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Building the NEH Grant Proposal Robert Porter Proposal Development Team University of Tennessee

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Presentation on theme: "Building the NEH Grant Proposal Robert Porter Proposal Development Team University of Tennessee"— Presentation transcript:

1 Building the NEH Grant Proposal Robert Porter Proposal Development Team University of Tennessee

2 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 NEH Overview Old Post Office Building Washington DC

3 The humanities include... History Literature History & criticism of the arts Archaeology Philosophy Ethics Jurisprudence Linguistics Language Religion Social sciences w/humanisitic content Media studies

4 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

5 A: $150 billion Q: ________________________? A: $30 billion Q: ________________________? A: $6 billion Q: ________________________? A: $0.15 billion (150 million) Q: ________________________? Pretest: “Budget Jeopardy” Quiz Clue: These are annual expenditures for federal programs

6 A. Fellowships B. Collaborative Research C. Summer Stipends D. Summer Seminars and Institutes E. Enduring Questions F. Digital Humanities G. Preservation and Access Grants of interest to academic researchers

7 Remember: Body of grant remains much the same, but START EARLY working with sponsored research office! Major change from paper forms to SF 424 electronic forms (www.Grants.gov )www.Grants.gov Some programs require individuals to submit proposals to Grants.gov (Fellowships, e.g.) Others require the institution to apply (Collaborative Research, Summer Seminars) Warning: Electronic Submission is Here!

8 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. Fellowships

9 A. Fellowship review criteria 1.The intellectual significance of the proposed project, including its value to scholars and general audiences in the humanities 2.The quality or promise of quality of the applicant's work as an interpreter of the humanities 3.The quality of the conception, definition, organization, and description of the project and the applicant's clarity of expression 4.The feasibility of the proposed plan of work, including, when appropriate, the soundness of the dissemination and access plans 5.The likelihood that the applicant will complete the project

10 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

11 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

12 B. Collaborative Research Proposal review criteria: 1. Intellectual significance of the project 2. Soundness of the research design and work plan 3. Qualifications and commitment of the project staff 4. Soundness of the dissemination and public access plans 5. Potential for project success and reasonableness of the budget

13 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

14 Participants: Host: 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

15 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 Note: Innovative use of information technology is encouraged

16 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? D. Summer Seminars and Institutes

17 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

18 E. Enduring Questions Examples: Note: This is not an exhaustive list! 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?

19 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

20 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? E. Enduring Questions

21 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

22 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 Initiative

23 F. Digital Humanities 1.Intellectual significance of the long-term project, including its potential to enhance research, teaching and learning in the humanities 2.Quality of the specific start-up activities 3.Qualifications and commitment of project director and staff 4.Usefulness to target audience and impact on scholarship 5.Quality of project assessment and evaluation plans 6.Potential for success within time frame and on budget Proposal review criteria:

24 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

25 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

26 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 and Access

27 G. Preservation & Access 1.Project significance--how it will increase understanding of the humanities 2.Soundness of the proposed methodology--adherence to accepted national standards and professional practices 3.Viability, efficiency, and productivity of the work plan 4.Qualifications of the project staff 5.Plans for dissemination and access 6.Plan for project sustainability beyond the grant period 7.Appropriateness of the budget Proposal review criteria:

28 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 ( PRISM: Submit, revise & resubmit! Treat it like a game (which it is) Tips for Success...


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