The Francis H. Brown African Scholarship

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“The Francis H. Brown African Scholarship is a much-needed resource for aspiring East African earth scientists and botanists. Our father believed deeply that Africans should be given the same opportunities as Europeans and Americans to research our shared history and be stewards of the natural wonders that reside in their region. This fund represents his commitment to making his vision a reality.”

– Erica Brown Gaddis and Elise Brown Ersoy

Purpose of the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund

The purpose of the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund is to expand human knowledge and scientific interest in earth sciences and botany related to human origins by providing financial assistance to East African researchers and students pursuing research in these areas. The fund is further intended to support research that builds on the work of Dr. Francis H. Brown and builds capacity in the earth and botanical sciences in East African institutions and countries.

About Francis H. Brown

Frank Brown was a geologist whose study of the Omo-Turkana basin provides the basis for the timeline of human evolution. He devoted more than fifty years to mapping and analyzing the geology of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, and his work provided a way to place fossil finds in chronological order.

During his time working in Ethiopia and Kenya, Frank Brown became an expert in not only the geology but also the plant life of the Omo-Turkana basin. He studied several languages, including Kiswahili, Kikamba, Kikuyu, and Turkana. He also sponsored the education of many university students from Ethiopia and Kenya.

He taught at the University of Utah where he served as chair of the department of geology and geophysics and received the Rosenblatt Prize, the highest honor of the University of Utah. He also served as co-chair of The Leakey Foundation’s Scientific Executive Committee from 1993 until his untimely death in September 2017.  We are honored to work in partnership with his daughters, Elise Brown Ersoy and Erica Brown Gaddis, to fulfill one of Frank’s wishes, the creation and funding of the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund.

Please Note: As of October 2022, we have updated the eligibility requirements, maximum award amount, and allowable expenses for the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund. If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us at [email protected]


Students or researchers of African heritage who are citizens of Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia or Eritrea who (a) are pursuing a graduate degree at an accredited university, preferably from, but not limited to, an institution located in sub-Saharan Africa or (b) have completed their doctoral degrees not longer than ten (10) years prior to the time of application for funding from this source. Applicants must be pursuing research in earth sciences and/or botany related to human origins. Applicants shall demonstrate a commitment to a career in their field of study with an emphasis on research and teaching in his/her country of citizenship following the completion of his/her degree.

Award Amount

The maximum award amount is $30,000 per applicant per year.


Proposals will be accepted for support twice yearly. Proposals must be submitted by January 10 for awards given in May and July 15 for awards given in December.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]

Apply now!

Application documents

During the application process, you will be asked to upload attachments to your application. Please follow the instructions below for each of the attachments. All of the attachments except the applicant photo must be uploaded as PDF documents.

Proposal Body

Please describe your plan for study or training, research interests, professional goals and prospects for employment in your home country. Please limit this attachment to three pages, single spacing, 12 point typeface.

For those who hold a current Francis H. Brown African Scholarship and are requesting funds for another year, the proposal body should contain a short summary of the above as well as a progress report. Please note that the current grant must be closed out. Please see the reporting requirements outlined below.

Detailed Proposal Budget

Please click here to download the Budget Worksheet.

Allowable Expenses

  • Analysis costs to which the applicant might not otherwise have access, including, but not limited to, elemental, isotopic, geological mapping technology, or genetic analysis of geological or botanical specimens. It is expected that analytical costs will be charged at in-house rates in cases where analytical costs are different for internal vs. external users of a laboratory. It is intended that the applicant will participate in the measurements in order to enhance his or her capabilities, and not simply send materials to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Travel costs for the applicant to a university for the purpose of preparing samples for measurement, or for making measurements such as those described in the first bullet of this section. Funding may be provided to offset the cost of economy airfare, economy lodging, and/or subsistence during the time an individual is visiting an institution where the measurements are made.
  • Travel costs for the applicant to a field site in order to collect materials for analysis which would otherwise not be available. It is intended that such travel will be of short duration (i.e., normally less than two weeks, unless the fieldwork warrants a longer trip), and that the travel is for the express purpose of necessary research including, fieldwork, sample collection, or mapping. Such costs may include economy airfare, food, economy lodging, vehicle rental and maintenance, fuel, a local competitive salary for temporary field assistants, and costs of visas or other documents necessary for travel.
  • Minor supply items such as sample containers (e.g., bags, bottles, markers, etc.).
  • Tuition, student fees, insurance, books, and other relevant categories of expenditure for a recipient of support from the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund.
  • Modest stipend to recipient.  

Excluded items

No funds shall be provided from this fund for:

  • Salary or wages for the applicant, coworkers, or assistants other than those specified above.
  • Institutional “bench” fees.
  • Travel to conferences or professional meetings.
  • Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the timing of travel for purposes of research coincides with a meeting by a professional society at no additional cost to the traveler, then there is no objection to dual use of funds from this source.

Pertinent Curricula Vitae

Please include your CV as well as the CV of your advisor. Each CV should be limited to two pages.

Sponsor Letter of Support

Your sponsor’s letter of support may be uploaded as a PDF. If your sponsor prefers to send the letter directly to us, it may be sent to [email protected]. For those who hold a current Francis H. Brown African Scholarship and are requesting funds for another year, the sponsor’s letter of support should be a progress report from the sponsor.

Applicant Photo

Please include a photo of yourself. This photo may be. jpg or .tiff format.


If you would like to include references, please upload them in PDF format. Please limit the references to two pages. References should be listed in APA style. Examples of APA reference style are available at Purdue.edu

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]

Apply now!

Reporting Requirements

For grants with periods longer than one year, an annual progress report and recorded presentation (e.g. podcast, YouTube video, narrated PowerPoint, etc.) are due one year (plus ninety days) after the start date of the grant and every year thereafter.

Within 90 days of the end date for the grant, the following are required:

  • A final report summarizing all work not to exceed 15 pages. If the grantee holds more than one FBASF grant or is requesting funds for an additional period, then a progress report is required in lieu of a final report.
  • A recorded presentation (e.g., podcast, YouTube video, narrated PowerPoint, etc.).
  • A final expense report submitted by the grantee’s institution.
  • At least one photo (preferably from the field).