The Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University periodically awards travel grants that support collection of specimens and data relating to the study of comparative zoology, which are known as Putnam Expedition Grants.
Preference is given to requests in two categories:
- Collecting living specimens in regions where habitats are threatened
- Collecting fossil specimens in regions most likely to hold important clues for unraveling evolutionary strategies.
Support is provided solely to defray costs of travel and related subsistence expenses incurred in pursuit of these objectives.
All specimens collected during a Putnam Expedition should be deposited in the permanent collections of the MCZ. Researchers are expected to deposit tissues for accessioning together with the corresponding whole (voucher) specimens. Curatorial staff will transfer these samples to the MCZ Cryogenic Collection for long-term storage in liquid nitrogen.
Eligibility for Putnam Expedition Grants is restricted to current faculty, postdocs (including term-limited research associates) and students in the MCZ. Applicants may apply as individuals or as leaders of expedition teams. Research by Harvard undergraduates is eligible for support, but such work should be conducted under the direct supervision of an MCZ faculty member, who submits the proposal.
Applicants must complete a standard application form. Applications include a project description explicitly stating the objective, expected activities and results, anticipated travel itinerary, and should address how permits and legal compliance issues will be met. A budget, a curriculum vitae and a letter of support (graduate student and postdoctoral applicants) are also required. Letters of support may be submitted separately. Applications are submitted by email.
Graduate student applicants
Indicate whether you have completed your doctoral qualifying exam and if you already have applied, or plan to apply, for extramural support for research-related travel. Also indicate if you expect to apply for additional Putnam support beyond the current proposal (and, if so, the approximate amount). Please ask your dissertation advisor to prepare a letter that evaluates 1) the merits of your travel request vis-à-vis your dissertation research, and 2) the likelihood of additional Putnam grant applications in support of this research beyond the current proposal. This letter should be submitted separately from the main application by the deadline below. Higher priority for funding may be given to applicants who have not previously received a Putnam grant and who have passed their qualifying exam.
Please ask your advisor to prepare a letter that evaluates 1) the merits of your travel request vis-à-vis your research, and 2) the likelihood of additional Putnam grant applications in support of this research beyond the current proposal. This letter should be submitted separately from the main application by the deadline below. Higher priority for funding may be given to applicants who have not previously received a Putnam grant.
Proposals are reviewed twice a year. Application deadlines are October 1, 2021 (fall semester) and March 11, 2022 (spring semester). Each grantee must provide a final report that summarizes scientific accomplishments derived from the award within six months of travel completion. Reports for prior awards must be received before new applications from the same individual will be considered.