The Office of Sponsored Research can assist at the earliest stages of proposal development by identifying potential sponsors for your project. The Office of Sponsored Research maintains up-to-date reference materials on program schedules and sponsor guidelines and policies. Discussions with the office can help to broaden the pool of possible sponsors for your project.
If you have a sponsor in mind when developing a proposal, current information about the program deadline, the review process, allowable costs, past and present funding priorities, grantor policies and sponsor program personnel contacts are available through the Office of Sponsored Research.
In addition to a number of resources to assist you in your search for external funding opportunities under Other Resources, below are links to a number of select early career funding opportunities, domestic and international sabbatical funding opportunities and funding opportunities for predominantly undergraduate institutes (PUIs).
Early Career Funding Opportunities
- Arts and humanities
- Social and education sciences
- Life and agricultural sciences
- Physical sciences and engineering
Sabbatical Funding Opportunities
Funding Opportunities for Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA annually issues a broad solicitation for proposals in all areas relevant to the agency’s mission, including astrophysics, heliophysics and earth science and planetary science. Examples of current priority programs include ocean biology and biogeochemistry; biodiversity; physical oceanography; modeling, analysis and prediction; new (early career) investigator program in earth sciences; heliophysics supporting research; planetary science fellowships for early career researchers; astrophysics research and analysis; exoplanet research; and cross division conferences.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
To support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.
The NEA literature fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. The NEA literature fellowships program operates on a two-year cycle with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years.
The Challenge America category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability. Grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development. Challenge America grants are for a fixed amount of $10,000 and require a minimum $10,000 match.
Organizations may apply for creative placemaking projects that contribute to the livability of communities and place the arts at their core. Our Town offers support for projects in two areas: arts engagement, cultural planning and design projects; and projects that build knowledge about creative placemaking.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
The Office of Challenge Grants offers grants that “challenge” local, state and national institutions to respond to opportunities that exist in this country’s humanities ecosystem. Humanities Access grants funds capacity-building for humanities programs that benefit youth, communities of color and economically disadvantaged populations. Creating Humanities Communities supports partnerships and collaborations between multiple institutions to seed grassroots humanities infrastructure in incentive states.
Collaborative research grants support interpretive humanities research undertaken by a team of two or more scholars, for full-time or part-time activities for periods of one to three years. Support is available for various combinations of scholars, consultants and research assistants; project-related travel; field work; applications of information technology; and technical support and services. All grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to the appropriate scholarly and public audiences. Awards are made for one to three years and normally range from an average of $25,000 to $100,000 per year. Awards for conferences are typically made for a minimum of one year and normally range from $15,000 to $65,000 per grant.
Fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences or both. Recipients usually produce articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions or other scholarly resources in the humanities. Projects may be at any stage of development. Fellowships cover periods lasting from six to twelve months at a stipend of $4,200 per month. The maximum stipend is $50,400 for a twelve-month period.
Humanities Connections grants seek to expand the role of the humanities in the undergraduate curriculum at two- and four-year institutions, offering students in all academic fields new opportunities to develop the intellectual skills and habits of mind that the humanities cultivate. Through this new grant program, NEH invites proposals that reflect innovative and imaginative approaches to preparing students for their roles as engaged citizens and productive professionals in a rapidly changing and interdependent world. Grants support the development and implementation of an integrated set of courses and student engagement activities focusing on significant humanities content. The Humanities Connections Program gives special encouragement to projects that foster collaboration between humanities faculty and their counterparts in the social and natural sciences and pre-service or professional programs in business, engineering, health sciences, law, computer science and other non-humanities fields.
The Media Projects Program supports film, television and radio projects that engage general audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, drama, religious studies, philosophy and anthropology. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced and analytical (rather than celebratory). The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of factual information to explore its larger significance and stimulate critical thinking. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects that we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad general audience. NEH encourages projects that engage public audiences through multiple formats in the exploration of humanities ideas. Proposed projects might include complementary components to a film, television or radio project. These components should deepen the audience’s understanding of the subject in a supplementary manner: for example, book/film discussion programs, supplemental educational websites or museum exhibitions.
Public Humanities Projects grants support projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to illuminate significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics and art, or to address challenging issues in contemporary life. NEH encourages projects that involve members of the public in collaboration with humanities scholars or that invite contributions from the community in the development and delivery of humanities programming.
The Public Scholar Program supports well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership. Although humanities scholarship can be specialized, the humanities also strive to engage broad audiences in exploring subjects of general interest. They seek to deepen our understanding of the human condition as well as current conditions and contemporary problems. The Public Scholar Program aims to encourage scholarship that will be of broad interest and have lasting impact. Such scholarship might present a narrative history, tell the stories of important individuals, analyze significant texts, provide a synthesis of ideas, revive interest in a neglected subject or examine the latest thinking on a topic. Books supported by this program must be grounded in humanities research and scholarship. They must address significant humanities themes likely to be of broad interest and must be written in a readily accessible style. Making use of primary and/or secondary sources, they should open up important and appealing subjects for a wide audience. The challenge is to make sense of a significant topic in a way that will appeal to general readers. Applications to write books directed primarily to scholars are not appropriate for this program.
Scholarly Editions and Translations grants support the preparation of editions and translations of pre-existing texts of value to the humanities that are currently inaccessible or available in inadequate editions. Typically, the texts and documents are significant literary, philosophical and historical materials, but other types of work, such as musical notation, are also eligible. Projects must be undertaken by at least one editor or translator and one other collaborating scholar. These grants support full-time or part-time activities for periods of one to three years.
Summer stipends support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences or both. Summer stipends support continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two consecutive months. Summer stipends support projects at any stage of development. Recipients usually produce articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions or other scholarly resources. Summer stipends are awarded to individual scholars.
These grants support faculty development programs in the humanities for schoolteachers and for college and university teachers. NEH summer seminars and institutes may be as short as one week or as long as four weeks. NEH summer seminars and institutes: 1) provide models of excellent teaching; 2) provide models of excellent scholarship; 3) broaden and deepen understanding of the humanities; 4) focus on the study and teaching of significant topics, texts and other sources; 5) contribute to the intellectual vitality of participants; and 6) build communities of inquiry.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The purpose of the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program is to stimulate research in educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the nation's research scientists who have not been major recipients of NIH support. AREA grants create opportunities for scientists and institutions, otherwise unlikely to participate extensively in NIH research programs, to contribute to the nation's biomedical and behavioral research effort. AREA grants are intended to support small-scale research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible, domestic institutions, to expose students to meritorious research projects and to strengthen the research environment of the applicant institution.
The purpose of the NIH Summer Research Experience Program is to provide a high-quality research experience for high school and college students and for science teachers during the summer academic break. The NIH expects that such programs will help attract young students to careers in science; provide opportunities for college students to gain valuable research experience to help prepare them for graduate school; and enhance the skills of science teachers and enable them to more effectively communicate the nature of the scientific process to their students. The programs would also contribute to enhancing overall science literacy. Summer research programs that expand and complement existing summer educational and training programs are encouraged. Budgets cannot exceed $100,000 direct costs per year. A project period of up to five years may be requested.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) serves to increase access to shared scientific and engineering instruments for research and research training. The program provides organizations with opportunities to acquire major instrumentation that supports the research and research training goals of the organization and that may be used by other researchers regionally or nationally. Each MRI proposal may request support for the acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single research instrument for shared inter- and/or intra-organizational use. Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the $100,000–$4 million range may be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences and from non–Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education for all NSF-supported disciplines.
The Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) and Research Opportunity Awards (ROA) funding opportunities support research by faculty members at predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs). RUI proposals support PUI faculty in research that engages them in their professional field(s), builds capacity for research at their home institution and supports the integration of research and undergraduate education. ROAs similarly support PUI faculty research, but these awards typically allow faculty to work as visiting scientists at research-intensive organizations where they collaborate with other NSF-supported investigators.
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multidepartment research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects.
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a foundationwide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups and persons with disabilities to apply.