and backed by community fundraising efforts. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Foundation oversees the administration of the fund and all organizations dedicated to the education, licensing, and advancement of amateur radio pursuits are invited to submit applications.


Application Deadlines: Accepted year round.

Grant Amount: Up to $3,000

Eligibility: High school students.


The Research in the Formation of Engineers (or, RFE) program supports the study of the formal and informal educational process and its influence on how students become engineers. Proposals are accepted for research projects or design and development projects that work to advance knowledge on an engineering education. The objective of the RFE program is to enhance the comprehension of professional development. It aims to dive into the fundamental understanding of the processes and mechanisms that exist beneath the surface of engineering while also illustrating the ways in which professional formation can be achieved or is currently being accomplished.


Research proposals are particularly welcome in the following areas: Research that addresses lifelong learning by the engineering workforce, research on the impact of engineering education research, research that addresses culture change in engineering education, and more.


Application Deadlines: Year-round.

Grant Amount: Up to $350,000

Eligibility: High school students.


Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, provides Grants-in-Aid of Research to support undergraduate and high school student research projects in various scientific disciplines. The grants cover research-related expenses, and as a student, you can apply for funding to support your independent research endeavors. Since 1922, the Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR) program has provided students with valuable educational experiences. By encouraging mentorship between students and mentors, the program promotes scientific excellence and achievement through hands-on learning.


For Sigma Xi Members, award amounts range from $500 to $2,000 for undergraduate applicants. While for non-members, award amounts for non-members, both graduate and undergraduate, are available up to $1,000. Both members and non-members are eligible for designated funds


Application Deadlines: March 15th 2024.

Grant Amount: Up to $1,000 for non-members.

Eligibility: High school and undergraduate students.


Society for Science’s STEM Research Grants offer assistance to middle and high school educators as they involve their students in scientific research projects. Preference is given to schools that cater to students from low-income backgrounds and demographics that are underrepresented in STEM fields. In the context of this program’s grants, a research project is characterized as a student's independent exploration that involves experimentation to address a scientific question or problem that falls beyond the scope of standard classroom activities.


Application Deadlines: October 2024.

Grant Amount: Up to $5,000.

Eligibility: Any teacher employed full time in a high school or middle school in the United States can apply on behalf of their students.


If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!


Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 


The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more. 


You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 


Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!


Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!


Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here


Location: Virtual

Cost

  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 


Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you want to conduct research in STEM and other fields as a high schooler, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students, founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Mandy Brenner is a current junior at Harvard University. She is concentrating in History and Literature and loves to read and write in her free time.


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