Mary R. Dawson Grant

Theropod trackway, Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite, Wyoming, photo credit: Thomas Holtz

Mary R. Dawson Grant

© Michael Skrepnick

The Mary R. Dawson Predoctoral Fellowship Grant recognizes and supports graduate student research excellence. This award recognizes research excellence and promote a successful career in Vertebrate Paleontology by supporting the recipient’s dissertation research travel, data collection and analyses.


  • Current membership in SVP is required. You will not be able to apply for the award unless your membership is current in the system. 
  • The applicant must be a PhD candidate (i.e., completed qualifying exam or equivalent) at time of application.
  • The successful applicant will be chosen on the basis of scholarly contribution of the proposed project, excellence in student professional activities, and leadership and promise of a productive and important professional role in Vertebrate Paleontology. 

HOW TO APPLY                                                                  

Please utilize the SVP online award submission system to apply. Any materials sent by e-mail, fax or mail will NOT be reviewed. Once you click “submit” the award application is complete, so be sure to double check that all fields and uploads are exactly as you wish BEFORE clicking “submit”. Be sure to name all uploaded documents with your name and a description of the attachment (e.g. John Smith Photo). Have the following items ready when you submit your application: 

1) A SINGLE pdf file that includes the following items in the order listed below 

  • Detailed description of dissertation research project (three pages, single-spaced maximum). Include the hypotheses you aim to test and proposed methods, the intellectual merit of the proposed research and its broader relevance to advancing the field of Vertebrate Paleontology, and a brief outline of organization of the research, the timetable and logistics of your proposed project. Proposals that exceed the page limit will be automatically rejected.
  • Literature Cited
  • Budget and Justification Document (one page maximum). Include a breakdown of how the award would be used and a list   of other research support (current and applied for), travel expenses, permit costs, professional expenses, supplies, additional expenses.
  • Curriculum Vitae

2) Nominee Photo 

3) A Word .doc version of a brief (300-500 word) bio of the applicant

4) Arrange to have 2 letters of support (with full contact information for the senders) sent to One must be from your dissertation advisor, and must include a statement that the applicant has been admitted to candidacy for a PhD (or equivalent).


  • Please follow the guidelines for content listed under the first bullet point for “How to Apply” 
  • Successful applications for this award must present a hypothesis that the project will test.
  • Successful applications for this award must describe the methods that will be used in the project sufficiently to allow their evaluation.
  • Successful applications for this award must articulate the broader significance of the project and its potential results for the field of vertebrate paleontology and the broader community (scientific and/or public).
  • To ensure your application addresses the critical points noted above, delineation of the project under subheadings is encouraged, based on the following (or a similar) model: 

        Objective(s) and Hypothese
        Methods (including Timetable and Logistics)
        Broader Significance to Vertebrate Paleontology and Other Fields

Applications for the 2024 Dawson Grant are now closed.


Dr. Richard Blob, Chair, Dawson Grant Panel

Learn more about Dr. Dawson