World War I and the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council: A Research Competition

Type: Prize

Name: World War I and the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council: A Research Competition

Location: Washington, DC

Application Deadline: February 28, 2018

Sponsoring Institution: The National Academy of Sciences (NAS)


The National Academy of Sciences is a private tax-exempt corporation that provides expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Our work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.

President Lincoln signed a congressional charter forming the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1863 to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science.” As science began to play an ever-increasing role in national priorities and public life, the National Academy of Sciences eventually expanded to include the National Research Council (NRC) in 1916, National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1964, and National Academy of Medicine (NAM), which was established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine. These entities are collectively referred to as The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies).

Request for Proposals 

On the occasion of the centennial of World War I, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are pleased to announce an open competition for scholars under the age of 301
to research and write a scholarly paper on a major aspect of how scientists and engineers in the United States were engaged in the World War I effort (see The focus, drawing on the creation of the National Research Council associated with World War I, is on institutional changes (e.g., the charter of the NRC) and the research enterprise in America. In effect, scholars should look at how the war experience shaped long-term relationships among scientists and
engineers and U.S. policymakers regarding national security and public welfare. (For a brief account of the NAS/NRC in the context of World War I visit

A short bibliography of essential texts on the history of the NAS/NRC and a link to a finding aid for relevant materials in the archives of the National Academy of Sciences are available at

Qualified scholars should submit, by November 30, 2017, a 500-word concept document that describes the scope of the proposed research. In addition, applicants should provide a list of possible primary sources of evidence to be used in the proposed research (one page maximum). The five best entries will be chosen by an NAS review committee (see, and authors will be invited to submit a fully developed research paper. Upon acceptance of the invitation,
invitees will enter into an agreement with NAS to provide a final paper of between 8,000 and 10,000 words by September 10, 2018. They will be provided with a grant of $5,000.00 for research expenses and invited to utilize the NAS’ records under the mentorship of NAS’ professional archivists. The scholars will be expected to present a 20-minute summary of major research findings at a public conference at the NAS in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018.4 Additional discussants and participants will be included in the public event. The review committee will subsequently deliberate and announce the winner of a $10,000.00 first prize.

Payment of the $5,000.00 research grant will be made in two installments. An initial award of $2,500.00 will be made to finalists upon receipt of a signed copy of an award acknowledgement and verification of mailing address. A second award of $2,500.00 will be disbursed to finalists upon receipt by the review committee of a satisfactory progress report by July 1, 2018. The overall prize winner will receive an additional $10,000.00. The disbursement of any prize amount will be reported as gross income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the end of the tax year on IRS Form 1099. The NAS’ legal obligation is limited to the above-stated amounts, and the NAS will have no responsibility for costs incurred beyond this amount.

The review panel will seek to facilitate the publication of final papers in an appropriate venue.

Application Process and Selection Criteria 

The competition is open to scholars born after November 12, 1988. Individual scholars and research teams of not more than two individuals may apply. Although the topic is fundamentally historical, submissions from the perspective of any relevant scholarly discipline are encouraged.

500-word concept documents and a list of the primary sources of evidence to be used in the proposed research (one-page maximum) must be submitted on the web at by midnight (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) on November 30, 2017.

Authors of concept proposals and of final invited papers will be asked to sign a statement certifying that they are the original author of submitted documents. Upon submission, invited papers will be automatically screened for potential plagiarism. Should plagiarism be discovered, the author(s) will be disqualified.

Authors of invited papers must submit an interim progress report to the review panel by midnight (U.S. Eastern Daylight Time) on July 1, 2018.

Invited final, full papers must be submitted as electronic Word documents to by midnight (U.S. Eastern Daylight Time) on September 10, 2018.

The following table shows the timeline and requested application materials:

Stage of Application Process Date
All prospective applicants are asked to submit 500-word concept documents and a one-page list of primary sources of evidence to be used in the proposed research Deadline: November 30, 2017
Successful applicants invited to submit a full research papers (full papers must be invited) Announcement: January 10, 2018
Invited applicants submit interim progress reports to the NAS’ review committee Deadline: July 1, 2018
Invited applicants submit full papers of between 8,000 and 10,000 words exclusive of references Deadline: September 10, 2018
Invited applicants present their major research findings at the NAS in Washington, DC Conference: October 26, 2018
Selection by review committee of $10,000.00 prize winner Announcement: November 9, 2018


Funding for this competition has been provided by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.

Correspondence and requests for additional information about the competition should be directed to

For more details, please visit

Contact Information:

Posted: August 29, 2017