Skip this Video
Download Presentation
Building the NEH Grant Proposal

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 28

Building the NEH Grant Proposal - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Building the NEH Grant Proposal. Robert Porter Proposal Development Team University of Tennessee [email protected] /. NEH Overview. An independent Federal agency National Council for the Humanities appointed by the president, confirmed by Senate

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about ' Building the NEH Grant Proposal' - norton

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

Building the

NEH Grant Proposal

Robert Porter

Proposal Development Team

University of Tennessee

[email protected]


NEH Overview

  • An independent Federal agency
  • National Council for the Humanities appointed
  • by the president, confirmed by Senate
  • Largest funder of humanities in US
  • Program officers include permanent NEH staff
  • and university “rotators” (IPA’s)
  • Funding recommendations made by review panels
  • of established scholars
  • Proposal success rates vary: 10% – 25%;
  • average ~15% across all programs

Old Post Office Building

Washington DC


The humanities include...









History & criticism

of the arts

Social sciences




Media studies


NEH awards grants to:

  • Strengthen teaching and learning in the humanities in schools and colleges across the nation
  • Facilitate research and original scholarship
  • Provide opportunities for lifelong learning
  • Preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources
  • Strengthen the institutional base of the humanities


“Budget Jeopardy” Quiz

A: $150 billion

Q: ________________________?

A: $30 billion

Q: ________________________?

A: $6 billion

Q: ________________________?

A: $0.15 billion (150 million)

Q: ________________________?

Clue: These are

annual expenditures

for federal programs


Grants of interest

to academic researchers

  • Fellowships
  • Collaborative Research
  • Summer Stipends
  • Summer Seminars and Institutes
  • Enduring Questions
  • Digital Humanities
  • Preservation and Access


Electronic Submission is Here!

  • Major change from paper forms to SF 424
  • electronic forms ( )
  • Some programs require individuals to submit
  • proposals to (Fellowships, e.g.)
  • Others require the institution to apply
  • (Collaborative Research, Summer Seminars)


Body of grant remains much the same, but


working with sponsored research office!


A. Fellowships

  • Support individuals pursuing advanced research
  • of value to scholars and general audiences
  • May be awarded by NEH or Independent Research Institutes
  • Recipients usually produce articles, books, films,
  • digital materials, translations, archeological reports, etc.
  • Stipend: $4,200/month for 6 to 12 mos. ($50,400 max.)
  • Deadline: May 3, 2010
  • Eligibility: US citizens and foreign nationals
  • in residence 3 yrs +


A. Fellowship review criteria

  • The intellectual significance of the proposed project, including its value to scholars and general audiences in the humanities
  • The quality or promise of quality of the applicant\'s work as an interpreter of the humanities
  • The quality of the conception, definition, organization, and description of the project and the applicant\'s clarity of expression
  • The feasibility of the proposed plan of work, including, when appropriate, the soundness of the dissemination and access plans
  • The likelihood that the applicant will complete the project

B. Collaborative Research

  • Supports research by team (2+) of scholars coordinated
  • by one leading individual
  • Projects are full-time or part-time for one to three years
  • Budget: $25,000 to $100,00/yr. Cost sharing not required,
  • BUT norm for NEH is 20% contribution from applicant
  • NEH staff will review draft proposals up to six weeks prior
  • to deadline
  • Public access to project outcomes strongly encouraged
  • Deadline: December 8, 2011
  • Eligibility: Institutions, US citizens and foreign nationals
  • in residence 3 yrs +


B. Collaborative Research

  • Eligible projects:
  • Research that significantly adds to knowledge in the humanities
  • Conferences on topics of major importance
  • Archaeological projects
  • Translations into English of works that provide insight into other cultures
  • Research that uses the humanities to enhance understanding
  • of science, technology, medicine, and the social sciences

B. Collaborative Research

  • Proposal review criteria:
  • Intellectual significance of the project
  • Soundness of the research design and work plan
  • Qualifications and commitment of the project staff
  • Soundness of the dissemination and public access plans
  • Potential for project success and reasonableness of the budget

C. Summer Stipends

  • Supports individuals pursuing advanced research /writing
  • Duration: Full time support for two months
  • Recipients expected to produce articles, monographs,
  • digital materials, archeological reports, translations, etc.
  • Award: $6,000 (may receive other grants)
  • Many restrictions (see list)
  • Deadline: September 29, 2011

D. Summer Seminars and Institutes

  • Faculty development programs for K-12 and college teachers
  • Can apply as 1) Participant; or 2) Host institution
  • Duration: 2 – 6 weeks
  • NEH staff will review draft proposals up to one month prior
  • to deadline
  • Seminars: $45 - $120,000; Institutes: $80 – 200,000
  • Deadline: March 1, 2011




D. Summer Seminars and Institutes

  • Four models:
  • Seminar for school teachers (16): Participants explore topics
  • or set of readings led by a recognized scholar
  • Institute for school teachers (25 – 30): Core faculty team present best
  • scholarship on important issues taught in public schools
  • Seminar for college teachers (16): Participants conduct research or focused
  • study under guidance of an expert
  • Institute for college teachers (25): Core faculty guide participants in examining
  • topic of major importance in undergraduate curricula


Innovative use of information technology is encouraged


D. Summer Seminars and Institutes

Proposal review criteria:

1. Intellectual quality and significance

- Is the proposal\'s intellectual rationale clear and persuasive? - Does the study engage important humanities topics or texts?

- Does it draw on sound humanities research?

- Are faculty members strong scholars and excellent teachers?

2. Impact

- Will the project\'s objectives be met?

- Will participants be actively engaged in collegial intellectual inquiry?

- Will the experience stimulate teachers intellectually and professionally?

3. Feasibility

- Is the program format appropriate to the ideas, themes, and audience?

- Are project activities well planned and described in adequate detail?

- Do letters from visiting scholars and consultants demonstrate interest and commitment?

- Does the institutional setting support the project\'s objectives?

- Are the plans for administration sound and well developed?

- Are the costs reasonable?


E. Enduring Questions

  • Will support development of new undergraduate courses
  • that grapple with most fundamental concerns of humanities
  • Issues are pre-disciplinary, can be led by faculty
  • of any background (but with humanistic focus)
  • Duration: 18 – 24 months
  • Budgets: Up to $25,000; $15,000 stipend for director; up to
  • $10,000 for materials, student travel, museum admissions, etc.
  • 20 awards in 2009
  • Deadline: September 15, 2011


E. Enduring Questions


  • What is the good life?
  • What is justice? Mercy?
  • What is freedom? Happiness?
  • What is friendship?
  • What is dignity?
  • Is there a human nature, and, if so, what is it?
  • What are the limits of scientific understanding?
  • What is the relationship between humans and the natural world?
  • Is there such a thing as right and wrong? Good and evil?
  • What is good government?
  • What are the origins of the modern world?
  • What is liberal education?

Note: This is not an exhaustive list!


E. Enduring Questions

Courses must:

  • Be “pre-disciplinary,” not overspecialized
  • Focus on an explicitly stated question or questions
  • Draw on significant readings from prior to the twentieth century; may draw
  • on works of art, e.g., painting, music, plays, sculpture
  • Reflect intellectual pluralism, anticipating more than one plausible answer(s)
  • Be open to all students regardless of major or concentration
  • Require a letter of commitment to offer the course at least twice


E. Enduring Questions

Proposal review criteria:

1. Intellectual quality and significance

- Are the intellectual rationale of the project and its approach compelling?

- Does the intellectual rationale give evidence of a “pre-disciplinary” approach?

- Is there a strong relationship between the enduring question(s) and the works to be studied?

- Do the question(s) and the core readings reflect intellectual pluralism?

- Does the study seriously engage humanities sources prior to the twentieth century?

- Does the course emphasize the reading of books in their entirety or near entirety?

- Is the proposal clear, free of jargon, and accessible to nonspecialists?

2. Feasibility

- Is the envisioned course design effectively tailored to its intended audience?

- Are reading loads ambitious but realistic?

- Are ancillary activities, if any, well conceived?

- Is the teacher intellectually prepared to offer the proposed course?

- Is there a commitment on the part of the institution to support this course?

3. Impact

- Does the course have the potential to foster intellectual community anchored among students?

- Does the course have the potential to foster intellectual community at the applicant institution?


F. Digital Humanities Initiative

Start - Up Grants:

  • Jointly sponsored by NEH and the Institute of Museum
  • and Library Services (IMLS)
  • Supports planning activities or start up of digital initiatives
  • in any area of the humanities
  • Emphasis on innovation; “high risk/high reward” paradigm
  • (approach, tool or idea not used before in humanities)
  • Level I: Planning (brainstorming, workshops, prototypes, etc.)
  • ($5 - $25,000)
  • Level II: Larger grants for start-up of fully-formed projects
  • ($25 – 50,000)
  • Deadline: September 27, 2011


F. Digital Humanities Initiative

Program themes:

  • Research in new approaches and best practices in digital humanities
  • Planning and prototyping new tools for preserving, analyzing, and making
  • accessible digital resources, including those of libraries and museums
  • Scholarship that examines the philosophical implications and impact
  • of the use of emerging technologies
  • Innovative uses of technology for public programming and education
  • utilizing both traditional and new media
  • New digital modes of publication that disseminate humanities scholarship
  • at all levels: academic as well as formal and informal educational settings


F. Digital Humanities

Proposal review criteria:

  • Intellectual significance of the long-term project, including its potential to enhance research, teaching and learning in the humanities
  • Quality of the specific start-up activities
  • Qualifications and commitment of project director and staff
  • Usefulness to target audience and impact on scholarship
  • Quality of project assessment and evaluation plans
  • Potential for success within time frame and on budget

G. Preservation and Access

  • Projects that preserve and create access to collections of books,
  • journals, manuscripts, archival materials, art, recordings, etc.
  • Education & Training projects enable institutions to be
  • effective stewards of humanities collections
  • Research and Development projects investigate broad issues
  • of major significance in preservation and access
  • Awards: $100 - $300,000/2 yrs.; R&D projects up to $400K
  • (Cost sharing: 20% is expected)
  • Deadline: HC & R: June 30, 2011; R&D: May 19, 2011


G. Preservation and Access

Sample projects:

  • Digitizing collections
  • Arranging and describing archival and manuscript collections
  • Cataloging collections of printed works, photographs, recorded sound,
  • moving image, art, and material culture
  • Preservation reformatting
  • Deacidification of existing collections
  • Preserving and improving access to humanities resources
  • in “born digital” form


G. Preservation and Access

Reference works and research tools:

  • Databases and electronic archives that codify or integrate humanities
  • materials or provide bibliographic control of a subject or field
  • Encyclopedias about various fields in the humanities or about
  • a particular area or subject;
  • Historical, etymological, and bilingual dictionaries for undocumented
  • languages, as well as reference grammars and other linguistic tools
  • Descriptive catalogs that provide detailed information about humanities
  • materials;
  • Tools for spatial analysis and representation of humanities data
  • such as atlases and geographical information systems (GIS)
  • Digital tools specifically designed to develop or use humanities
  • resources


G. Preservation & Access

Proposal review criteria:

  • Project significance--how it will increase understanding of the humanities
  • Soundness of the proposed methodology--adherence to accepted national standards and professional practices
  • Viability, efficiency, and productivity of the work plan
  • Qualifications of the project staff
  • Plans for dissemination and access
  • Plan for project sustainability beyond the grant period
  • Appropriateness of the budget

Tips for Success...

  • Parse application guidelines carefully; address program goals
  • and review criteria in your writing
  • Consult an NEH program officer; read successful grants
  • Write in a simple, lively style; avoid stodgy academic jargon
  • Devote greatest effort to describing the project
  • Seek critical feedback before submitting
  • Choose referees carefully
  • Proofread!
  • If declined, request panel summary
  • Consider other fellowship programs: Fulbright, ACLS, Guggenheim, etc.
  • Get on a review panel (
  • Submit, revise & resubmit!
  • Treat it like a game (which it is)