Norman Newell Early Career Grant Program

Dr. Norman Newell (1909-2005) was a pioneer in bridging geological and biological approaches to paleontology. His research focused on bivalve systematics, paleoecology and sedimentary geology of modern and ancient reefs, and the study of evolution, including mass extinctions. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he served as President of Paleontological Society (1960-1961) and was awarded the GSA Penrose Medal, SEPM Raymond C. Moore Medal, and Paleontological Society Medal, among many others.

Eligibility: Paleontologists who completed their Ph.D. within the last five years, who are members in good standing of the Paleontological Society, may apply for a Newell grant. Applications are encouraged from anywhere in the world, except those from countries with economic or trade sanctions imposed by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Newell Grants complement the Arthur Boucot Grants, and preference is therefore given to research projects in areas not covered by the Boucot Grant topical areas of morphology, taxonomy, and biostratigraphy. Applicants can only apply to one of these early career grants per funding year. To broaden the reach of Paleontological Society funds, recipients of a Newell grant may not apply for a Boucot grant, nor may they apply for a second Newell Grant. Similarly, recipients of a Boucot Grant may not apply for a Newell Grant.

Awards: Four grants of $5,000 each will be made each year. The number and size of awards may be adjusted in subsequent years at the discretion of the Paleontological Society Council. Awards are made directly to individuals and not to institutions, and awards cannot be used for salary, stipends, tuition, or institutional overhead.

Application: Applications must include a proposal and letters of recommendation, as described below. All materials must be typed and in English.

The proposal consists of four parts, which must be emailed as a single PDF file to the committee Chair, Dr. Phil Novack-Gottshall. The cover sheet and research proposal application template can be downloaded here.

  1. Cover Sheet. Complete all items on the cover sheet, including your name, email address, institutional address, telephone number, and the names and addresses of two professional paleontologists who are writing your letters of support.
  2. Research proposal. The proposal is limited to five pages, single-spaced in no less than 10 pt. font. The proposal must include a project title, an abstract, and a description of the research question, methods, and significance. Figures and tables may be included. The proposal must also contain a list of references, an itemized research budget, and a budget justification, all of which count towards the five-page limit.
  3. Curriculum vitae (CV), limited to two pages. The CV should include your name, education, current professional position, and selected publications. Additional information, such as employment history, awards, participation in international conferences, and other projects may also be included.
  4. PS Professional Conduct Form. Non-members: Please submit a PS Professional Conduct Self-Reporting Form as prescribed in the Paleontological Society Policy on Non-Discrimination and Member Code of Conduct. If, for any reason, you are uncomfortable about completing the form, you are welcome to contact a member of the ethics committee for a confidential conversation in advance. Members have already completed this form during the membership application or renewal process. 

Letters of recommendation are required from two professional paleontologists familiar with the applicant’s work. The letters must provide information on the significance of the proposed project, its feasibility, as well as the applicant’s ability to conduct the research. These letters must be emailed as pdf files separately from the proposal, directly from the referees to the Chair on or before the deadline in the grant announcement. Letters of recommendation should be sent to the committee Chair, Dr. Phil Novack-Gottshall. Place the last name of the letter writer in the subject line of the email message, followed by Newell; for example: Jones_Newell.

Deadline: Grant applications and letters of recommendation must be received by end of February 1 (by 12:00 midnight Pacific Time). Applications and letters received after that date will not be considered.

Proposal Review: The review committee will consist of three paleontologists. The head of the committee will be appointed by the President for a three-year term. The remaining two members of the committee are appointed by the committee chair for staggered two-year terms, such that one new committee members is appointed each year. The three committee members should be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and area of expertise. Awards will be announced via email on or before May 1 of each grant cycle.

Research report: A brief report on the research is required and is due on 1 May, one year following the awarding of a Newell grant. The completed report should be emailed as a single PDF to the Chair of the Norman Newell Grants committee. You are encouraged to include links to videos, photos, or other appealing illustrations that may be included on the Paleontological Society’s website and social media. The research report template can be downloaded here. The report should be no more than four pages and should contain the following six parts:

  1. Name and professional address.
  2. Project title.
  3. Brief description and significance of research results, including abstract. Please comment on whether the research is completed or ongoing.
  4. References, tables and figures.
  5. Presentations and publications resulting from the grant.
  6. Research expenditures in relation to the initial budget.

 2023 Norman Newell Early Career Grant Awardees

William Gearty
American Museum of Natural History
Title: Deciphering the drivers of Mesozoic marine tetrapod diversification

Logan King
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Title: Paeodomorphosis and the endocranial link between non-avian dinosaurs and birds: A morphometric approach

Valentina Rossi
University College Cork
Title: Investigating the preservation of Late Pleistocene fossil feathers from the Alban Hills volcanic complex (Rome, Italy)

Evan Saitta
University of Chicago
Title: Characterizing the diagenesis of sex hormones

2022 Awardees 

Brendan Anderson

Title: Characterizing influences on tropical western Atlantic productivity before and after the late Pliocene extinctions using records of upwelling and seasonal freshwater input determined using isotopic sclerochronology

Kimi Chapelle
Growing with dinosaurs: investigating Mussaurus patagonicus reproductive biology

Elena Cuesta Fidalgo
Evaluation of feeding behaviors in toothed ornithomimosaurs under a biomechanical approach

Joshua Slattery
Examining environmental controls on iterative evolution: a case study of ammonites in the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway

2021 Awardees

Michael Donovan
Responses of insect herbivores to glacial-interglacial climatic fluctuations in the Middle Pennsylvanian-early Permian
Madeline Marshall
Title: Paleoecological comparison of nutrient-rich vs. nutrient-poor environments, Permian of southern Idaho
Camila Martinez
Title: Paleoclimate estimations using wood functional traits
Lucy Roberts
Title: Novel ostracod geochemistry to reconstruct Quaternary palaeoclimates

2020 Awardees

Rebecca Koll
Title: Global trends in plant-insect interaction approaching the end-Permian mass extinction

Vera Korasidis
Terrestrial pollen carbon isotope record and ecology across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Lindsay Ann MacKenzie
Sedimentology of the Latah Fm with taphonomic implications for the preservation of the Clarkia Lagerstatte

Julieta Martinelli
Application of the emerging field of conservation paleobiology to uncover baselines for Olympia oyster restoration

Tara Selly
Taphonomic time-lapse: Tracking decay using x-ray tomography to reveal quantifiable decomposition through three-dimensional analyses

2019 Awardees 

Rehemat Bhatia
Title: Disentangling calcification models of deep time planktonic foraminifera

James Lamsdell
Title: Elucidating spatial variation in the structure and complexity of Lower Devonian marine paleocommunities from the Appalachian Basin

Alexis Mychajliw
Title: Ecosystems in asphalt reveal the biogeographic history of a Caribbean land-bridge

David Wright
Title: Diversification in the aftermath: testing ecological models of evolutionary radiation with phylogenetic paleobiology

2018 Awardees 

Jonathan Calede
Title: The evolution, ecology, and adaptive radiation of North American gophers

Ashley A. Dineen
Title: Temporal and spatial dynamics of ecospace occupation during the Permo-Triassic mass extinction

David Adler Gold
Title: The evolution of brachiopod biomineralization: a comparative genetics approach

Benjamin J. Linzmeier
Title: Ecology of ancient and modern squid from statolith geochemistry

2017 Awardees 

Cole T. Edwards
Was global marine anoxia a driver of the Late Devonian mass extinction?

Drew Muscente
Title: Imaging calcified fossils with synchrotron radiation for insights into the taphonomy, morphology, and systematics of early biomineralizing and reef-dwelling animals

Christy C. Visaggi
Bridging a biogeographic gap: Temporal and spatial variation in western Atlantic Plio-Pleistocene extinctions

Akinobu Watanabe
Title: Elucidating the drivers of cranial evolution in reptiles, amphibians, and their extinct relatives through large-scale morphometric analysis