Project Grant Funding

The Collaboratory has concluded its initial funding phase and will not be accepting grant applications in 2022. Pending renewal of funding, we look forward to issuing a new call for applications in 2023.

Applications for one or two-year collaborative research projects are due Tuesday, July 6, 2021 by 12:00 noon.  Late applications are not accepted, no exceptions.  Decisions will be communicated by early August each year. Project funding applications require sign-off support from the PIs appointing unit(s) Chair/Director/Associate Dean/Dean depending on the faculty member’s school/college and position.

Each project is required to publicly disseminate results of their projects within six months of the project grant time period.  Some teams may choose the route of an exhibition or display, others programming, perhaps a performance, or film/documentary. Other ideas include presentation of the work on a digital platform, gaming, community engagement, editorials, engagement with K-12 educators, virtual reality, etc.

Funded teams will be required to present an “in-progress” report of their project each year of funding support. The presentation/report should consist of goals, plans, what has been accomplished to date, what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and the collaborative process. The discussion is aimed at those who are interested in the research project itself and/or collaboration in humanities research, especially those who may be contemplating applying for funding at some point in the future. All team members will also be required to attend workshops, programs or meetings organized by the Collaboratory (no more than 4 in total per year).

Application for Project Grants – Final guidelines
For the 2021 round of applications, due to the impact of COVID:
  • Travel may be budgeted in Year 1 and Year 2 but until the current U-M restrictions on travel are lifted, LSA faculty must apply for approval from the Dean’s office and provide the approval email before travel expenses will be reimbursed to any team member.  Team members of other schools/colleges must adhere to the rules of their school or college or U-M whichever is stricter.  
  • You may budget for external consultants in Year 1 and Year 2, compensation is subject to current U-M/LSA policies regarding compensation to external persons.  
  • It is standard practice for remaining budget dollars from year 1 to carry forward to year 2 of the awarded grant;  don’t be concerned if you are unable to utilize all of your budget in a category such as travel in year 1.  Additionally, the approved budget within the categories of student research assistants, travel, consulting and supplies are fungible.  Excess funding in any one category can cover a deficit in another category but such excess funds cannot be used for additional salary support for team collaborators (faculty, curators, research scientists, etc.).  Remaining funding at the end of year 2 revert to the Collaboratory, they may not be used for the dissemination phase of the project.

We suggest you use MS Word to write the narrative (questions 2 – 8) and ensure the word count is correct and then save as a PDF.  The Project Grant Application Cover Sheet is required and includes question #1 below (project title, abstract, collaborator info) and and a section for sign-off support of the PI(s) involved in the project (due to the annual course release). If there are different PIs in years 1 and 2, indicate each name on the lines indicated and obtain all of the appropriate signatures. The Budget Worksheet  is required as well as a short form CV for each faculty member involved in the project. Combine the narrative and the CVs in one PDF, submit that PDF with the application cover PDF and the budget worksheet (excel) in one email and submit to by July 6, 2021 at 12:00 noon.  Each submission should have three attachments in the email.  Late applications will not be accepted.

Reviewers will be interested not only in the value of your project, but especially in what collaboration adds to your project. The bullet points below each question reflect the kind of information the reviewers will be looking for and are meant to serve as a guide for answering the questions.

Bear in mind the review is conducted by a broad, interdisciplinary committee. It is advantageous to ensure that your language is clear to those who may not be familiar with the field.

1.  Identify the research team (Cover Sheet/Form).

  • PI, title, affiliations, uniqname
  • Faculty/Curator/Research Scientist/Librarian team members, title, affiliations, uniqname
  • Graduate student team members, title, affiliations, uniqname (as known)
  • Undergraduate students (if applicable), uniqname (if known)
  • 250 word abstract of your project
  • Signature of Chair or Director for the PI in each funded appointing unit(s), not for dryly appointment or affiliated units.  The form requires electronic signatures.  Please obtain all signatures on one form, given the current “stay at home” order, only electronic signatures are accepted.  If the PI is a Chair or Director then the Associate Dean or Dean, depending on your school or college is required to sign the form.

2.  Describe your research project. (Tell us why you want to pursue the project.) (1000 words)

  • What original contribution(s) will the project make to the humanities field(s) in which it intervenes? Account for its relationship to earlier or existing projects, both individual and collaborative.
  • What original contribution(s) does your project make to the humanities broadly conceived? In other words, how does the project advance the role of the humanities in the academy and in the world?

3.  Describe the centrality of collaborative activity to your project and explain how you will pursue the project collaboratively. (1000 words)

  • What is your team’s vision of collaboration?
  • Why is collaborative research appropriate for and necessary to the project? What does the collaborative/team-based/intergenerational model allow you to accomplish that can’t be accomplished otherwise?
  • What collaborative research methods will your project employ (e.g. research together on-site, research trips, collaborative learning, etc.).
  • How will the collaboration work, on a weekly and monthly basis?
  • What collaborative relationships do you anticipate will emerge? What issues might arise in working collaboratively?

4.  Describe the members of the research team. (500 words)

  • Diversity is known to increase creativity and to enrich research results. Describe the diverse perspectives represented by each member of your research team (including students, at least for the first year) and what scholarly expertise each team member contributes to your project.
  • If you anticipate changes to the research team over the two years of the project, please explain. (Please note that faculty members cannot serve as PIs while on leave.)
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of graduate student collaborators. What skills will the students learn? How will working on project-specific activities contribute to the students’ intellectual development and to their profile on the job market? What outcomes of the project will be credited to the students?
  • Describe the roles of undergraduate students, if relevant. What skills will the students learn? What will they contribute to the project and what responsibilities will they have?

5.  Describe the anticipated outcomes of your project. (500 words)

  • What will your collaboration produce? Describe the collaborative nature of the project outcomes (e.g. collaborative writing, collaborative production of a performance, curricular collaboration, etc.).
  • How do you plan to communicate the results of your research and to what audiences? We are particularly interested in innovative approaches to scholarly communication and in plans to address the wider public.
  • What platforms will you use to communicate your results and why? What technological support will you require and where will you get it?
  • What are your ideas for using the dissemination funding available at the end of the grant period?  **Grant recipients will be asked to submit a dissemination plan and budget request for these funds at the end of the first year of the project.  It is anticipated that ideas included in this application will be provisional.

6.  Describe your project management plans. (500 words)

  • The PI is expected to serve as project manager–that is, to organize the group’s work, convene research group meetings, supervise student mentoring, and track budgets. If you anticipate other project management responsibilities to be shared by team members, please explain.
  • Describe specific plans for mentoring graduate students (and undergraduates, if relevant). How will you know if you are mentoring effectively?

7.  Describe documentation and assessment plans for your project. (500 words)

  • What are your plans for data management, the preservation of digital assets and materials, or the storage of archives?
  • How do you plan to evaluate your project, and at what stages? How will you know if your project is successful?

8.  Provide a timeline for your project.

  • Please give us a description of the anticipated workflow of your project.  Feel free to format the timeline however you wish and please address (if relevant):
    • PI in each year of project (do you anticipate changes?)
    • Graduate student partners for each year of project (as known)
    • Team meeting schedule
    • Planned events, travel, or meetings with consultants/allied researchers
    • Milestones for the project (what will you finish by what date?)
    • Anticipated incremental outcomes

9.  Attach a SHORT CV for each faculty member involved in the project.

10.  Complete the Project Grant Budget Worksheet for your project.


The budget is completed through a self-calculating form.  There are 5 tabs within the budget worksheet.  Tab 1 is general instructions for completing the budget worksheets, Tab 2 is the budget worksheet for Year 1 of the project, Tab 3 is the budget worksheet for Year 2 of the project, Tab 4 is a completed budget worksheet example for Year 1 of the project and Tab 5 is a completed budget worksheet for Year 2 of a sample project.  They are each clearly labeled with their purpose.

Be sure to select the timeline for your grant on Tab 2, upper left hand side.

If you receive an “error” message within any field of the budget worksheet that means you have not adhered to the budget requirements or entered an invalid entry.  For example, no more than $130K of the budget, excluding benefits, can be used for graduate students whether as GSRA’s, hourly research assistants or summer funding, the worksheet returns an error message based on the formula calculation if the total amount of support excluding the benefit lines goes over $130K. Another example, if you enter text where a number should be entered you will receive the error message. All of the budget requirements are outlined on the budget worksheet and below.

Budget line items may include:

  • 20% effort for PI per year (one course release per year which cannot be banked; must be in winter term for year 1).  For PIs with a joint appointment, indicate the unit for which the course release will be taken in the notes section of the budget
  • PI Summer ninth (value may be taken as research funds or compensation)
  • Project faculty/curators/staff (non students) compensation up to a cap of $13,500 per team member based on 2-4 collaborators. (Summer ninth calculation up to the cap will be later elected as compensation or research funds)
  • Team members such as curators, staff, research scientist compensation must be negotiated with the home employing unit.  For example, the library considers working on a collaboratory project part of a librarians regular job duties, they may be a collaborator but will not be paid compensation in addition to their regular salary.
  • GSRA appointment for fall/winter term (stipend equal to GSI equivalent fraction, candidacy tuition and GradCare; no more than two per term, per year anticipated) and/or hourly graduate student assistance.  The collaboratory budget cannot cover pre-candidacy tuition.
  • Graduate student summer support (up to $10,000 total per year)
  • Undergraduate research assistance, we suggest teams coordinate with UROP since UROP will pay a portion of the student’s salary and research projects related to the humanities are actively sought by UROP and students.
  • All collaborators compensated through the project must be currently active students, faculty and staff.  Emeriti faculty and matriculated students may only be compensated as consultants and utilized on a short term basis.
  • Research expenses (team travel, materials, bringing specialists or consultants to campus from time to time such as a few days, no more than two weeks total), technical support if not otherwise provided through other UM resources, etc.; no equipment such as computers or amortizable equipment can be purchased with project funds, it is anticipated Hatcher Library or the Collaboratory will have standard equipment or technical resources available as needed).

Examples of Successful Applications:

Example of Budget (taken from an actual project; names have been changed for privacy/confidentiality reasons):