Engaging Humanities Grant, 2020–21

The Engaging Humanities Grant supports UC faculty in pursuing thoughtful engagement with diverse publics beyond the academy. California’s communities represent a rich resource for UC faculty interested in pursuing collaborative, public-facing projects that will impact people beyond their campuses. Recognizing that off-campus outreach can produce transformations in knowledge, this grant encourages scholars to develop innovative projects that weave together humanities research and/or pedagogy with community engagement, strengthening ties between UC campuses and California communities through partnerships with community organizations, museums, NGOs, or other public-facing groups.

This year, for the first time, applicants are invited to apply for a seed grant of up to $5,000 for burgeoning projects, or a project grant of up to $20,000 for more developed projects. Applicants to all Engaging Humanities grants must have a letter of support from a community partner. Successful applicants for the $20,000 project grants must secure a match of at least 50% of UCHRI-awarded funds from other funding sources. Seed grants do not require matching funds. UCHRI is particularly interested in proposals that clearly articulate innovative modes of engagement with well-defined publics.

Applications must be submitted online via Submittable by 11:59 PM (Pacific time) on the deadline date.

Topic Details

Engaging Humanities Grants will produce original scholarship and/or programming that is invested in, inflected by, and interesting to a specific public. Applicants should avoid proposing projects where the primary goal is to simply disseminate their research projects beyond the walls of the academy. Ideally, projects will engage a diverse group of UC humanities faculty and students with individuals or groups outside the academy in both the production and dissemination of research. Although projects might include some panel discussions or lectures, they should not be limited to these traditional academic forms of engagement. 

All proposals should address the following questions:

  • Thoughtfully define your project’s “public(s).” 
  • What are the key features of your intended collaboration? 
  • What are the stakes for its members who choose to participate in the project? 
  • Does the project fill a need within the organization?
  • What are the goals of public engagement?
  • What new possibilities might arise from this collaboration?

Proposals for project grants (above $5,000) should ALSO consider:

  • What is the history of your relationship with the community partner?
  • What is the dialogue with this public about? 

Seed Grants (up to $5,000, up to 4 awards)

Applicants will have already connected with a community organization, and have clearly-articulated plans for small-scale, innovative, experimental partnerships. 

Project Grants (up to $20,000, up to 2 awards)

Proposals will describe ongoing collaborations with community partners that have already produced tangible results, and are founded on symbiotic partnership with outside organizations. Applicants should clarify how this award will advance the project to a new stage, build up a new area of collaboration, or produce a unique outcome.


Application Details

Faculty organizers must be UC ladder rank faculty members and will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of the grant. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their respective campus representative on the UCHRI Advisory Committee for guidance in the application process. Prospective faculty organizers must apply online via Submittable.

Required documents include:

  • Project Title and Abstract (200 words max)
  • Project Description (2,000 words max, see details below)
  • Proposed Budget (see details below)
  • Memorandum of Agreement or Community Letter from the partner organization
  • Curriculum Vitae of the Faculty Organizer(s) (2 pages max)

Interdisciplinary and multi-campus collaborations are strongly encouraged. Though proposed initiatives may involve scholars from a single or multiple UC campuses  (depending on the needs of the project), significant preference will be given to projects that involve at least two UC campuses. Preference is also given to projects that engage with populations not traditionally well represented at the university.

It is strongly recommended that faculty organizers make requests for matching funds BEFORE submitting the application, as it may not be possible for home campuses or granting agencies to appropriate funds if the request comes after the announcement of the UCHRI award. 


Project Description

The project description should be a maximum of 2,000 words and include the following elements:

  • Intellectual Agenda, including the relevance and importance of the project for the campus(es), the partner organization, and broader communities.
  • Research Plan, including proposed development timeline, and any relevant milestones. The grant activities must take place between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • List of Participants, including each participant’s name, brief biography, and relevance/contribution to the collaborative project and its stated objectives. Commitments from non-UC participants should be evident.
  • Proposed Objectives, including expected outcomes, how the project will potentially impact various communities, and how this impact might be evaluated or measured.
  • Partnership Statement, describing the project’s relationship with its partner organizations and participants, and a description of the target audiences.
  • Outreach Strategies for involving broader communities, including an explanation of why the chosen strategy is particularly suited for the target audience.


Proposed Budget

The proposed budget is made up of two elements:

  • The Applicant PROPOSED Budget Template
  • A Budget Narrative (500 words max) that describes how estimates were determined and lists secured, or potential sources for matching funds.

Proposed budgets may cover travel and lodging expenses for workshop meetings of working group members as well as necessary group and project-related research expenses, including programming and web support. Catered and group meals may not exceed 25% of the total budget. Grant funds do not cover alcoholic beverages. Please note that the majority of the budget should support research and engagement.

UCHRI may also consider administrative costs (up to 15% of the total requested amount), provided justification is detailed in both the budget template and the budget narrative. Amounts should be determined in advance and in writing with the administrative unit (e.g., the faculty organizer’s department or campus humanities center). Campuses are prohibited from charging indirect costs on funding from the Office of the President.

For program related questions, please contact Shana Melnysyn, research grants manager, at smelnysyn@hri.uci.edu. Please include the name of the grant for which you need assistance.

For technical assistance, contact Submittable at support@submittable.com or (855) 467-8264, ext. 2.