M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

SCientific Research

Unleashing human potential through research and innovation 

Our benefactor believed deeply in the power of scientific research to inspire innovation and discovery to improve the quality of life for all. The Murdock Trust works with scientific researchers, educators, and institutions to drive leading-edge research and education across a diverse collection of scientific disciplines to help serve the common good of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

A few of the areas in Scientific Research we fund include:

Advance Manufacturing · Biology · Biomedical Research · Chemistry · Clean and Sustainable Energy · Disease and Medical Diagnostics · Genetics · Geology · Marine, Earth and Environmental Science · Materials Science and Engineering · Nanofabrication · Physics and Astronomy · Robotics

Scientific Research Grantee Stories

Click on the arrow next to each story title to read more.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

A new mass spectrometer catalyzed diverse and groundbreaking discoveries involving woolly mammoths, human diet, and more.

Northwest Schools Honored for Scientific Research & Collaboration

More than 400 students from 28 institutions across the Pacific Northwest gathered for an impactful 31st annual Murdock College Science Research (MCSR) Conference.

Collaborating to Understand the Milky Way

A collaborative project between four institutions is yielding a greater understanding of the Milky Way Galaxy and the history of its formation.

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

High-resolution instrumentation supports advancements in spotting and stopping cancer at its earliest stage.


General Scientific Research Grants 

Scientific Research Program 

Supports cutting-edge scientific research from scientific biomedical research institutions or major universities, mainly in the form of major scientific instrumentation. Learn more ›

Commercialization Initiation Program 

Supports the commercialization of bench discoveries to market. Learn more ›

Partners in Science Program 

Supports secondary school science teachers and pre-service science teachers as they expand their scientific horizons by pursuing cutting-edge research with mentors in an academic or national lab. Learn more ›

Targeted Research Grants Primarily for Private Undergraduate Colleges and Universities 

Research Start-Up Grants for New Science Faculty 

Augments start-up research packages offered to new tenure-track faculty hires in the natural sciences at private institutions to assist with initiating their research program. Learn more ›

Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences 

Supports the establishment of a research program in the natural sciences and engagement of undergraduate students in the process. Learn more ›

Murdock College Science Research Program 

By invitation only. Strengthens the research efforts in the natural sciences of eleven private colleges with the capacity for division-wide, faculty-student research programs. Learn more ›

Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award & Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award 

Recognizes one senior faculty with an established, productive, and nationally recognized research program, and one junior faculty with demonstrated exceptional potential to establish such a program. Learn more ›

RAISE (Research Across Institutions for Scientific Empowerment) – A Program of the Collaborative Research Alliance 

Supports the collaboration of multiple institutions in interdisciplinary natural science research projects. Learn more ›

Strategic Project Grants

Strategic Grants for Capital and Equipment Projects 

Supports capital projects, such as science buildings or laboratory renovations, for private predominately undergraduate institutions, as well as special projects for major universities and select biomedical institutions.  

Limited support for equipment/technology and capital projects that will have transformative impact on the institution to privately funded schools and two-year Tribal colleges, for dental and nursing programs (those that offer public-facing health services to the community), and select workforce development programs, particularly those in technology. Learn more ›

Scientific Research Programs

Murdock College Science Research Program

The goal of the MCSRP — designed exclusively for private four-year liberal arts colleges in the Trust’s funding region — is to strengthen these institutions’ faculty and undergraduate student research efforts in the natural sciences. We award grants to colleges and universities with the capacity for developing division-wide faculty-student research programs that can be sustained with institutional resources and external funding.

Learn More ›

Partners in Science

When secondary school science teachers and pre-service science teachers engage in cutting-edge research alongside a scientific mentor, it enriches their students and schools. Teachers become part of a teacher-researcher cohort and learn strategies for translating their research experience into authentic inquiry learning in their classroom.

Learn More ›

“There is incredible talent within Pacific Northwest colleges, universities, and scientists, with enormous potential to change the world for the better.”

Dr. Moses Lee, Ph.D., Vice President, Scientific Research Grants and Programming
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The Trust guides nonprofit organizations through every level of their development through grants and other resources.

The Trust has a wealth of knowledge and experience that can make all the difference to you and your organization.