NEH Invites Faculty and Post-Docs to Behind-the-Scenes Look at Grant Applications

March 7, 2020

On February 25, Council Chair Eric Gregory served as panelist in a “mock review” of National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grants alongside Natalia Ermolaev (Center for Digital Humanities) and James McClure (Editor, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson). The panel discussion was moderated by Christopher Thornton, Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Research, whose day-long visit included a presentation to humanities faculty on NEH Fellowship programs and advising on grant applications. The panel reviewed three different fellowship proposals and discussed how the peer review process is managed at the NEH. 

Hosted by the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA), part of the Office of the Dean for Research, the program was attended by Princeton faculty, senior humanities administrators, postdoctoral candidates, and fellows.

In his presentation, Thornton reviewed the NEH’s history and its mission to support work that engaged a wide variety of audiences with the Humanities. He shared guidance on proposal writing and application processes. He warned that most proposals are not funded the first time around. The process is not “one and done,” he said, as he called for applicants to persevere and to be prepared for the process to take at least two years. The good news, he said, is that institutional proposals from Princeton University have a relatively high success rate.  He encouraged faculty to reach out to NEH staff for information and guidance at an early stage.  

The information sessions and lively Q&A were followed by informal conversations over lunch with the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Joseph Henry House.

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