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ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships


The program description below is for the 2015-16 competition for which the application deadline has passed. Information on ACLS’s 2016-17 fellowship programs will be provided on the website in summer 2016.

Fellowship Details

  • Award: Amount will depend on the number of collaborators and the duration of the research leaves but will not exceed $200,000 for any one project.
  • Tenure: up to a total tenure period of 24 months, to be initiated between July 1, 2016 and September 1, 2018
  • Completed applications from all collaborators must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (ofa.acls.org) no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, September 23, 2015.
  • Notifications will be sent via email by early February 2016.

ACLS invites applications for the eighth annual competition for the ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships for collaborative research in the humanities and related social sciences. The program is funded by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


The aim of this fellowship program is to offer small teams of two or more scholars the opportunity to collaborate intensively on a single, substantive project. The fellowship supports projects that produce a tangible research product (such as joint print or web publications) for which two or more collaborators will take credit.

The fellowships are for a total period of up to 24 months, to be initiated between July 1, 2016 and September 1, 2018, and provide up to $60,000 in salary replacement for each collaborator as well as up to $20,000 in collaboration funds (which may be used for such purposes as travel, materials, or research assistance). The amount of the ACLS fellowship for any collaborative project will vary depending on the number of collaborators and the duration of the research leave, but will not exceed $200,000 for any one project. Collaborations need not be interdisciplinary or inter-institutional. Applicants at the same institution, however, must demonstrate why local funding is insufficient to support the project. Collaborations that involve the participation of assistant and associate faculty members are particularly encouraged. Up to eight awards will be made in the 2015-16 competition.


A collaborative project is constituted of at least two scholars who are each seeking salary-replacement stipends for six to twelve continuous months of supported research leave to pursue full-time collaborative research during the fellowship tenure.

  1. The Project Coordinator must have an appointment at a US-based institution of higher education; other project members may be at institutions outside the United States or may be independent scholars.
  2. All project collaborators must hold a PhD degree or its equivalent in publications and professional experience at the time of application.

Application Process – please review carefully

One member of the project team must be designated as the Project Coordinator (PC). The Project Coordinator is responsible for starting the application, entering the names and email addresses of the other collaborator(s), completing the project sections of the application, uploading the proposal, entering information for two project reference letters, and ensuring that all collaborators in the project have submitted their elements of the application. It is anticipated that the Project Coordinator’s institution will administer the funds for collaboration costs. Please note that for the purposes of this program, only scholars who are requesting ACLS funding for research leaves are considered collaborators. If the project includes other participants (not requesting funding for a research leave), please list them in your proposal document and explain their roles in the project.

Once the PC has entered the list of collaborators into the application, each scholar will receive an email with registration information and a code to link them to the group application. Each project collaborator will have to complete the individual sections of the application (including personal and professional information) and upload a publications list. In order for an application to be considered, all project collaborators (Project Coordinator and additional collaborators) must have their application in SUBMITTED status by the application deadline of September 23, 2015.

Application Requirements

Applications must include:

  • Completed application form
  • Participant Information Sheet, listing all collaborators (identifying project coordinator) and additional project members.
  • 10-page Proposal (double spaced, in Times New Roman, 11-point font). The proposal should describe the intellectual significance of the research project and explain in detail the process and product of the collaboration. It should make clear the goal of the collaboration, its structure, how credit and acknowledgement would be determined, and how the process and project of collaboration would be mutually informing. Finally, the proposal should explain how collaboration enables research that is intellectually innovative and produces a final outcome that would be more valuable than the sum of individual efforts of the project members.
  • Two-page Bibliography that places the project in intellectual context and includes relevant work in all of the disciplines involved in the project.
  • Research Plan, including a timeline of the proposed research activities that specifies the location, duration, and names of individuals involved in each stage. This may be in the form of a graphic timeline or narrative description.
  • Budget statement, outlining salary replacement and costs of research assistance, travel, and research materials. (See sample budget.)
  • Publications list for each collaborator (no more than three pages for each collaborator)
  • Two reference letters that provide explicit information on the proposed collaborative project and the collaborators.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be judged along the following six criteria:

  1. Intellectual significance of the project, including its ambition and scope, and its potential contribution to scholarship in the humanities.
  2. Relevance of the research questions being posed, the appropriateness of research methods, the feasibility of the work plan, the appropriateness of the field work to be undertaken, the archival or source materials to be studied, and the research site.
  3. Qualifications, expertise, and commitment of the project coordinator and collaborator(s).
  4. Detail and soundness of the process and product of the collaboration, including dissemination plans.
  5. Degree to which the proposed collaboration represents innovative practice in the applicants’ disciplines and sub-fields.
  6. Potential for success, including the likelihood that the work proposed will be completed and lead to distinct results within the projected timeframe; where appropriate, the collaborators’ previous record of success; and the size of the proposed budget in relation to anticipated results.

It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help demonstrate the range and value of both collaborative research and inquiry in the humanities, and model how such collaboration may be carried out successfully.

What the Collaborative Research Fellowships Program does not fund:

  • Large research clusters that do not produce any co-authored publications.
  • Collaborative projects that result in an anthology or edited volume of secondary scholarship.
  • Projects that are not primarily focused on research.
  • Projects whose primary aim it is to transform existing research results into digital format.
  • Projects whose primary emphasis is on organization of events (workshops, lectures, exhibitions).

Please also refer to What ACLS Does Not Fund.