Humanities Grants In Support Of Scholarly And Creative Activity

The Humanities Grant Program, which was inaugurated in 1968 with the aid of a Ford Foundation grant and which is now funded by the College. With the exception of those who hold endowed chairs, the Program is open to all continuing members of the faculty (Categories I, II, and III) associated with the departments of Art, Classics, East Asian Studies, English, French & Italian, German & Russian, Music, Creative Writing, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Spanish, Theater & Dance, and to members of the library staff who hold faculty appointments.

Application Deadline

February 15th


The College makes funds available to faculty members to support their scholarly work. These grants must be used to directly support your research, scholarship, or creative activities that promote your intellectual enrichment and allow you to become a more effective scholar.

Applicants must be continuing full- or part-time faculty members (i.e., contract categories I, II, or III as defined in the Faculty Handbook). Faculty who have endowed research funds from the College are not eligible for the standard research grants. Faculty with other Colby funds (e.g. start-up funds or Clare Booth Luce funds) are eligible for standard research grants. All faculty members are eligible for supplemental grants. Each faculty member may submit one standard research proposal and one supplemental proposal (to a single division) in a given year.

Grant applications will be initially considered by the Grants Committee of the academic division with which the faculty member is associated. The division Grants Committee is composed of all the department chairs (or program directors) within the division, and is convened by the division chair.

The Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) Grants Committee accepts proposals from faculty members with a full or joint appointment in an IDS program, or who are significantly involved in an IDS program. IDS grant proposals must be interdisciplinary in nature and the proposed projects must clearly cross disciplinary boundaries.

After applications have been considered by their respective division Grants Committees, the Division Chairs will then meet together with the provost and, if necessary, transfer funds between divisions in order to accommodate as many worthy applications as possible.

Recipients of grants must file a one-page summary of the work conducted under the grant (please send this to the email address indicated at the top of page 3) as soon as possible after the grant period has ended. Significant changes between budgeted and actual expenditures should be explained.

The assistance of the Colby College Research Grant Program should be acknowledged in any publications that result from the work accomplished. Grantees are encouraged to give an oral report on campus about the work funded by the grant. Division lunches, departmental colloquia, and the Noon Faculty Forum provide good opportunities for these presentations.

Amount of Funding

The maximum amount for a standard research grant is $3,000 for the year. For extraordinary expenses (e.g., international travel, specialized equipment), limited additional supplemental funds may be requested (up to a maximum of $2,000 additional, see supplemental grants below). The amount of supplemental funding that each person is awarded will depend upon the funds available, the number and quality of proposals submitted, and the scholarly and creative work originating from Colby College grant support during the prior five years. It is the responsibility of the grantee to track carefully all expenditures and not to exceed the grant award. Funding may be requested in the following categories:

STANDARD RESEARCH GRANT (including research travel):

Funds may be requested for equipment, materials and supplies, consultation with experts in a particular field, costs for having specific procedures, analyses, or services performed by outside experts that are essential to completion of the research project, hiring Colby students as research or technical assistants during the academic year, and rental of space or costs for using facilities at off-campus laboratories.

Research funds may be requested for travel expenses when travel is necessary to carry out a research project, to collaborate with colleagues at (or from) other institutions on research projects, or for upgrading research skills or background in the faculty member’s areas of scholarship. These funds are not intended to cover the cost of attending conferences for the purpose of reporting on previous research results, as separate funding sources are available for that purpose. Applications must include a rationale for the travel, the itinerary, and the projected expenses. It is possible that a grant may not cover all expenses. The reimbursement rates for travel expenses and the appropriate reimbursement claim procedure may be found in the document entitled “Reimbursement Handbook” which is downloadable from the Business Office web page at Please note that if receipts are not submitted within 30 days of completing your travel, federal law states that your grant must be treated as part of your taxable income.

Books of a highly specialized nature may be budgeted as part of the research grant application. Applicants also may request specialized computer hardware or software to be used for their research that is unavailable through the budget of Information Technology Services. Such books, hardware and software should be ordered through the Colby Library or Information Technology Services and must be catalogued as library acquisitions or property of the College. Apparatus and equipment purchased with grant funds are the property of the College and must remain at Colby if the faculty member’s employment with the college terminates for any reason.


All faculty are eligible to submit applications for supplemental grants. These should be very strong and focused proposals that significantly advance the long-term scholarship capability of a faculty member. Supplemental grants should have the potential to fundamentally transform the level or area of the applicant’s work.

Applicants for supplemental funding should clearly identify how their standard grant request would change if supplemental funds are not available. For example, if you are requesting $3000 in standard research funds and $2000 in supplemental funds for a single project, what will you do if the supplemental funds are not available? It is unlikely that individual faculty members will receive supplemental funding in consecutive years.

Application Procedure and Deadlines

All applications should be emailed as a single Portable Document Format (PDF) file with the filename YourLastName-21GrtApp.pdf to the email address indicated below:

  1. Humanities: [email protected]
  2. Interdisciplinary Studies: [email protected]
  3. Natural Sciences: [email protected]
  4. Social Sciences: [email protected]

Please organize your proposal into the following sections (in the specified order):

  • 1. Title of the Proposal
  • 2. The category(ies) (standard or supplemental) for which you are seeking support.
  • 3. A listing of grant support you have received from Colby Research Grants during the past five years, any current external grant support, and any products that have resulted from this support (e.g., publications, presentations at professional meetings, etc.).
  • 4. A one-page summary of the work conducted under your most recent Colby Research Grants, as described in the first section of this document.
  • 5. A brief description of efforts you have made over the last few years to secure external funding. Possible examples might be consulting with the Office of Grants and Contracts, or submitting grant proposals to the NSF or NEH.
  • 6. A description of the work to be accomplished with this grant support (two-page limit). It is usually helpful to provide some brief background information explaining how the proposed project is linked to previous work. Describe what you propose to do, what methods you will employ, and the possible significance of the results. How does the project fit into the overall scholarly vision of your career? For interdisciplinary proposals, clearly indicate how the project crosses disciplinary boundaries.
  • 7. The total amount of funds you are seeking and an itemized budget.
  • 8. In addition to all of the information included above, please include your CV here.


Proposals that do not meet the stated formatting guidelines will not be accepted.

The deadline for 2021-2022 Colby Research Grant Applications is February 15, 2021. Notification of awards will begin by March 15, 2021. The budget cycle for the 2020-2021 Colby Research Grants is May 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

Questions regarding the application process should be directed to your division chair:

  1. Humanities: Ankeney Weitz
  2. Interdisciplinary Studies: Cheryl Townsend Gilkes
  3. Natural Sciences: Charlie Conover
  4. Social Sciences: Andreas Waldkirch

Please click here to download the instructions for research grant application.

Please contact the Chair of the Humanities Division, Ankeney Weitz, with any questions.