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Collaborative Research Grants

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, IHEs, and
Individuals for Joint Research Involving the Humanities

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Funding Source:

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National Endowment for the Humanities

Deadline Date:

12/06/17 11:59 PM ET Receipt (5:00 PM ET Recommended Submission)


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, IHEs, and individual scholars to support collaborative research involving humanities topics. Applicants are advised to create or verify the required registrations by November 8 and November 22. Funding is intended to encourage interdisciplinary work, within the humanities disciplines and beyond.

Program Description:

Debate, exchange of ideas, and working together—all are basic activities that advance humanities knowledge and foster rich scholarship that would not be possible by researchers working on their own. The Collaborative Research grant program encourages collaboration that proposes diverse approaches to topics, incorporates multiple points of view, and explores new avenues of inquiry that lead to publications and other resources for scholarly audiences and/or general audiences.

Collaborative Research grants support groups of two or more scholars engaging in significant and sustained research in the humanities. The program seeks to encourage interdisciplinary work, both within the humanities and beyond. Projects that include partnerships with researchers from the natural and social sciences are encouraged, but they must remain firmly rooted in the humanities and must employ humanistic methods. Collaborators may be drawn from a single institution or several institutions across the United States; up to half of the collaborators may be based outside of the U.S. Partnerships among different sorts of institutions are welcome: for example, research universities might partner with teaching colleges, libraries, museums, or independent research institutions.

Eligible projects must propose tangible and sustainable outcomes such as co-authored or multi-authored books; born-digital publications; themed issues of peer-reviewed journals; and content-rich, open-access digital resources (for example, websites, databases, or tools). All project outcomes must be based on and must convey interpretive humanities research. All grantees are expected to disseminate the results of their work to scholarly audiences and/or general audiences.

Funding is available for full-time or part-time activities that make collaboration possible. Funds may be requested to cover, where appropriate, salary replacement; compensation of collaborators, consultants, and research assistants; fringe benefits; and travel, lodging, and per diem costs. Indirect costs can be included. NEH is rarely able to cover the full cost of a project. For that reason, funding from other sources and cost sharing are expected but not required.

Collaborative Research offers three types of awards to address different sorts of projects and stages of development.

Type 1 - Convening Grants:
Convening grants typically fund conferences and working group meetings to sharpen the chosen research topic and discuss and plan subsequent publication.

Type 2 - Publication Grants:
Publication grants support the project toward completion of its publication goals. Publications can appear in traditional print or in digital form. Note that costs paid to publishers and subventions are not supported.

Type 3 - Archaeology Grants:
Archaeology grants support projects that lead to publication.

A Type 1 Convening Grant can be used to plan and prepare for a Type 2 Publication Grant in a subsequent year. A Type 1 grant is not, however, a prerequisite for a Type 2 grant. Collaborators who have done their planning and are ready to work toward completion and publication can apply directly for a Type 2 Publication grant.

Providing Access to Grant Products:

As a taxpayer-supported federal agency, NEH endeavors to make the products of its grants available to the broadest possible audience. NEH’s goal is for scholars, educators, students, and the American public to have ready access to the wide range of NEH grant products. For projects that lead to the development of digital materials, all other considerations being equal, NEH gives preference to those that provide free access to the public.

NEH grantees must follow the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of handicap in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Standing Together:

NEH invites projects related to its Standing Together initiative, which encourages projects related to war and military service.

Protecting our Cultural Heritage:

In response to the destruction of cultural heritage materials worldwide, NEH encourages applications for projects that study, document, or create digital representations of lost or imperiled cultural heritage materials. Proposed projects should be based on scholarly work and follow standards and best practices. Project teams must include appropriate methodological specialists and humanities scholars. Projects must demonstrate the capacity to be sustained and must be widely accessible to the public. For more information click here.

All applications will be given equal consideration in accordance with the program’s evaluation criteria, whether or not they respond to the Standing Together initiative or seek to protect lost or imperiled cultural heritage materials.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 151112

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Convening Grants: Up to $50,000
-Publication Grants: Up to $250,000 (no more than $100,000 per year)
-Archaeology Grants: Up to $250,000 (no more than $100,000 per year)

Term of Contract:

Projects may begin as early as October 1, 2018, and as late as September 1, 2019.

Convening grants last one year.

Publication grants last one to three years.

Archaeology grants last one to three years.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Single entities
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Collaborative Research program accepts applications from both institutions and individuals without an institutional affiliation (who may apply as unaffiliated project directors). Note that all projects must include at least one collaborating scholar in addition to the project director.

The following types of applicants are eligible:
-U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-Exempt status;
-State and local governments;
-Federally recognized Native American tribal governments; and
-Unaffiliated project directors who are U.S. citizens.

The following types of applicants are ineligible:
-Other federal agencies;
-For-Profit institutions; and
-Unaffiliated project directors who are not U.S. citizens.

Project directors affiliated with an eligible institution must apply through an institution, ordinarily their own institution. Applicant institutions may, however, designate a project director affiliated with another institution if that person is a leading scholar in a relevant field of study and wishes to receive research support through the applicant institution.

Only adjunct faculty, faculty at For-Profit institutions, and scholars without an institutional affiliation may apply as unaffiliated project directors.

Persons enrolled in academic degree programs are not eligible to apply as project directors for Collaborative Research grants. If you have passed your dissertation defense but have not yet received the degree, you are eligible to apply through a sponsoring U.S. nonprofit institution with 501(c)(3) status.

Project directors and co-directors may submit only one application to either the Collaborative Research or the Scholarly Editions and Translations program, but not both. They may, however, apply for other NEH awards, including Fellowships and Summer Stipends.

Note that project directors and co-directors of funded applications may not hold concurrent full-Time awards from the NEH Division of Research Programs—for example an NEH Fellowship.

NEH generally does not award grants to other federal entities or to applicants whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity’s own authorized activities. This does not preclude applicants from using grant funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects. Such resources may not, however, be used as gifts to release NEH matching funds.

Note that project participants (including the project director, when the application is submitted by an institution) need not be U.S. citizens or U.S. residents, so long as the applicant institution is eligible. However, at least 50 percent of grant funds must be used to support research conducted at U.S.-based institutions, research conducted by citizens of or residents in the U.S., or both.

NEH encourages submission of Collaborative Research applications from independent scholars and faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.

Previously Funded Projects: Applicants whose projects have received NEH support may apply for a grant for a new or subsequent stage of their projects. Proposals for these projects do not receive special consideration and are judged by the same criteria as others in the grant competition. They must, however, demonstrate that the projects used previous NEH support productively. A grant from NEH for one stage of a project does not commit NEH to continued support for the project. Applications for each stage of a project are evaluated independently.

Collaborative Research Grants may not be used for
-Projects undertaken by individuals without collaboration;
-Education projects that propose the development of curricula, teaching methods or theories, or education or technical impact assessments;
-Professional development or training;
-Planning or putting on exhibitions;
-Inventories of collections;
-Archaeology field schools;
-The planning or production of documentary films;
-Publication subvention or other publication costs;
-Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view;
-Advocacy for a particular program of social or political action;
-Support of specific public policies or legislation; or
-Projects that fall outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies).

Among other unallowable expenses, NEH does not support travel to annual professional conferences, meals at conferences and/or receptions (except as per diem expenses), professional development, field schools, technical services that exceed 10 percent of the total NEH request, lab or computer equipment, and publication subventions. Do not include such expenses on the NEH budget. You may, however, use cost sharing to pay for them.

Pre-Application Information:

Successful applicants will be awarded a grant in outright funds, matching funds, or a combination of the two, depending on the applicant’s preference and the availability of funds. Federal matching funds are released on a one-to-one basis when a grantee secures gift funds from eligible nonfederal third parties. (Note that agencies of the federal government are not eligible third parties.)

Cost sharing consists of the cash contributions made to a project by the applicant, third parties, and other federal agencies, as well as third party in-kind contributions, such as donated services and goods. Cost sharing also includes gift money raised from nonfederal third parties to release federal matching funds. Although cost sharing is not required, the Collaborative Research program is rarely able to support the full costs of projects approved for funding. The balance of the costs is to be borne by the applicant’s institution or other sources. Include a plan for cost sharing in the budget.

To be able to submit an application, applicants must have registered with and must have an updated Entity record in the System for Award Management (SAM).

All applications to this program must be submitted via NEH strongly recommends that you complete or verify your registration at least two weeks before the application deadline.

Submission of draft proposals is optional. Program staff recommends that draft proposals be submitted no later than October 15. Time constraints may prevent staff from reviewing draft proposals submitted after that date. Applicants may submit by e-mail a draft of their proposal. Do NOT submit your draft through

Applications must be received by by 11:59 PM, Eastern Time, on December 6, 2017. NEH strongly suggests that you submit your application no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Doing so will leave you time to contact the help desk for support, should you encounter a technical problem of some kind.


-Until December 6, 2017: Contact Division of Research Programs program officers with questions and for advice (optional)

-October 15, 2017: Submit draft application (optional) by this date

-November 8, 2017: Create or verify your institution’s Entity record at the System for Award Management by this date (applies only to institutional applicants)

-November 22, 2017: Register your institution (or verify its registration) with by this date (unaffiliated project directors must register themselves or verify their registration by this date)

-December 6, 2017: Submit application through by this date

-March-April 2018: Peer review panels take place

-July 2018: meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions

-August 2018: applicants are notified of the funding decisions

-September 2018: institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail

-October 2018: successful applicants may begin work on their projects as early as this date

-September 2019: successful applicants must begin work on their projects no later than this date

View this opportunity on

Standing Together initiative:

Protecting our Cultural Heritage initiative:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.


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