Engaging Humanities Grant, 2023–24

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.

All topics relevant to the humanities are welcome, but UCHRI is particularly interested in supporting projects broadly related to its new theme, Refuge and Its Refusals. The initiative offers grant opportunities for University of California researchers interested in exploring refuge in political, historical, cultural, theological, environmental, and institutional contexts, mapping multiple paths through the impasses of hospitality. UCHRI welcomes collaborative projects that put humanistic scholars in conversation with those from disciplines that are methodologically distinct, enhancing the ways in which humanistic research might fashion a temporary home for renewed thought.

Applicants are invited to request 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.

Program 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. 

Seed Grants (up to $5,000)

  • 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)

  • 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. 

All applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with UCHRI’s online journal, Foundry, and to consider it as an outlet for their work. Foundry seeks academic submissions that experiment with content and form, and that push beyond the constraints of traditional academic publishing.

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 publics. Explain how your project speaks to the Refuge and Its Refusals theme, or addresses issues of urgent contemporary concern. 
  • Research Plan, including proposed development timeline, and any relevant milestones. The grant activities must take place between July 1, 2023 and December 31, 2024.
  • 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 goals and expected outcomes, how the project will potentially impact various communities, and how this impact might be evaluated or measured. 
  • Partnership Statement, describing the key features of your intended collaboration with partner organizations and participants, and a description of the target audiences. What are the stakes for the partner organization and their constituencies who might participate in the project? 
  • 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 15% of the total budget. Grant funds do not cover alcoholic beverages. Please note that the majority of the budget should support research and engagement.

Please note that restrictions on UCHRI funding do not allow honoraria to be paid to UC faculty. Compensation should be in the form of a direct contribution to the faculty member’s research fund and is limited to a maximum of $500 for UC-faculty presenters/panelists. Honoraria may be paid to non-UC presenters/panelists and should also be capped at $500.

UCHRI may also consider administrative costs to compensate humanities centers or department staff time (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 (such as those required for federal grants) on funding from the Office of the President.

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

For technical assistance, contact Submittable at support@submittable.com.