The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law established the Grants Program in 1976 to promote scholarship, research, writing, teaching, and the study of mineral resources law and related fields at law schools. In 2017 the Grants Program was expanded to include innovative new projects or proposals in the fields of mining law, oil and gas law, energy law, water law, public land law, and related legal areas.

A grant-supported project should result in a clear, tangible outcome with widespread utility and long-term value. As of 2022, 288 grants totaling over $835,000 have been authorized. 


To be eligible for a grant, a project must relate to the laws, regulations, or jurisprudence governing oil and gas, mining, energy (including renewable energy), water, wildlife, other natural resources, public lands, environmental protection, tribes or indigenous peoples, or related areas, and the Grants Committee must determine that the project will have a meaningful impact or will otherwise further the development of natural resources, energy, and environmental legal scholarship.

Examples of eligible expenses include: 

  • travel costs under our visiting lecture program (see below) 
  • reimbursement of out-of-pocket travel and lodging costs for professors or other scholars who are working together to collaborate on traditional scholarship
  • reimbursement of out-of-pocket travel and lodging costs for professors or other scholars to speak or present at an innovative program
  • publication costs
  • data-acquisition costs
  • publicity costs
  • other out-of-pocket costs of producing traditional scholarship or that are associated with an innovative program
  • compensation for student research assistance

Ineligible projects or expenses include:

  • funding a recurring conference, symposium, or other event such as an annual program 
  • political or positional advocacy 
  • funding for participation in litigation, agency adjudication, other adversarial proceedings, or rulemakings 
  • funding for scholarships, fellowships, visiting professorships, or recurring classes
  • funding to compensate professors, authors, or speakers for their work 

Visiting Lecture Program

To encourage the exchange of ideas and expertise between Constituent Law Schools (CLS) of the Foundation and between CLS and experienced practitioners, CLS are eligible to receive funding for the reimbursement of costs for a CLS professor or an experienced practitioner to travel to another CLS to teach a law school class or provide a scholarly lecture to the law school community or both. Click here for more information.


Applications are evaluated and awards made by the Grants Committee, with preference given to CLS of the Foundation. Only CLS are eligible for funding under the visiting lecture program. The Foundation does not permit any portion of grant funds to be applied to pay an administrative fee or charge.


Applications are evaluated as received on a continuing basis, except that larger grant requests (generally those in excess of $7,500) may be evaluated quarterly since funds are limited and the Committee wishes to ensure that funds go to the most worthy projects. Please complete the application, which requests the following information:

  • Your contact details and qualifications to undertake the project
  • A specific description of the project’s objectives and duration (including a proposed timeline), the project’s expected contribution to the field, how the project will be implemented, and the project’s intended results and impact
  • A budget of the total anticipated project expenses
  • Information on funding support for the project requested from your own institution and/or other funding sources  
  • The amount and intended use of the funds you are requesting, broken out by budget line item or specific category
  • For scholarly writings, the expected publication or dissemination outlet

You may also send your organization’s general brochure and other information you feel would help the Committee better understand your request to [email protected].

Grant funding can be paid in advance based on the budget submitted by the applicant and with approval of the Grants Committee. Grant awardees are expected to provide a statement of actual expenses compared to the approved budget at the completion of the project. If the total amount of a grant award exceeds actual expenses, the recipient is expected to refund the excess to the Foundation. For the Visiting Lecture Program, the Foundation will only reimburse actual travel expenses after the completion of travel supported by receipts in accordance with the Foundation’s travel reimbursement policy, not to exceed the approved travel budget. Generally, permissible travel expenses include airfare, shuttle service or Uber (or equivalent) between the airport and hotel or law school, and hotel. The Foundation does not reimburse meals or incidental expenses for travel.

2023 Grant-Funded Projects

Southern Methodist University School of Law, Professor Monika Ehrman

To support the Natural Resources Law Teachers Workshop following the International Mining and Energy Law, Development, and Investment Special Institute in Mexico City, Mexico.

Constituent Law Schools, Young Professionals Committee

Funding for nine video-linked workshops at Constituent Law Schools to provide networking and education for students and practitioners.

Diversity Leadership Program, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Funding for the Diversity Leadership Program providing waived registration fees and travel stipends for seven minority attorneys to attend the 69th Annual Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2022 Grant-Funded Projects

University of New Mexico School of Law, Professor Cliff Villa

To support a student border and community environmental project. 

Sustainable Development Strategies Group, Luke Danielson 

Funding for translation services to publish in English a comparative law article on The Path Toward Peace and Development: The Emerging Framework for Development of Natural Resources On Indigenous Lands and Territories to be used by the Programs Committee of the Biennial Latin American Conference being held in Mexico City in April 2023. 

Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Professor Emeka Duruigbo 

Funding for a research project examining legal reforms that could be introduced to facilitate the plugging and abandonment of oil and gas wells. 

University of California - Davis School of Law, Professor Karrigan Bork

Funding for the first-ever Environmental Law and Geography Workshop 

2021 Grant-Funded Projects

University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Professor Robin Kundis Craig

To support the Water Law Professors’ Scholarship Workshop that was held in conjunction with the Water Law Special Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

University of Wyoming College of Law, Professor Tara Righetti

Law student research assistance for a project that examines regional energy transition policies in historically fossil producing regions of the U.S. and France.

Louisiana State University, Professor Keith Hall 

Funding travel for Professor Joe Schremmer of the University of New Mexico School of Law to give two lectures at LSU.

Washburn University School of Law, Professor Burke Griggs 

Law student research assistance to convert and verify relevant interstate water cases and Special Masters reports. 

Contact the Foundation at 303-321-8100 ext. 104 or [email protected]