M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Despite an overall decline in college enrollment across the country, the number of students entering college to pursue STEM increases every year. One of the most critical factors in their retention is a strong science community at their institution with faculty who support their education and model research well.

Three female college students doing research in a classroom wearing gloves and protective eyewear
Lewis and Clark College

Historically, private undergraduate institutions (PUIs) have had fewer resources than many research universities to support this type of faculty capacity. The Murdock Trust is committed to strengthening a diverse pipeline of students entering scientific fields, and that includes students graduating from PUIs. For this reason, the Trust offers a Research Start-Up Program for New Faculty to supplement costs for the establishment of new tenure-track science faculty at PUIs who will contribute significant research and educational value to the department. 

College of Idaho arch and reflection in puddle of water
College of Idaho

At our Fall 2023 Grants Meeting, Trustees approved four grants that supported start-up research at three PUIs in our region: 

  • Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, received two grants: one to support the hiring of a behavioral biologist conducting field- based work, and one to support the hiring of an open field position in physics.  
  • Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, was awarded a grant to support the hiring of a biochemist.  
  • The College of Idaho in Caldwell, ID, was awarded a grant to support the hiring of a new position in cell or molecular biology.
Two women wearing protective eyewear with one woman writing with a sharpie
Pacific Lutheran University

The Trust has held long partnerships with these three institutions, including through our Murdock College Science Research program and conference. We are grateful for their commitment to a robust, engaged scientific community in our region, and for the ways they invest in faculty for the sake of advancing current research and training future scientists – and all for the sake of the common good.  

To learn more about our Research Start-Up Program for New Faculty or about our investments in the scientific community of the Pacific Northwest, visit this page.  

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