PCA J.P. Gleason Research Fellowship Program

Call for Nominations

The Portland Cement Association Education Foundation funds a wide variety of educational activities that will increase public knowledge regarding appropriate uses of cement and concrete. Within that global purpose is a specific purpose to:

Advance general scientific understanding of cement and concrete by providing scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other support for the study of engineering and the physical sciences relating to the production and use of cement and concrete.

The support provided by the Education Foundation is used to identify and attract outstanding candidates in the field of engineering and the physical sciences and provide them with the necessary support to complete their studies. Additionally, this support is intended to provide them an opportunity for productive work in the cement and concrete industries.

The fellowships are open to any student completing studies toward a masters or doctoral degree from an institution of higher education within the United States or Canada that is accredited by a regional or national agency. The applicant must pursue graduate study in an engineering, science, or architectural program. Each fellowship includes a $35,000 grant paid to the university to cover tuition, residence, research materials, equipment, study materials, and related educational expenses, but does not include payment for institutional overhead.

In the last few years, the need for research on cement and concrete has become increasingly urgent as society grapples with climate change issues. For this current fellowship competition, research proposals may focus on topics described in PCA’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality that support the following subject areas (with no priority implied):


  • Estimating the impact of optimized use of recycled materials, including alternative fuels and raw materials in clinker manufacture, in hydraulic cements, and in concretes, to improve the CO2 footprint, improve life-cycle performance, reduce the burden on landfills, and improve the circular economy.
  • Improving recognition of concrete system performance through better use of life cycle assessments (LCAs) and environmental product declarations (EPDs) to account for both service impacts and embodied impacts of construction.
  • Other research investigating the optimization of cement and concrete for sustainable concrete construction, including use of novel approaches to optimize the clinker-to-cement ratio of cement blends, or to optimize design of structural concrete.

Cement Manufacturing

  • Improving raw mix burnability using mineralizers, alternative raw materials, or other means.
  • Advanced grinding technology for raw materials or cements.
  • Optimizing performance by separate grinding and blending of cement ingredients.
  • Advancement of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology, including novel approaches to capture CO2 from cement kiln emissions, beneficially utilize the captured carbon, or transport and store it.

Testing and Tools

  • Quantitative method to characterize the reduction in CO2 footprint of cement manufacture using alternative fuels.
  • Method or method(s) for quantitative determination of CO2 uptake in fresh and/or hardened concrete.
  • Updated software tools with consideration of blended cements for mass concrete, crack prediction, and service life prediction of transportation structures.
  • Novel non-destructive test (NDT) techniques to assess finishing timing of flatwork, especially when using newer cementitious materials that may affect concrete performance.

A university professor and the candidate student must jointly submit applications. Applications must be received by March 15, 2024. The proposal should not exceed four pages in length using 12 point Times New Roman font and should follow the format in the PCA J.P. Gleason Research Fellowship Program template.

PCA committee members review and endorse nominations for support. The PCA Education Foundation Board of Directors makes the final determination regarding the selection of each fellowship. Final award determinations are tentatively scheduled to take place in June/July with award notifications soon thereafter.

Submittals with detailed descriptions of the proposed project should be sent via e-mail with a subject heading of "2024 Fellowship Proposal" to:

James Farny  
Director, Environmental Measurement and Metrics
Portland Cement Association
Email: jfarny@cement.org

Click here for a pdf of the proposal format document.