About RCSA

Mission and Vision

‘Bet on the youngsters. They are long shots but some of them pay off.’

Frederick Gardner Cottrell

Mission Statement

The Mission of Research Corporation for Science Advancement is to advance early stage, high-potential, basic scientific research.


RCSA provides catalytic funding for research and sponsors conferences to support:

  • Early career faculty
  • Innovative ideas for basic research
  • Integration of research and science teaching
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Building the academic leadership of the future

Strategic Planning Priorities

Further develop and strengthen RCSA’s two core programs, Cottrell Scholars and Scialog, which build on its 100-year legacy of supporting innovative basic research in the physical sciences.

Leverage partnerships and scientific community building to maximize impact and exercise flexibility to embrace unanticipated opportunities to support innovative research in the physical sciences.

Core Programs

Cottrell Scholars

  • Invest in the early-stage, high-potential, basic physical science research of the most promising early career scientists at research universities and primarily undergraduate institutions.
  • Implement a multilayered set of activities that supports each scholar to develop as successful teachers-scholars and gain the skills and relationships necessary to become leaders in their respective research communities.


  • Invest in interdisciplinary, innovative, basic research on problems of high complexity that are timely and of significant value to society.
  • Foster new collaborations across multiple disciplines to spark innovative ideas, stimulate significant advances on chosen topics, and attract higher levels of funding.

A Century of Success

Innovation, cross-disciplinary collaboration, high-risk/potentially high-reward research – welcome to RCSA. We fund top early career teacher-scholars at America’s leading colleges and universities, and we’ve been catalyzing transformative scientific research in this way for 100 years. RCSA has always been about finding and supporting the next big scientific paradigm, the theory or discovery that will revolutionize and advance an entire field of study. In the process, we consistently work to improve U.S. science education by advocating that undergraduate students participate in their mentors’ cutting-edge research. A century of success has taught us there is no better way to build America’s scientific workforce and to provide for a brighter tomorrow.