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Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs Grants for Universities

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The deadline for this program has passed. The description below is for informational purposes only. Information on 2017-18 this competition will be provided on the website in fall/winter 2017.

The American Council of Learned Societies invites proposals from universities for grants of up to $60,000 each provided by the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs. The grants will support efforts to catalyze collaborations at universities with strengths in the study of religion, journalism and media, and international affairs. The program is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Grant Details

  • Who may apply: Project’s principal investigator must be a scholar in a field of the humanities and social sciences or journalism. Projects must be hosted by a US-based university.
  • Award amount: Up to $60,000.
  • Deadline: March 23, 2017
  • Notification timeline: Awards will be announced by early May 2017.


Program overview: The Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs (RJIA) aims to increase the presence of scholarship on religion in journalistic training and practice and to encourage greater interaction between scholars of religion and journalists covering international affairs. The program is a two-pronged initiative: one component of this program offers grants to support cross-sector collaborations at universities with strengths in the study of religion, journalism and media, and international affairs; the second component is a competition for research fellowships awarded to humanities and social science scholars engaged with the study of religion who wish to develop the capacities and interdisciplinary networks necessary to relate their specialist knowledge to media and policy audiences interested in the world affairs. More information is available in the program overview

Grant and Application Information

Grant activities: ACLS seeks proposals for projects hosted at US-based universities with research and curricular strengths in journalism and communication and in the humanistic and social science fields concerned with the study of religion in international contexts (including, but not limited to, anthropology, area studies, history, literature, political science, religious studies, and sociology). ACLS will award grants of up to $60,000 to as many as three institutions seeking to connect scholarship on religion to journalistic training and practice.

Applicants are encouraged to propose activities that build on or extend current curricular and research strengths in relevant disciplinary areas. The grants may support one or more of a broad range of objects for grant funding, including—but not limited to—topic-oriented research groups; curricular development or co-teaching opportunities; campus faculty working groups related to the program’s theme; public programming; collaboration with media outlets interested in developing connections to scholars and scholarship; workshops led by organizations dedicated to training scholars to engage with journalists and media organizations; short-term residencies for journalists at universities, where they might actively engage with scholars; or other forms of programming that would foster exchange between scholars and journalists. 

A combination of approaches may be proposed provided that applications demonstrate how these activities will complement one another. Please note that while grant funds may support some international activities, the primary focus of the grant-funded project should be campus-based, intramural work that advances the goals of the program. 

Residential fellowships: In addition to pursuing their proposed projects, grantees also must be prepared to host up to two visiting research fellows funded by the Luce/ACLS RJIA program in the 2018-19 academic year. ACLS will list grantee institutions and project abstracts in its call for applications for fellowships, and applicants have the option to propose residency at one of the grantee institutions so that they may participate in the proposed programming. Grantee selection criteria therefore will include the institution’s ability to accommodate fellows of diverse research interests. Grantee institutions must agree to provide  fellows in residence with the appropriate resources for them to advance their projects and be active members of the community, including but not limited to: office space, Internet and library access, collegiality, and opportunities to join speaker series and other departmental/center activities as are available.

Since fellows are not required to propose residency, there is no guarantee that an institutional grantee will have a fellow or fellows in residence during the grant period.

Luce/ACLS RJIA symposia: The Luce/ACLS RJIA program will hold one or more events convening all program-year fellows, journalists, and public policy experts during the 2018-19 academic year. The symposia will involve the participation of grantee institutions so as to promote collaboration among institutions and fellows. Institutions that collaborate with ACLS to host program-wide events will be eligible for additional matching funds from ACLS, over and above the initial grant award.

Project timing: Grants may support projects of 15-24 months in duration. Projects must be initiated between September 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 and completed no later than August 30, 2019. Applications should outline a concrete timeline in the application and identify discrete stages of the project as appropriate.

Selection criteria: Applications will be reviewed by an external advisory committee made up of scholars of religion, international affairs, and journalism. ACLS will award grants to institutions on the following basis:

  • The institution’s demonstrated strengths in the targeted fields and capacity to promote programming linking scholarship on religion to journalism curricula, events, or research programs.
  • The feasibility of proposed project plans.
  • The institution’s capacity to host up to two visiting research fellows in the 2018-19 academic year. 
  • The potential lasting impact of the grant beyond the award term.

Application requirements: Applications should outline both the intellectual and programmatic ambitions of the project as well as the logistical basis for its success. Applications must include the following components (all of which should be formatted in Times New Roman, size 11 font, and double spaced):

  • An abstract of the proposed project (250 words); 
  • A proposal (of no more than eight double-spaced pages). The narrative should explain the proposed project in relation to the goals of the Luce/ACLS RJIA program. It should explain, briefly but specifically, what the project participants plan to do and why. Applicants should balance the description of specific work plans against an overview of the goals and the overall contribution the project will make toward improving connections between scholarship on religion and journalistic training and practice. Furthermore, proposals should explicitly state the means and tools to be used to execute the project, and should demonstrate how project plans will articulate with current faculty research, curricula, and/or public programming. Proposals also should provide a brief, descriptive title, and label sections of the narrative as appropriate to assist readers.
  • A project timeline (no more than two pages). The timeline should outline the development and execution of the project, and include a description of tasks to be accomplished within the grant period. 
  • A budget plan (no more than two pages). The budget should provide a detailed account of the proposed use of the grant funds. The Luce/ACLS RJIA program does not require that any project participants take a supported research leave (such as course buyout), although grant funds may be used toward this purpose if desired. If grant funds will support course buyout or another type of research leave for project team members, the budget must itemize the funds dedicated toward the salary and benefits replacement of each relevant team member. Grant funds may not pay for institutional overhead; however, direct administrative costs, such as office expenses and an honorarium for office assistance, are allowed. The budget plan should also reflect any proposed cost-sharing measures undertaken by the project’s host institution or a third party. (These shared costs may include any that the institution may bear in providing work space or access to other campus resources for Luce/ACLS RJIA Fellows in residence during the 2018-19 academic year.)
  • A list of the names and institutional affiliations of members of the project team and a description of each member’s role and capacities on the project. Include two-page CVs for principal investigator and other project leaders.
  •  An institutional statement of support from a senior administrator at the institution (e.g., dean, provost, or president). This statement should confirm that the institution's existing infrastructure can support the activities to be undertaken. Though two or more institutions may serve as sites for funded grant activities, one must serve as the lead institution and administer all grant funds.

Applications should be submitted as e-mail attachments in pdf or Word document format no later than Thursday, March 23, 2017 to RJIA@acls.org. Please send all program inquiries and questions to the same address.

This program is supported by a grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion & International Affairs.  Learn more about the initiative