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    Mattie Burkert, a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow, presented her research at the 2018 ACLS Annual Meeting.

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    African Humanities Program Fellow Merit Kabugo studies the discourse of rural farmers. 

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Information about Fellowships for Institutional Administrators

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Recipients, Funding Structure, and Administration of Fellowships and Grants


1. Recipients

Fellowships are awards applied for, won by, and made to, individual scholars. They are paid to those individual scholars, either directly or through the scholar’s institution (in accordance with the preferences of the awardee and his or her institution, and as arranged with ACLS).

Research grants, by contrast, are most commonly awarded to institutions—typically, the colleges or universities employing the individual scholars. In some cases, though, grants are awarded to individuals. (Some ACLS awards, such as ACLS Digital Extension Grants, fall under the category of research grants. Please read the information on that program page for more information.)

2. Fellowship Funding Structure

Funds that accompany ACLS fellowships generally take the form of salary replacement at the postdoctoral level and support stipends at the doctoral level. Unlike institutional grants, there are no budgets per se for any facilities or research costs. Many ACLS fellowships (such as Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art and Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars) provide supplementary funding and assign these funds directly to individual fellows.

There is no “Principal Investigator” (PI) for a fellowship, as there is with an institutional grant. The awardee for an ACLS fellowship is an ACLS fellow.

There is no institutional responsibility regarding a fellow’s stipend funds except where the fellow has designated his or her university to be the vehicle or agent for payment of funds and the university agrees. This is typically done to facilitate payment of additional "top-up" funds needed to bring the award’s stipend up to the scholar’s regular salary, and to ensure continuous provision of benefits at the fellow’s home institution.

Since fellowship support takes the form of salary replacement or support stipend, the responsibility for any applicable taxes on the award rests with the individual fellow.

3. Fellowship Administration

Unlike institutional grants, ACLS fellowships are not awards paid to the university per se. The amount and timing of the salary replacement is worked out individually by fellows in advance of the fellowship period.

For many fellowship programs, ACLS makes its awards on the condition that fellows will devote themselves fulltime to the projects they propose. This does not assume sabbatical pay or leave, though those are often the conditions under which the awards are taken up. (Some ACLS programs, such as Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships, have different structures. Please see the relevant program webpage for more information.)

In many cases, the fellowship stipend does not equal the fellow’s normal salary. The expectation of ACLS, in calculating the shape, scope, and size of its awards for programs that require semester- or year-long supported research leaves, is that fellows’ institutions will “top up” ACLS awards to meet the salary and benefits, as may be needed for faculty members (and therefore, their institutions) to take advantage of the award and the honor it represents.

ACLS fellowships do not provide benefits. It is expected that fellows’ institutions will continue to provide regular benefits to fellows during the fellowship period.

In contrast with institutional grants, institutions may not “charge” to ACLS fellowships costs of any kind, such as benefits, indirect costs, or overhead. This rule obtains even in cases where the fellowship stipend is routed through the institution.

Typically, ACLS fellowships will not have “unspent” or “excess” funds. An ACLS fellow is entitled to the entire amount of his or her award as initially designated in accordance with their salary replacement need (unless he or she violates the terms of the fellowship). Since ACLS fellowships are made to individual scholars rather than to their institutions, ACLS cannot ask for monies back from the institution. The standard scenario is that funds are “fully expended”—paid out per regular salary payments—by completion of the fellowship period.

Unlike institutional grants, ACLS fellowships have no requirements for financial or expenditure reports from the accounting office or Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) at fellows’ institutions. ACLS fellows may be asked to account for funds expended under any special budgets for research costs attached to their stipends.

Unlike institutional grants, ACLS fellowships have no requirements for narrative reports from the accounting or OSR offices at fellows’ institutions. ACLS fellows are obliged to submit final reports to ACLS on their research or writing during the fellowship year.

It is not possible to transfer a fellowship from one institution to another, given that it is an award to an individual. If an ACLS fellow changes institutions before or during the tenure of the award, we may route the fellowship stipend through the new institution—but no transfer of funds need take place between the fellow’s old and new institutions. It is not possible to take funds from an ACLS fellowship salary stipend and re-grant them to any other individual or institution.

Note on research budgets attached to ACLS fellowships

Some ACLS fellowship programs provide for small research budgets attached to the fellowship. There is no exhaustive list of what line items are allowable in such research budgets: equipment, personnel, travel, and services costs are all acceptable.

It generally is not possible to cover administrative overhead or fellows’ salary or benefits as costs under such research budgets.