Advice on Key Funders

There's a saying in this field: "Once you know one funder … you know one funder." Therefore, once you decide to approach a particular funder for support, it is vital to become familiar with their unique application requirements and expectations. Below is some information to help you help you prepare for an application to one of these key funders. - Tess

American Council of Learned Societies - humanities and interpretive social sciences

ACLS invites research applications from scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. The ultimate goal of the project should be a major piece of scholarly work by the applicant, which can take the form of a monograph, articles, digital publication(s), critical edition, or other scholarly resources. The ACLS Fellowship program does not fund creative work (e.g., novels or films), textbooks, straightforward translation, or pedagogical projects. ACLS Fellowships are intended as salary replacement to help scholars devote six to twelve continuous months to full-time research and writing.

Grant award amounts vary based on rank: The fellowship award ranges from $40,000 to $70,000.

Annual Deadline: Typically late September

Recommended Preparation:

Core Fulbright Scholar Program - all disciplines supported

The Core Fulbright Scholar Program grants ~800 awards annually for faculty to teach or conduct research (or a combination of the two) in ~150 countries worldwide. Approximately 90% of Fulbright awardees are new to the program. All disciplines are funded (look for the "All Disciplines" award) and some countries offer "flex" options which allow the recipient to travel for shorter (perhaps month-long periods) two to three times over the course of a multi-year grant period. Proficiency in the language depends on the country. Some countries require a letter of invitation from a university.

Searching tip for the Catalog of Awards: If you are searching for awards in the fall (soon after the September deadline), be sure to search for "all awards" or "view closed awards."

Grant award amounts vary based on the country (typically a few thousand a month).

Annual Deadline: Mid-September annually for support the following academic year

Recommended Preparation:

  • Attend one of the many webinars offered by Fulbright including this one that walks you through the application
  • Peruse the Core Scholars Catalog to learn about different awards in different countries: "There is a Fulbright for everyone somewhere in the world, but not a Fulbright for someone everywhere in the world"
  • Make strategic use the Fulbright Scholar Directory - this is a finicky database - please discuss with Tess!
  • Read Fulbright's review criteria
  • Review the application materials
  • If you are really committed to the Fulbright mission, sign up to be a peer reviewer - reading happens in late September and an in-person meeting would happen in late October or early November - note that they ask for a three-year commitment
  • Register on "My Fulbright" to learn more about particular countries/opportunities. Registered Members will be notified of the latest program updates, webinar schedules, helpful resources, and suggestions for application assistance. My Fulbright also allows you to specify your areas of interest by country or world region, as well as relevant disciplines.
  • Coming soon: Read samples of opening statements, project overviews, statements on why host country was chosen, sample outcomes and contributions, etc. after registering on My Fulbright.


Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships - all disciplines supported

The Ford Foundation offers a fellowship program for early-career faculty members that aims "to increase the diversity of the nation's college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students." Faculty are eligible as long as they earned their PhD in the seven years prior to the deadline. The yearlong fellowship supports "full-time research at appropriate nonprofit institutions of higher education or research, normally in the United States, including universities, museums, libraries, government or national laboratories, privately sponsored nonprofit institutes, government chartered nonprofit research organizations, and centers for advanced study. Each applicant should designate a faculty member or other scholar who will serve as the host mentor at the proposed fellowship institution. The applicant is responsible for making all arrangements for affiliation with the proposed host institution prior to submitting an application."

Fellowship award amount: $50,000

Annual Deadline: Early December for the following academic year

Recommended Preparation:


Franklin Research Grant - all disciplines supported

"The Franklin program is particularly designed to help meet the costs of travel to libraries and archives for research purposes; the purchase of microfilm, photocopies, or equivalent research materials; the costs associated with fieldwork; or laboratory research expenses."

Grant up to $6,000 to support research expenses. (In addition, talk with Tess about becoming eligible for the $4,000 stipend supplement grant, if you are awarded the Franklin Research Grant.)

Annual Deadlines: First business day in October, and first business day in December. Funding supports research activity in the following calendar year.


Guggenheim Fellowships - all disciplines supported

"Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Notably, the Guggenheim supports all disciplines: scholars, scientists, writers, artists, composers, etc.

Fellowship award amount: $50,000

Annual Deadline: Mid-September annually for support the following academic year

Recommended Preparation:

National Endowment for the Humanities

According to the NEH, "The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; those aspects of social science which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life." The field of the PROJECT, not the applicant, must fall within one of the above areas.

NEH Fellowship - humanities disciplines supported (as well as social sciences with humanistic content/methods)

Grant of $5,000 per month ($30,000 for six months of support up to $60,000 for 12 months). Award period must be full-time and continuous.

Annual Deadlines: Typically early April, for a grant period that will start the following calendar year.

Other important information: NEH is unusually generous in outlining the window in which the NEH fellowship must be started: a full year and a half from notification. That is, if you apply in April 2021, and are awarded a fellowship in January 2022, you may start the fellowship as late as September 1, 2023, more than two years from the submission date.

This means that faculty can apply in the spring of their fourth year for sabbatical funding in their seventh.

This also means that faculty could apply in the spring of their fourth year and, if not funded, re-apply in the spring of their fifth year, incorporating peer review feedback from the previous submission.

Recommended Preparation

NEH Summer Stipend - humanities disciplines supported (as well as social sciences with humanistic content/methods)

Grant of $8,000 for two months of summer support. Award period must be full-time and continuous.

Due to recent changes in NEH requirements, Colorado College can nominate only one faculty each year to apply for this award. The nominee submits their proposal to NEH in September and will be notified in March.

As a reminder, non-tenure-track, adjunct faculty, staff and retired faculty are exempt from nomination and may submit directly to the NEH Summer Stipend for its Sept. 18, 2024 deadline. Exempt applicants are welcomed to reach out to Tess for support prior to submission.

Annual Deadlines: Faculty need to submit an internal application in the summer for possible support by NEH the following summer.

Both the NEH Fellowship and NEH Summer Stipend applications request a three-page narrative. Therefore, preparing a summer stipend application can be excellent practice for preparing an NEH Fellowship application.

Recommended Preparation:

National Science Foundation - natural sciences and social sciences supported

Recommended Preparation:



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